4 Of The Biggest Mistakes Small Businesses Make In Social Media

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Social media marketing done properly is probably THE most effective and efficient marketing medium available today. Many small and/or local businesses see an incredible amount of new business derived from making meaningful connections with their audience within the social graph, however most do not. In my experience, there are four main mistakes that small businesses and individual marketers make within social media that prevent them from achieving returns.

smallbusinessmistakes

photo credit: dok1 via photopin cc

1) Knowing what you don’t know – A huge mistake many small businesses make is to just jump in without the knowledge and experience. I often tell people that you are better off not doing social media, than to do it wrong.

I recommend that you do one of two things. a) Pay for some education from someone that has actually done it effectively [here's one option] or b) Hire the expertise, in the form of a professional social media agency. Either of these options will be WELL worth the expense!

2) Lack of Strategy – As with all things in business, without a proper plan it is unlikely you will be successful. You wouldn’t start your business without a well thought out plan, would you? Social media marketing requires a very clear strategy and planning that consists of these minimum elements:

  • A clear goal
  • A clear audience/market to target
  • A content posting/topic strategy
  • A community growth strategy

If you have not created a strategy, here is some information to help you create a simple strategy for your social media.

3) Lack of Consistency – Above anything, being consistent with your social media marketing is essential. You need to consistently post relevant content, respond to comments and shares, and reach out to your prospects and engage them in conversation. Just having social media accounts set up will effectively do nothing to build relationships and generate revenue. Being consistent in these core areas will.

4) Lack of Response – If someone called your company to inquire about your product or service and you waited three days to call them back, how likely would it be that they would do business with you? Imagine if you never called them back…  Too many small businesses respond to their community either way to slowly or not at all.

If someone shares your content, thank them immediately and ask them a question that furthers the conversation. If someone comments on your page, they are telling you that they are there, now. Respond and take advantage of the opportunity to build a relationship.

I am sure some of you have heard that social media marketing is free. I am here to tell you that it is far from free and requires either a substantial investment in time, education and resources -or- a little bit of money by way of hiring an effective social media firm to help you.

Know that your competitors are already in the space and your prospects are too. Not doing social media or doing it ineffectively will result in a very sad conversation about your business in just a few years. I urge you to not only get in, but get in properly!

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Robert M. Caruso
Robert M. Caruso is a long time social media professional and founder of Bundlepost, the first social content management system. His company develops social media technologies that increase social media agencies and marketers efficiency, effectiveness and profitability. Robert also consults brands internationally on their social media marketing and writes weekly for his company blog.
Robert M. Caruso

@fondalo

Dad, Friend, Geek. I Tweet about Social Media, Mrktg, Tech. Love technology & Coffee! CEO of @BundlePost Make me laugh and lets connect!
You Can Win When You Use #Video #Marketing http://t.co/YBloqej2wz - 51 mins ago
Robert M. Caruso
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Comments

  1. i think "testing" to see what does and doesn't work for your social marketing campaign(s) is also important.

  2. Your points are useful in any social setting. They are likely more so in a social marketing setting. Because few of us trust marketers/sales so those posts start with (at least) one strike against them. I don't believe I've ever purchased an item based on a social network contact I have, however, passed on companies who have no presence because that prevents me from investigating them.

  3. J Tom Brewer says:

    Seems to be very sound advice. I am in theNashville Tennessee area and in ornamental iron work,rails,entrances and mailboxes. Would like some recommendations for media exposure

  4. michael mensah says:

    Insightful

  5. Paul Sherland says:

    The right social media strategy for your business is likely unique to you. It should resonate with your customers and only be as ambitious as your time allows — those criteria define a strategy customized for your business. Great post Robert!

  6. For new businesses, or at least those new to social media, it must just all seem like a lot of noise. And it is. New platforms seem to come out every week, and even for the big players like facebook and twitter, it can seem a bit like “what’s the point?”. The truth is, there is no point without getting yourself in the know (your first tip). And I think this still important even if you ultimately plan to outsource.

    • I agree Paul. But the focus of what you need to know changes if you are outsourcing. Know what you need to know and learn it! :-)

  7. Delma Alvarez says:

    This is great information that will save many a businesses…wish I’d had this info available sometime back. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Items #2 and #3 hit so close to home and are interrelated. A lack of strategy leads to poor results and a lack of stimulus to be consistent. A very useful note Robert!

  9. Dermot Rossiter says:

    I have been doing mostly all of the positive attributes above in my job. I can safely say it has earned me loyal customers.

    Very interesting reading. Thankyou .

  10. Four very clear and concise social media tips…thank-you Robert !

  11. ideagirlmedia says:

    Robert,

    This post should be the introduction to every social media book out there.

    Great stuff!!

    ~Keri

  12. ThinkBrownINK says:

    Great post. Most definitely will share.

  13. Try to pay attention to every comment that’s made on your page, and every tweet that mentions you – because you never know what connection you might make.

  14. Parts of these main points highlights a poor social media policy or lack-thereof. Traditional entrepreneurs should be on social media in order to connect with the new breed of consumers.

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