In the ever-changing sea of social media and content marketing, it’s easier than ever to flounder or flop altogether.
You’re running your business because you’re passionate about what you do — not because you wanted to figure out how to promote your brand online.
And you’re not alone. The following are some of the most common missteps small businesses make on social media--and how to fix them.
You don’t have a social media strategy
This cannot be underrated.
Posting on social media without a defined strategy is like running your business without a business plan. Without a strategy, what are you really trying to do? How will you get there? And what’s the definition of success?
It’s important to think about every platform your business is on and have a unique strategy for each.
For example, LinkedIn may feature more about your company’s culture since a lot of job recruitment is happening on that platform. Your Facebook could post shareable how-tos that inform and educate your audience about topics related to your business.
Your Instagram could feature videos and images of events and actions that people wouldn’t be able to see otherwise. And your Twitter could focus on promotions and customer service.
Once you know what “your thing” is on each platform, it’s far more clear what you should be posting — and where. Plus, users will have a reason to follow you on every platform.
You’re on too many platforms
This is a big issue among small business owners, who end up being in too many places at once. When this is the case, you may be posting the same update to every one of your social media accounts, or cross-posting content from one platform to another for no other reason than efficiency and trying to get something out there.
The last thing you should be doing is sending your tweets to Facebook or your LinkedIn updates to Instagram (or vice versa) — or even just sharing the same exact image and messaging across all platforms. Yes, it’s more efficient, but different platforms mean different audiences and expectations.
The result is little to no traction online and a whole lot of wasted (even if it is efficient) effort.
To improve, identify one platform (or two) where your targeted audience lives and focus on doing more there. Look at what types of content similar brands are posting. What’s getting the most engagement? What is relevant to your own audience?
Using what time you have to really own one platform first will go a long way online.
You don’t have enough time
This is related to being on too many platforms. If you don’t have adequate time to invest in your social media presence, how can you expect to gain any traction?
It’s easy to underestimate the amount of time required even just to manage a successful Facebook page, especially when you factor in the user engagement on top of the content creation and posting.
But you can’t set it and forget it.
Creating a Facebook page, for example, is not the same as having a Yellow Book listing. People will not follow simply because you’re there. You have to give them a reason. In fact, an inactive Facebook page may even hurt the perception of your company since users have an expectation that you do more online than simply exist. It becomes a question of credibility.
Depending on your own workflow, you should set a calendar reminder for either 15 minutes daily or an hour weekly (at the very least) to consistently check in on your accounts, schedule posts and interact with followers. Make it a habit because it really is just as crucial as everything else.
You’re not building relationships
What is social media? Nothing more than a tool that enables humans to do what humans do best, which is to be social.
Social media is not the same as having a website. It’s not a one-way communication tool where you simply broadcast what you want to say and move on. There is an expectation that you engage with others.
Be sure to follow others. You don’t have to follow back everyone who follows you, but starting out with a few dozen other pages or accounts that are relevant to what you’re doing on that platform is a good first step.
Then, over time, you can start liking, commenting, sharing. In other words, you want to build a community by being a part of a larger community. This keeps you visible on any platform you’re on.
Stay tuned for the next installment of this series to find out what other mistakes small businesses are making on social media.
Looking for more guidance when it comes to all things social media management and optimization? Contact my colleague, Brook Bentley, social media and content manager at Sierra Nevada Media Group, at email@example.com for a free social media consultation for your business.
Caren Roblin is Director of Content at SNMG, which publishes the Northern Nevada Business Weekly. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.