To be competitive in today’s market, you’ve got to have a social media presence. And yes, that statement was purposely vague. We’ll talk about what a true social media presence is later, in a different article. The objective of this article today is simply what to avoid.
As a digital marketing consultant to small businesses, I spend a lot of time talking with business owners and entrepreneurs about not only the purpose of an online presence, but also on the methodologies of creating and managing an effective social media strategy. As an eternal optimist, my conversations are usually centered around the do’s, giving high level overviews to my clients (and potential clients) about branding techniques, content development and posting strategies that attract and engage. But today, this article is going to take a different spin, and I’m going to write about social media missteps small business owners should avoid.
You see, I’m a small business advocate, and I’m truly passionate about what I do. What matters to me most is that small businesses stay competitive by having an effective online presence, and not so much that the companies I speak with engage me to develop it for them. With that in mind, here are three mistakes that I hope all small business owners avoid when developing their social media presence:
- Don’t think you can teach yourself the ins and outs of social media overnight. So many people think that just because they have a personal Facebook or Twitter account, they can teach themselves how to create an effective social media presence for their business in a short amount of time. Now I’m not saying you can’t teach yourself, I’m just saying it’s not a realistic objective. You see, having a social media presence for your business is much, much different than sharing with your friends a picture of the fabulous meal you had last night at Fleming’s. Your business social media profiles should attract and engage followers, establish credibility, and build and nurture relationships. To do this properly, you’ve got to be concerned about things like demographics, target marketing, trends, content, timing, and technique. Marry that with the fact that social media is relatively young and constantly evolving, and you’ll soon discover that what you had learned that worked for you three months ago, no longer works for you today. Having an effective social media strategy takes considerable time and effort to research and develop, which is something most small business owners don’t have a lot of.
- Don’t think that the primary purpose of a social media presence is to talk to your existing customers. You might be surprised at how many clients I’ve spoken with who truly believe that the sole purpose of having a social media presence is to keep in touch with their customers, and therefore, they don’t consider it a necessary element of their business. The justification in their minds is that their customers continue to come back, so being active on social media isn’t really going to impact their business enough for them to spend any amount of time or resources on it. These are usually the guys who will either randomly post to their company Facebook page themselves, or add social media maintenance tasks to their accounting clerks list of daily responsibilities. The primary purpose of an effective social media strategy is to establish credibility and to nurture relationships. Employing this philosophy will not only increase customer retention, but it will also draw and attract new customers and increase revenues.
- Don’t ever be satisfied. You could always do better, and if given the opportunity, wouldn’t you want to? So if you’re social media profiles aren’t helping you establish your brand and grow your revenues, don’t just sit back and say you gave it a shot. Investing in the proper social media resources should always result in better branding and expanded market reach, that’s just the nature of consumer marketing today. And there are tons of digital marketers out there who are more than willing to help you.
One of my favorite sayings is “If you’re not online, you’re just wasting time.” So if you’re a small business owner that doesn’t have an effective online presence, speak with someone about developing a social media strategy and avoid the three mistakes I mentioned above. And if you have any questions or think I can be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to give me a call at 858-480-1405, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.