Even if you haven’t started using social media in your business yet, the facts can’t be ignored. Social media has not only grown rapidly as a means of communication, but it has also changed the way that brands and consumers interact with each other. There is a problem for many businesses where they view uncharted territory with suspicion and uncertainty.
SMEs in particular seem to struggle with social media. This may be because some people do not understand how social media can be used for business or how powerful it can be. If people use social media correctly, it can be a very powerful tool for businesses.
Here are nine common social media mistakes many SME pages display and some of the solutions you can implement to overcome these shortfalls. Why should you care? Social media can help improve your brand presence in a cost effective way.
Let’s get started.
1. Misconception and Misuse of Social Media
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) often mistakenly think that social media is only a “nice-to-have” and not necessary. Many business owners I’ve met are skeptical about social media and its usefulness in business. The brand’s social media presence is sometimes only due to the presence of its competitors.
Social media is primarily seen as a platform where businesses can share content about their brand. Some use Facebook as a way to post ads that will sell something, while others use it as a way for their company to communicate online. Both are completely ineffective ways to use social media.
Social media is a powerful business tool and should be treated as such. It has the capability to serve as an integral component of your organization, and as a key catalyst for growth.
for small to medium businesses, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram provide opportunities to reach a wide audience, target specific consumers and generate sales. By effectively using social media, you can achieve measurable results.
When creating content, it is important to remember that it is not about you. Unless you’re Kim Kardashian, nobody cares. Social media is all about the user experience. It is important to view your post from an audience perspective to ensure it is valuable to them.
Ask yourself these questions: Is it informative? Is it interesting? Is it useful? Is it entertaining? Do not post anything if you cannot answer yes to at least one or two of these questions. It is important to learn about your audience and what kind of posts they are likely to find interesting before creating content for social media. This way, you can create content that is more likely to get likes, comments, and shares.
2. Using Social Media Without Strategy or Goals
Time to get this work week started!” Do you ever just wake up and go on social media with enthusiasm and a cup of coffee, thinking, “It’s time to start this work week!” Let’s DO THIS! I’m gonna #slaysocial so hard today.”
…. You spend the next hour clicking on things that are pretty and you enjoy it.
If that sounds like you, don’t feel bad. The design of social media is such that it pulls you in and makes you forget what you originally wanted to do when you opened the app. All you wanted to do was check the time on your phone, but social media distracts you from that.
If you have never wasted several hours looking at pretty things on Instagram or Pinterest, you are some kind of super-human that is immune to the call of social media and I admire you.
Before logging into social media, it’s important to have a strategy in place so you’re not just aimlessly clicking around for hours. Set some goals and make a plan of what you want to accomplish.
Most small to medium sized businesses have an unfocused social media presence. This is demonstrated by a number of things, for example how often they post, what they post about, and even if what they post is relevant to the brand.
You should create social media strategies for each individual platform to save time and advance your goals.
Social media activities shouldn’t be isolated, but should be integrated into a strategy that’s linked to your brand’s objectives. Identify priorities and focus points across your entire organization.
A result-driven strategy is one in which you can measure return on investment. This includes both social media data (such as engagement rates and brand reach) and business data (such as sales volumes or leads).
3. Assigning Management of Platforms to Junior and/or Untrained Staff
Many small businesses see social media management as a low-priority task that is not essential. The common practice is to give this role to junior and/or inexperienced staff, for example interns, receptionists, or any employee who is available.
Consider this. A social media page can be a very powerful tool for a brand. It can be a very public way to reach a lot of people. SMEs should consider assigning management and control of this critical contact point to junior or untrained staff. Can you spot the reason for concern?
The best way to treat a social media manager position is to assign it to someone who has the required knowledge and experience. This means that small to medium sized businesses are unlikely to have someone on their team who is an expert in social media, and they may need to hire someone new or get help from an agency.
Although this sounds like a great solution, it may not be practical for small businesses with budget restrictions. In this case, consider ways to use current resources. It is important to involve different managers from different departments in the content creation process, in order to get a variety of suggestions and ideas. Furthermore, it is necessary for these managers to approve of any content that is created, in order to ensure that it is accurate and relevant. If possible, non-critical tasks should be assigned to junior staff as this would free up time for senior staff to dedicate to social media.
4. Signing Up for Every Social Media Platform aka “Shiny Object Syndrome”
The thing about social media is that it is constantly changing, but that does not mean you have to change as well. You only need to be active on the social media platforms that your audience is using.
It is important to understand where your audience is spending their time online so that you can focus your social media efforts accordingly. If you don’t have an audience that consists of early adopter techies who get excited about new things, then it’s probably best to stick with the social media platforms that your audience is already using.
You should focus on cultivating and growing an engaged audience of your core niche target market on the social media platforms they are actually using, rather than signing up for every social media platform.
5. Offering No Unique Value
The social media world is becoming more competitive, and it is now more important than ever to be unique in order to stand out.
If you’re repeatedly providing the same information as others, something has to be altered. Replicating others’ success can only get you so far. You need to focus on providing something that people need and that isn’t being offered by anyone else. This will make you valuable to your community.
The value of something can be unique in many ways, like being brand new information, being presented in new ways, or being something special because of the person.
You should be identifying a need that is not being met for your audience and addressing it in a way that is legitimately unique.
6. Not Using Paid Advertising
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) typically don’t invest much, if any, money into paid social media promotions on platforms like Facebook. Instead, they rely on organic reach or inbound audiences.
You should be actively distributing your message to consumers through paid advertising. Your content is shown to users in their content feed, even if they don’t know your brand.
It is more effective to target a specific group of people who have already expressed interest in your product than to hand out flyers to a room full of people.
7. Being Boring & Not Having a “Voice”
The different voices of travel bloggers is what sets them apart from the others also providing travel advice and taking amazing Instagram photos. We each were able to grow our blogs into our full-time jobs in a relatively short period of time because we let our voice shine through.
Don’t worry about sounding too professional on social media, just be yourself. That’s boring. Let everyone else do that instead.
You have a cool, unique voice that your loved ones know and love. And your followers are going to love it to!
Be you. Loudly, and possibly with lots of GIFs.
You should be finding and listening to your own inner, unique voice! You just need to channel it on social media. Make sure to show your true self on social media platforms.
8. Not Harnessing the Potential of Automation and Scheduling
When it comes to social media, there’s a distinct difference between working hard and working smart.
Many bloggers and business owners are working hard on their social media channels, trying to write the perfect tweet or pick the right filter. The struggle is real for them.
There is no direct correlation between the amount of tears that are shed and the results that are achieved. The best approach is to use as much scheduling and automation as possible so you can focus on more important tasks. Here are some examples of services you can take advantage of:
- Buffer: Best for scheduling Tweets and Facebook posts. Their free trial is great, but you can also pay for more features and less limits.
- Facebook Page Native Scheduler: Facebook allows you to set the publishing date for your posts. Some speculate that this gives you a higher reach than 3rd party tools.
- Tailwind and Boardbooster: The best 2 programs for scheduling and automating pins. Try the free trial out before you buy.
- Later: Allows you to schedule posts for Instagram. Their free program is incredibly generous.
You should sign up for a scheduling tool for each of your primary social media platforms in order to save time. Take some time each week or month to plan out your content in batches. Then, you can relax and eat donuts with all the free time you have now!
Consistency in social media is maintaining the same _______ and ________.
- Content consistency: You need to KNOW your target audience well enough that you know what they crave and like. If you’re a puppy fan page that suddenly starts advertising Tupperware (true story of an Instagram I followed once), then people are going to unfollow you faster than Christina chugging her 5th beer at Oktoberfest.
- Timing consistency: There are a lot of factors that contribute to the importance of consistent posting. First of all, most platforms reward users for frequent activity(like Instagram, our favorite social media platform to throw shade at, or Pinterest, our favorite social media platform to spend hours of our time browsing). That’s one part of the jigsaw. The OTHER part is that by having a consistent posting schedule, you build up an audience that begins to anticipate your content, whether consciously or not. This is like golden dynamite for your business, because it builds solid loyalty over time.
You should set a regular schedule for new content and posts. Your posting schedule should be based on when your audience is most active on social media. For example, you might want to post during their lunch break or commute to work. Automation ensures that you can stick to a social media schedule, even when you’re not available.
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