Social media plays a vital part in the success of your small business. It creates a platform for you to interact with your customers and keep an eye on the competition at the same time. You get an opportunity to showcase your personality, which lets your customers get to know you better. Your brand awareness increases by reaching new target market segments as well. That creates the potential for new customers to learn more about you, which leads to future sales opportunities.
If you are thinking that social media isn’t for you or that it’s a waste of your time and energy, I ask you to give it a second chance. Social Media Today estimates that 2.8 billion individuals are active social media users. All of these individuals will not have a need for your product or service. However, a signifiant portion of that group will and the ones who don’t most likely know of someone that could benefit from contacting you.
For that reason, you must have an effective social media strategy in place. Part of that strategy building process is learning what not to do. Here are 6 social media mistakes that you want to avoid at all costs.
Mistake #1: Making Sporadic Posts
Social media platforms utilize an algorithm as the central focal point to help decide what posts appear in news feeds and when that information appears. That algorithm, or basic set of rules, determines whether or not your intended audience will ever have a chance to come in contact with the content that you are sharing. Every social media channel online follows the algorithm principle. Making sporadic posts essentially guarantees that your audience will never see the information you share.
A sporadic post sequence happens when you post something one day, disappear for several days, make a post and then disappear again. The algorithm sees you as invisible and your audience sees you as unreliable. That may be all the justification they need to move on to your competition. You can easily avoid this mistake by creating a consistent posting schedule and knowing when your audience is online to read it.
Mistake #2: Posting When the Mood Strikes
If you are sharing valuable content on your social media channels yet scratching your head because no one is engaging with that content, you aren’t doing it right. What you are doing is making social media posts during times that your target market audience isn’t active on social media or even online at all. Doing so hurts your chances for audience engagement, increasing your brand awareness or seeing any positive results from your social media marketing efforts.
To be effective, you need to take the time to pinpoint exactly when your audience uses social media and what channels they use the most. That helps you create a strategy for sharing content around the times your audience is the most active. Now when you make a social media post, a larger portion of your audience will see it, which prompts them to engage with that information. That engagement can be anything from sharing it with their social media circles to contacting you for more information. You can keep the effort going by not making every post self-promotional in nature.
Mistake #3: Posting Self-Promotional Content Only
Think for a moment about your personal social media newsfeed and the information you like to see there. Chances are you want to see posts that make you laugh, smile or otherwise block out the world for a moment. Now think about how it feels to see several self-promotional posts from one or more companies that you follow. That only increases the aggravation or irritation that you are already feeling. Your audience feels the same way if you are only making self-promotional posts all day long.
Although it’s great to share product or service information with your audience, doing so all the time takes away their reason for interacting with you. The audience has little to no reason to reach out to you or start up a conversation with you. That’s because you come across as only wanting to increase your financial bottom line and not strengthen your customer relationships. Try following an 80/20 rule which states that you can post valuable content 80% of the time and self-promotional content 20% of the time. It keeps your relationship from being one sided as long as you don’t expect to see an increase in sales overnight as well.
Mistake #4: Expecting One Advertisement to Increase Sales
Social media advertisements are a great way to introduce potential customers to your brand. It gives them the opportunity to see at a glance what you have to offer and how they can benefit by engaging in business with you. These advertisements are not a way to increase your sales figures overnight. You need to build up a relationship with potential customers first and work to make them feel more comfortable with you. That’s hard to do from behind a computer screen with one or more advertisements that your audience sees in their social media newsfeed.
You will have more success with social media advertisements if you see each one for the potential that it creates with your audience. Instead of seeing dollar signs or sales figures, look at it as an opportunity to create valuable customer relationships. Bring potential customers inside your virtual office door and get to know more about them. Learn what they like, dislike and, more importantly, what prompts them to make a purchase in the first place. Continue building that relationship by making sure you don’t disappear from social media altogether.
Mistake #5: Creating a Social Media Ghost Town
As your social media activity increases, your relationships with your audience becomes stronger. They start to look forward to your content posts as key pieces of information that expand their knowledge on a topic or help resolve an issue they face. You and your small business become an authoritative figure in the untrustworthy world that is the internet.
Once that happens, the worst thing you can do is disappear from social media by turning your channels into a ghost town. Doing so sends a message to your audience that you’ve closed the doors or, worse, that you just don’t care anymore. Either way your brand takes a negative hit and you return to social media only to find your audience is now following your competition. To avoid this from happening you may want to consider using a scheduling tool, such as Post Planner, to help you keep a consistent content posting schedule.
You select content from the scheduling tool database or use your own and select the dates and times for each piece to post to the channels of your choice. Now your audience receives fresh content throughout the day and you can focus on other tasks. Make sure you check in once or twice a day to respond to any engagement that takes place. You also want to be selective in deciding who will handle your social media marketing tasks.
Mistake #6: Assigning Social Media Tasks to Anyone
Your small business runs smoothly thanks in large part to the qualified staff you have in place. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone is qualified to handle your social media marketing tasks. There is more to making social media happen than just scheduling posts to publish by way of an automated tool. These tasks require a significant amount of research, knowledge and time to make everything run in a way that produces positive results that you want to see.
Your general office staff has several tasks to focus on at once, which can result in an essential social media task falling through the cracks. You need to hire a marketing professional who knows how to identify when and where your target audience uses social media. That person also needs to know what type of content your audience engages with the most and what prompts them to make a purchase with a company. All of this can be time consuming and overwhelming for any member of your office staff whereas a marketing professional holds the training and skillset necessary to stay on top of the game.
A Final Thought
Social media marketing can be difficult at first yet there is an unlimited amount of potential for your small business residing inside that world. You have to be willing to learn the process of sharing content that adds value and engaging in conversations with your audience. Setting up a consistent posting schedule at the beginning of the process will help ensure you avoid making sporadic posts. Avoid making all of your posts self-promotional in nature or disappearing from social media altogether. Above all else, always be yourself and keep the conversation going.
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