A solid marketing plan for your business should include a social media presence. If your marketing budget is tight, it’s a wonderful tool to increase awareness of your brand. Better yet, it’s FREE! However, it must be used correctly to be effective. Some small businesses struggle to find and engage their target markets. These five common mistakes could derail your social media efforts:
1. Choosing the wrong network.
There are numerous social networks, and the possibilities of where to share your message are growing every year. With unlimited social networking options, many companies are over-extending and struggling to present a strong presence on too many mediums.
You’ve been told: “You have to be on [some network] because everyone else is.” This is simply not true.
Take a step back. Ask yourself…who is your target customer? What demographics does your customer fall within? How do you envision your customers engaging with you? Are your posts going to be driven by information or visuals?
Once you have a clear vision of how you plan to share your message on social media, it will be easier to determine which site(s) are the best fit.
2. Post ghost town.
In order to stay relevant on social media, you must be engaging your followers on a regular basis. Mediums like Facebook make it difficult to reach your audience if they aren’t liking, commenting, or sharing your posts regularly. It can seem overwhelming to produce exciting content on a weekly basis, but there are tools you can use to help keep you on track.
We recommend crafting a social media schedule. Determine how often you want to post and think about what types of content you want to share. Look for social media trends to help guide your content – like #ThrowbackThursday. Once you have an outline, filling in the blanks each week will seem a lot less daunting.
Once you have your schedule set, try utilizing one of many scheduling tools to schedule your posts in advance. Facebook offers their own scheduler for Pages, and tools like Hootsuite allow you to schedule your tweets ahead of time.
If you do decide to schedule your posts and tweets in advance, don’t forget to monitor your social media activity. You should check your posts for comments or questions at least once a day. Don’t let advanced scheduling keep you from engaging with your followers…
3. Ignoring the conversation.
Social media is just that… social! If all you do is broadcast information, people will grow tired of your posts eventually. Engagement is a two-way street – if you aren’t a part of the conversation, you’re quickly forgotten. Check in often to see if there are any trending topics that your brand can relate to. Cross promote with other brands to expand your circle of followers. Promote others’ successes as much if not more than your own. Make your brand seem like a living, breathing participant in the social marketplace.
4. Don’t lose sight of your brand.
While you want to come across as relatable, be careful not to forget that you’re representing a brand and a company. Before you share any content, determine the relevance to your company’s story.
Try to refrain from sharing your personal life through your brand pages. Yes, your dogs and children are adorable – but what does that have to do with your company brand? Keep your personal life on your personal page, and try to keep your professional pages on track with your brand.
5. Post overload!
Share your message, but don’t beat people over the head with it! There is perhaps an unwritten code of how often you should post on various social media platforms. Take care not to violate that code or your fans will hit the mute button! A general rule of thumb on Facebook is 1-5 posts per day for good engagement.
Of course, this all depends on how engaging your content is. We recommend following a quality versus quantity approach here – better to have one post that knocks it out of the park instead of 5 posts that fall flat.
The most important advice we can give is don’t give up! If you feel like social media is too much for you to handle for your business, consider hiring a professional. The biggest mistake you can make is not participating in the conversation at all. There’s revenue and customers you’re missing out on if you’re ignoring the digital marketplace. Contact me – firstname.lastname@example.org – for guidance on how to increase your brand awareness online.