Small business owners often have to wear many hats to get their business up and running. This means they look for the most hands-off strategies they can use, and still get results. For their marketing purposes, they soon find that social media is the most hands-free and low-cost system available.
It can also be used for marketing, lead-generation and customer service; making it an attractive all-in-one solution for small businesses. And with platforms like Facebook and Instagram constantly rolling out new advertising solutions and better targeting, businesses can quickly optimize campaigns to get the best ROI.
But despite its ‘ease’ of use, many businesses unintentionally damage their brand, on social media. In a bid to make their presence felt on social media, they use strategies that are totally counter-productive. Throughout 2015, some trends were noticeably similar among companies that complained of no success with social media marketing. We saw small businesses make one or more of these five common social media advertising mistakes:-
1. Use of Random Platforms
The amount of social media platforms available seems to push business owners towards the spray-and-pray approach. Getting the word out should be as easy as opening accounts everywhere, right?
Attempting to be everywhere all the time will deplete any resources allocated to social media marketing. All social media platforms have different ideal purposes and often, a very different set of users. Trying to fit use a one-size-fits-all marketing plan across all platforms, just won’t work.
Quick Fix: Before choosing a social media platform, first define your ideal prospect. With the customer avatar in mind, it’s easier to find where they congregate. For example, LinkedIn is mostly used by employers, job seekers and those in the B2B industry. Therefore, you wouldn’t go on LinkedIn to find desktop monitor reviews, would you? But if you wanted to establish yourself as a thought-leader in your industry, LinkedIn would be the ideal platform to be on.
2. Not Monitoring Engagement
According to Social Media Examiner, only 22% of small businesses keep track of what’s working for them across social media. Without tracking or monitoring engagement, how do you know:
- which strategies are working?
- which ones are costing you followers?
- which ones are turning leads into customers?
- which targeting options are effective for acquiring new leads?
- which images and messages generating the most engagement?
The only way to answer these crucial questions is by implementing tracking. Tracking can help you measure the effectiveness of a marketing campaign, based on specific goals.
Quick Fix: First set a goal for a campaign. Trying to spread the word about your brand? You can measure how many new followers you acquire on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. To measure the effectiveness of a promotion, you can track how many leads convert to buyers, and compare it with how much it cost you to acquire those leads.
Most social media platforms also give users tools to track these metrics. In the Facebook Ads Manager, you have access to a ton of data about your paid ads. You can break this data down by campaigns, sets and ads, allowing you see which ones are successful and which ones to stop.
3. Sell, Sell, Sell
It’s one thing to set up a marketing campaign and get people to like your page; getting them to stick around is another thing. Many small businesses forget that people come on social media to be entertained first and if they learn something along the way, it’s a bonus.
Constantly posting about your company is the fastest way to lose a social media audience. No matter how interesting you think you are, people will get tired of hearing you talk about you. Engagement can be summed up in one phrase “give more, sell less.” Brands that make social media marketing work give up to 90% of the time and sell the rest of the time.
Quick Fix: To counter this, focus on your target audience, engage your followers in conversation, use humour (tastefully), ask questions and give answers where you can. Remember to let your personality shine through; nobody wants to feel like they are chatting with a robot.
A more effective strategy would be to ‘slowly’ build solid customer relationships, generate leads and nurture them, instead of hammering for the sale in every post.
4. Total Reliance on Automation
We get it; curating, queuing, posting, replying messages on social media can get overwhelming. It’s also true that automating your social media can help you become more organised, get messages out at the right time and measure performance. However total reliance on automation is just not advisable.
Despite what you may think, your customers will recognise automated tweets, posts and pictures. They’re devoid of any personality, which is counter intuitive on social media. It just makes your business appear ‘lazy’.
Copying, pasting and queuing the same content across platforms means you’ll be attempting the one-size-fits-all approach, which doesn’t work. Automation also means you miss out on any real-time conversations.
Quick Fix: While social media automation can be excellent tool for reaching your goals and measurement, human input is required to retain the followers you get.
5. Responding on Social Media
Remember it’s called social media for a reason. People will ask genuine questions, others will leave negative comments. Your response will determine how well you’ll do on social media. Responding in an aggressive manner will offend your followers and can make the business look arrogant or petty. Ignoring them is not an option either as it makes you look out of touch with the user.
Quick Fix: Draw up a social media policy for your business, stating guidelines for company responses.
You can also make it mandatory that more than one person must review a post before it goes live. An ill-timed, flippant remark or a joke in bad taste will reflect poorly on your business, and not on the poster.
Done right, social media can snowball into a viable marketing channel for the company. Done wrong, those mistakes can quickly put a company out of business. If you are guilty of one or more of these, don’t sweat the small stuff. Use them as learning opportunities to refine your strategy in 2016.
Common sense can guide most companies to initial social media success, but when it’s time to ramp up your marketing, you should look into hiring an experienced online marketing company. Not sure which platform your business should be on? Contact Search and More now and let’s discuss your options.