Social media can have great benefits to a small businesses marketing strategy. It can be easier to implement than traditional media, and the budget is more flexible when you’re working with limited funds. But just because you may be using social media for personal use, doesn’t mean you have mastered how to use it for business.
To be successful on social media, you have to have an effective strategy built out, and the willingness to dedicate time to building your presence online. One of the most common misconceptions of social is that it’s easy to implement. The truth is, although anyone can sign up for a Facebook page, or new Twitter account, many businesses are approaching it all wrong, especially smaller businesses that don’t have a marketing expert on staff.
Here are five of the biggest mistakes businesses are making when it comes to marketing on social media.
Not doing your homework
You don’t have to be a marketing professional to educate yourself in best marketing practices for social media. With the internet, you can really teach yourself about anything you want. Take advantage of that! Look into each platform, best practices for using those platforms, what your competitors are posting on them, and whether or not your audience is even using them. All this information is available for free online, and can help you make better and informed decisions when it comes to social media marketing.
Jumping on the bandwagon
Social media is constantly changing, and what’s popular one day, may be unpopular the next. One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make is jumping on the bandwagon of every latest platform or trend without really analyzing whether or not it’s a right fit for them.
Although there may be million of users on some of these platforms, you have to determine whether or not those users are the people you want to reach, and also determine what value you’re going to offer that audience. There’s nothing worse than jumping on something like Snapchat, only to realize you sit in a cubicle all day and don’t have anything unique or different to offer your audience on there.
Not having a plan
You probably didn’t jump into business without having a plan in place, so why would you jump into marketing without having one? Building a strategy is one of the most critical steps in being successful on social media, and unfortunately, many small businesses skip this step. You don’t need a 20-page document that outlines your social media tactics and strategies, but having some sort of game plan will help you be consistent, and hold yourself, or your staff more accountable.
When building a basic plan, do your research to find the best social platforms for your business, and build out what you will post on these platforms, who will be posting, when you’ll be posting, and then of course, make sure to stick to it.
Consistency is key when it comes to social media. You’re likely not going to see a million new followers within your first years of business, but don’t let that discourage you from putting forward effort on these channels. By not posting, you’re not offering any new information or building your presence online, and on top of that, you’re not giving any reason for people to follow you.
It doesn’t take long to craft a post for social, so make sure to get in the habit of doing it on a regular and consistent basis. Tools like Hootsuite can help you even pre-schedule content for free so you don’t always have to depend on your memory to remember.
Setting and forgetting
To follow up on my suggestion above to pre-schedule content through platforms like Hootsuite, although these tools are great, they also aren’t a full solution. Setting pre-scheduled posts and then not touching your social channels again until it’s time to pre-schedule again is a huge opportunity missed.
Part of social media is listening to what people are talking about, especially about your brand or industry, interacting with your customers or potential customers, and also posting in real-time. So remember that social media is more than just setting and forgetting, make sure to have real-time interactions too in order to garner the best results!
Social media can be a valuable marketing tool for small businesses, but not if you aren’t using it in the most effective way. In order to drive the results you’d like to see on social, make sure to avoid making these mistakes, and most importantly, be strategic with what platforms you’re on, and what and how you are posting.
About the Author
Lauren Marinigh is a Toronto-based online marketing and content development professional, who is completely addicted to traveling, puppies, and GIFs.