Most of your suppliers, competitors and customers will have a presence (formally at least) on the big three social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. You may well use social media for business yourself.
However, for every small business that successfully uses social media to generate leads and get sales, there are 10, 25, 50 other businesses that fail to make an impact. What are the reasons for this? The success stories prove that social media marketing does work and it does bring results, but many business users fall prey to the same few common mistakes.
Take a look through the following list and see if any of them apply to you. It is very easy to make common errors when using social media, with the result that the expected outcomes fail to materialise.
1) Using The Same Content On All Your Platforms
Creating content to use on social media takes a long time, and at a small business, time is a precious resource. Scheduling applications such as HootSuite were heralded as a godsend for SMEs as it allowed people to schedule social media posts up to six months in advance, on multiple platforms. This was, and still is, a massive timesaver, but the big temptation is now to use the same social media updates on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the rest. This is a mistake. Each platform requires a specific approach to content that isn’t always appropriate to the others. Also, most business users have multiple platforms. If one of your prospects sees the same content come through on Twitter as they do on Facebook, then they will soon start to ignore your updates altogether. You may even lose a potential customer this way.
2) Taking On Too Much Social Media Activity
Social media marketing takes a big investment in time and resources. A common mistake SMEs make is to spread themselves too thinly. It may seem like a good idea to try and be active on three or more social media platforms, but if you haven’t got the time to use them all to their full potential, then you risk losing out on the advantages of any of them. This mistake explains why so many business social media profiles look like ghost towns, or are only occasionally updated. It is better to focus on one or two platforms and give it all you’ve got, creating a regular stream of relevant and interesting content. Otherwise your prospects will lose interest.
3) Not Engaging With Prospects Personally
The great thing about social media is that it makes marketing personal again. It lets you chat in real-time with named individuals, without having to sit through awkward lunches or pay hundreds of pounds for networking events. What an asset! It is such a shame therefore, when comments and messages from prospects go unanswered.
This is usually a combination of a lack of time and too much automation, i.e. problems one and two. Avoid this by monitoring your social media platforms regularly to make sure all messages are picked up, and make a point of replying to each one. Your customers will appreciate this and it reflects well on your business.
4) Making It All About You
Social media marketing is as much about giving as it is receiving. Social media users appreciate varied and useful content, so avoid the mistake of solely publishing company announcements and sales pitches. Share other people’s content from time to time if you think your customers will find this interesting. ‘Like’ other people’s stuff. Write non-promotional blog posts and publish them on social media. Give away free downloadable content or discount coupons to your social media followers. Make people smile, and you will start to build a relationship of trust.
5) Striking The Wrong Sales Balance
Selling too much on social media is a huge turnoff. Don’t try too hard. Instead, concentrate on relationship building with your prospects as the bedrock for a customer/supplier relationship. The opposite problem is to not sell enough. Ultimately, the purpose of social media marketing is to generate leads and gain more sales. While it isn’t advisable to take a hard sell approach, you should have outcomes in mind and an idea of where your social media strategy fits on your sales and marketing funnel. You need to figure out when a prospect is ready to receive a sales approach and not be afraid to do this.
6) Not Using Analytics
Social media marketing is deliciously measurable. Native apps on each of the main platforms can track exactly who accesses your content, where they come from, where they go and what they share. This is enormously helpful in determining what approaches work and which ones fall flat, and which prospects are ready to progress to the ‘next stage’ in your relationship. Not taking advantage of analytics is a common mistake, and is often fatal, as it dooms SMEs to miss opportunities and keep making the same mistakes.
This article may have presented social media marketing as a minefield, but this wasn’t our intention! Of all the branches of digital marketing, social media has the lowest financial entrance barrier and is the most accessible to small businesses. Furthermore, it is a great lead generation tool when used properly. The key is to think strategically and use each social media platform to its full advantage. Our team of marketing specialists at JDR can help you with this. Get in touch today to find out more about our small business marketing packages.