In the small business world, marketing dollars are frequently hard to come by making social media a phenomenal marketing tool that can generate ROI without breaking the bank. Around 70% of small businesses use social media as a primary marketing channel, which is growing daily. Despite the increased use of social media, many companies make common mistakes that result in less-than-desirable results.
Many times when this happens, it causes businesses to question whether or not social is worth their time, energy, and money. The good news is that the mistakes are rarely egregious, and can be easily corrected with a little digital TLC.
Let’s dive in.
Posting from a personal page
As a small business owner, your brand and your personal identity are often intertwined. Because of this, many will leverage their personal connections to grow their business. While this approach can help you initially scale your business, eventually, you will want to create stand-alone accounts on each social media platform that you are utilizing.
Now you may be asking yourself, “why rock the boat?” To start with, creating a dedicated page for your business opens the door to better tools. Most notably, professional pages provide analytics tools that can help you gauge whether or not your page is reaching the right audience if your messages are resonating, and if you are getting traffic back to your website.
Whether creating one for the first time, or just double-checking that you did it right, make sure you have a custom image, list contact methods, backlink to your website, and post the appropriate content.
Posting too much promotional content
Now that you have created(or updated) your professional social media pages, don’t fall into the pit trap of only posting promotional content. Around half of all small businesses are guilty of only posting promotional content, and as a result, their pages suffer.
While you won’t be put into social media jail for doing so, most platforms’ algorithms deprioritize promotional content, because they want you to pay for those premium spots on your audience’s feed. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise, as they are in the business of making money.
So what is too much promotional content? With any of my clients, I suggest that in a given week, only make one or two posts directly related to your product or services. Any other content should consider these three questions:
- Is the content relevant?
- What value does the content provide the audience?
- Will the content generate engagement?
These questions should serve as a navigational beacon for any, and all, content generated from your professional pages.
Using platforms that don’t fit
Undoubtedly you have heard about putting a square peg in a round hole? The same is true for social media platforms, and it all boils down to understanding who your audience is and where you can find them. Getting these demographics dialed in is just as important as creating the perfect ad.
As an example let’s take a product that just about everyone is familiar with, Life Alert. You know the “I’ve fallen and can’t get up!” product that has two very specific demographics. One is the person that would be wearing the product, the other a child that likely purchased the product for their aging parent.
The first is unlikely to be scrolling through TikTok. It is far more likely that they are only on Facebook, comment-bombing every photo that your family has posted over the last 5 years. So for this customer profile, it makes much more sense to devote resources to Facebook.
The second demographic in this example might be on Twitter, Instagram, NextDoor, Facebook, and TikTok. While this makes the decision of where to place resources a little more difficult, it is not impossible. If your product is hyper-local, focus on platforms that are community-based, like Facebook and NextDoor. Creating a global brand? Generate content for platforms like TikTok.
Ignoring your competition
Every business has competitors whether they realize it or not. Yes, you may be the only widget provider in your small town, but thanks to Al Gore we have the internet. Today, your competition could be on the other side of the country, and you can bet that they are targeting your buyers on social media.
Admittedly, it is impossible to know who all of your competitors are in a global market, but chances are you have a pretty good idea. And if you don’t, do some research. By following competitors on social media, you can find creative new ways to approach your audience, dial in your messaging to address any holes they may have, and more.
The more you know, the better equipped you are at creating content that is meaningful to your audience.
Neglecting your online reputation
Let’s call a spade a spade, social media can be a ruthless place to operate. For all of its benefits, every business that utilizes social media must be aware that reputation management comes along with all of the ROI that it could potentially generate. This isn’t meant to dissuade you from using social media in your marketing strategy, but it is something you need to be aware of, and actively monitor.
Negative comments are simply part of the game, but they can quickly escalate into much more than a disgruntled customer if left to fester. I suggest a 24-hour rule if you are wearing multiple hats. Being proactive will show your customers that you value feedback and are always improving your customer service. In this space, silence is your worst enemy.