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.
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!