7 Sins of Small Businesses that Lead to Social Media Failure

7 Sins of Small Businesses that Lead to Social Media Failure

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Social media is a great marketing tool at the disposal of small businesses which, if used strategically, can enhance the visibility & brand engagement significantly. While small business owners are aware of social media’s power, most don’t have a clue how it should be leveraged to gain maximum benefit.

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The ease of joining social media motivates small businesses to get going without a second thought. But social media marketing isn’t as simple as it appears to be. And when results don’t appear, many small businesses begin to think social media is not for them.

If you too find yourself in a similar situation, let me tell you what could have gone wrong and how you can make amends & generate social benefits.

So, let’s go through the 7 common social media blunders that I have seen so many small businesses commit over the years, and also learn about the best ways to correct them:

Sin #1 – Setting Unrealistic Expectations

One common reason why small businesses fail at social media is that they expect too much in too short a time. And they give up too soon when they realize things aren’t working the way they had expected.

Campaigns, posts, and blogs go viral on social media all the times. True. And quite often, it leads businesses to enjoy overnight success. But if you make a perception out of it that success is easy through social media, then you are simply on thin ice.

In reality, most businesses enjoy success on social media only because they have put consistent, well-thought efforts in earning the trust & loyalty of their customers. Now before you wonder what these efforts look like, let me assure you that after reading this post you will have all your questions answered.

Sin #2 – Trying to Dominate Every Social Media Network

There is an old saying ‘If you run after two hares, you will catch neither.’ Similarly, if you create accounts on every social media site out there and try to be active on all of them at once, you will end up managing none properly. This ‘social media omnipresence’ will simply consume all your time & resources, and won’t produce even peanuts.

Besides, what is the point of being active on a social network where you know your target audience won’t be present? For instance, as a B2B company, you would want to have a strong LinkedIn and Facebook profile, not an Instagram account. Or a fashion store has a better chance to engage people on Pinterest or Instagram than on LinkedIn.

So, before you rush to plan the marketing strategy for a new social media network you have just created an account on, stop & analyze the:

  • Nature of your business
  • Target audience
  • Content approach
  • Available resources

After doing that, ask yourself ‘is it worth it?’ And if you think that you have sufficient resources to manage a new social media account and can see a way how it can be helpful for your business, then of course, don’t shy away from giving it the green light.

Sin #3 – Self-obsessed marketing

Do you like people in your social circle who always brag about themselves? Of course, not. So, how could you expect to have a good social media following when you only talk about your products and how awesome they are? Sadly, most small businesses follow the same social media marketing approach, and no wonder they fail.

Social media isn’t for blatant product selling. Social media is for connecting with your customers. And by becoming too promotional, you are only alienating yourself from your followers.

Without connecting with them, you cannot learn about their needs; without knowing their needs, you cannot add value to your offerings; and without value, your followers have no reason to keep following you.

But don’t feel so bad if you are doing the same. For generations, people are selling the pen the wrong way.

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Learn the right approach to hit your target audience

Just remember to keep the social part intact in your social media campaign. Talk about your products and services but also give your target audience something interesting. Relate your offerings with their needs and you will do great.

Sin #4 – Being same on every social network

Most small businesses follow the same old social media marketing approach – write a blog, share it on all social media channels, and hope customers will start rolling in. It certainly sounds easy and quick, but my friends, it doesn’t work.

Every social media platform has its own culture and provides a different communication environment. Adopting a humorous tone can work on Facebook and Twitter but it would look awkward on LinkedIn.

Above example may seem ‘stating the obvious’ to you but in practice, amid the rush of updating numerous social media outlets regularly, these obvious logics are often overlooked. So, it is important to tailor the posts in accordance with the essence of that particular social media channel.

Sin #5 – Shying away from spending a little

Small businesses opt for social media in the first place because it is easy & free. Most small businesses assume that by following the same old approach of sharing content regularly, they can build a good social media following.

But gone are the good old days when your Facebook posts used to reach a good portion of your fans organically. Over the years, due to the increasing number of Facebook pages & users, the organic reach of Facebook posts have been declining constantly and will continue to in future.

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According to Facebook, on an average about 1,500 posts compete to appear on a user’s newsfeed but only one-fifth of the most relevant ones qualify. Most of which are of course paid.

So, in order to gain visibility today, you have to invest a little. And yes, only a little, since spending $5 a day can get you quite impressive results. Unfortunately, most small businesses don’t do it and spend months in building a good following.

Sin #6 – Not using the right tools

Usually, small businesses don’t have a clue how much time & creativity their social media campaign would actually require. They jump in right away thinking what it would take to write a bunch of lines and hitting the post button a few times a day. Only once they really get into it that they realize how difficult the task can be.

Managing things manually can cost you a lot of time and money. Thus, deploying social media tools is quite essential. If I am to talk about these tools, it would take the post in a different direction. But for starters, check out these popular tools:

  • HootSuite – A social media management system that helps you monitor & manage all your social media profiles from one place
  • IMPACT – A title generator that can help you in writing sharp lines when sharing content on different social media platforms (especially when you are running out of ideas)
  • Twuffer and other post scheduling tools so that you can schedule the posts for whole week or for whole month in advance (Facebook has an in-built feature for scheduling future posts)
  • Bitly and Goo.gl to make awkwardly lengthy links to look neat, as well as fit into your 140-character tweet

Sin #7 – Ignoring customers

A part of me dies every time I see an unanswered comment on social media profile of a small business. And too bad for me, it happens quite too often. I mean, how could business owners ignore the people who are the reason of their very existence on social media?

If I were to rank these social media mistakes, I would rank ‘not listening to your customers’ as #1.

It doesn’t matter how big or small your brand is, people love it when they get a personal reply from you. Your one reply can make your followers keep coming back to you time and again. Let me share a personal experience.

A few years back, I started following Tara Stiles on Facebook, a model-turned-yoga teacher. At that time, she had about a couple of thousands likes on her page. Once I left a comment on one of her posts and within hours received a reply. As a fan, it was enough for me to keep commenting on her posts for months.

She maintains this habit till date and continues to receive well-deserved brand engagement from thousands of her followers. No wonder today she has over 172K Facebook followers.

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There are hundreds of brands out there who are trying to reach the same audience as you. By no means you have the time (and will get the attention span) to learn the right approach through hit and trial method. So, make sure you remove these mistakes from your social media marketing campaign and never ever repeat them. And to answer the question, how long will it take to succeed, just stick to your guns, and success will come. I promise!

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