Whether you run a tiny shop or a company with multiple locations, social media is essential to your marketing strategy. But many small business leaders struggle to implement social, since it’s ever-changing and more time-consuming than most people realize.
Social media is ever-changing and can be your best friend or worst enemy. But with the right social media strategy (and by avoiding common mistakes), you can save time and money while boosting brand awareness and leading your prospects to a buying decision.
Here are seven social media pitfalls to avoid:
1. Starting Without Strategy & Research
Many business leaders start posting on social media but skip the research and strategy phase in their excitement to build a following. While it’s tempting to post to a mass audience, it can lead to wasted time and money, not to mention little to no engagement.
Instead, start by targeting a specific group of people who are most likely to do business with you. We call that group your target audience or “best” customers, and your goal is to learn as much as you can about them to reach them with relevant posts and ads.
You’ll want to research the following about your best customers:
- Their demographics (age, income, gender)
- Their psychographics (values, opinions, interests)
- Where they live (city, state, country)
- How they communicate (through Facebook, in person, over email)
- How they use social media (for education, entertainment, shopping)
- Which platform(s) they prefer (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.)
- What content and visuals they prefer (videos, text with photos, quizzes, etc.)
After you’ve learned exactly who your target audience is, you can develop a social media strategy and posting schedule for sharing engaging content and reaching your best customers with helpful, relevant information.
2. Not Being on the Right Platform
Once you’ve established your strategy and target audience, you’ll use that information to ensure you’re marketing on the right social media platforms. It may be difficult to decide which social network is best for marketing your business; it seems like there’s a new one every day!
If you’re not sure where to start, Facebook is a great option, as it’s the world’s most popular social media platform. There are 2.5 billion active monthly users on Facebook, and three out of four users log on at least once a day.
Just remember: Successful social media marketing isn’t about being on every channel. It’s about engaging your best customers wherever they are and sharing the content or information they’re looking for.
3. Not Using Social Media Advertising
Facebook’s News Feed will only show viewers the content that’s most relevant to them. So, on average, only 0.5% of your page followers will actually see your posts. While this can spark additional sales from your current followers, posting on your Facebook Business Page(s) won’t drive new leads.
To reach potential customers, you must create a social media advertising strategy. Facebook has a number of advertising options you can choose from, like boosted posts, click ads, and video ads. These measurable ads can also target specific audiences or geographic areas, and they have a great return on investment (ROI).
How does this audience targeting work? Well, when people sign up for Facebook, they’re asked to provide their age, gender, location, interests, and other information. The network also analyzes what content people post, share, and engage with to better identify their interests. As a small business leader, you can use this information to create strategic ads that will only show up for those in your target market.
4. Posting Things Your Audience Doesn’t Care About
If you’re only talking about how great your company or product is, that won’t convince current or future followers to buy from you. That’s because people don’t go on social media to hear sales pitches. They’re usually trying to learn something, solve a problem, or simply be entertained — so your content should be relevant to what they want or need.
When you’re writing and scheduling social media posts, keep the 5-3-2 rule in mind. This means that for every 10 posts:
- Five should be content from relevant outside sources.
- Three should be valuable, relevant content that you create.
- Two should be personal and/or fun content that brings your brand to life and helps your audience relate to you.
And don’t forget: Every post or ad needs to have a purpose! You shouldn’t just create content just to create it; customers often find these ads and posts irrelevant or interruptive. Focus on consistent posting, but more importantly, share interesting or helpful content that your target audience will actually want to see and engage with.
5. Not Analyzing Post & Ad Performance
Figuring out whether or not your social media efforts are working is a guessing game without running proper analytics. Make sure you set aside time to study metrics from your post and ad performance to see what content was the most relevant, interesting, and/or helpful to your best customers. Analytics are also helpful if you realize you need to tweak your social media strategy to better engage your target audience.
To access your Facebook analytics, log into Facebook and click Insights in the top menu. This will take you to your Overview, which gives you a quick summary of everything that’s been going on with your Facebook Business Page in the past day, week, or month.
A few metrics you can track in Facebook Insights include:
- If you’re reaching your target audience (or the wrong group altogether)
- Whether or not you’re posting consistently
- What time of day your target audience is most engaged
- Types of content you’ve shared (videos, outside resources, etc.)
- How people engaged with your content (likes, comments, shares, etc.)
- How many users clicked through to your website from social media
- Which content was the most (and least) popular with your audience
6. Using Social Media as a Standalone Tool
Some business leaders think that using social media is enough to draw in new customers or increase brand awareness. While posts and social interaction can lead to higher search engine rankings, you need more than a great Facebook page to grow your business.
Instead, you’ll want to incorporate social media into your overall marketing strategy. For example, posts and ads are a great way to drive traffic to your website’s home page, blogs, “Contact Us” page, and other places. Whether your prospects are looking for initial resources or a “Buy Now” landing page, your social media platforms should work with the rest of your marketing efforts to help them make a buying decision.
You can use social media as part of your marketing plan by:
- Linking to your strategically designed website
- Promoting blogs you’ve published on your site
- Scheduling an ad for a whitepaper you’ve written
- Hosting a giveaway for your best customers
- And more
7. Letting Anyone Besides a Full-Time Pro Handle It
There’s a common misconception that anyone can manage social media. But overseeing post and ad production isn’t something you’ll want to let an intern or a busy employee handle. Writing, scheduling, and analyzing ads and posts is a full-time job. It takes time and experience to learn how to effectively manage and execute a social media strategy.
Besides keeping up with social media production and analytics, you must also make time to engage with followers — as well as provide great customer service by responding appropriately to comments and reviews. A whopping 90% of customers have communicated (or engaged) with a business on social media. And 63% of them expect companies to provide customer service via social. So it’s essential to have a dedicated professional on your team who’s able to manage social media and customer relationships.
It’s tough to make time for researching, creating, and implementing a social media strategy — especially if you don’t have a team of professionals who can manage everything while engaging with customers. But a marketing agency can take this work off your plate, promoting your business on social media while you focus on growing your business.
When you work with an agency and follow a strategic plan, you can:
- Build brand awareness.
- Avoid social media pitfalls.
- Lead prospects to a buying decision.
- Reach more people with less of a budget.
Our proven marketing protocol helps companies make more money, free up time, and plan an effective strategy.
Treefrog Marketing is an agency in Lafayette, Indiana focused on small business. We specialize in strategic marketing and advertising, graphic design, web design, social media, SEO, and more. For more information, visit our website and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.