I’ve been slammed these past few weeks working on a side project doing in-depth social media reviews for businesses with a fellow entrepreneur who specializes in helping his creative clients find their ideal customers online.
It’s been eye-opening for me on many levels, and incredibly interesting to see how small businesses are handling their social media.
In a way, it’s been fantastic to see that people NEED ME!
But it’s also been disheartening to see how little is understood about what social media is all about, and how to market effectively on social platforms.
And before you throw your hands up in the air, I get it – social media marketing is tough!
Small business owners don’t have the time, resources or attention span to learn social media marketing. But by doing it incorrectly, many are hurting instead of helping their businesses.
Let me explain, briefly. And check out how to solve these issues below!
1. Philosophy – Social media is about relationships.
Businesses still believe that social media platforms are solely channels to distribute their promotions. And to be honest, if I didn’t know any better, I might do the same. It seems logical.
But social media is about relationships – building, investing, and watching them blossom.
I’ve heard business owners discount fans saying they want to have “decision-makers” and “executives” in their audience, but they don’t know who’s in their audience or who their fans know.
By treating your social media platforms as promotional platforms, you are alienating everyone from participating in developing a relationship with you.
They might have originally shown up because your brand/product/service is cool, but you’ve got to keep them around – and that means a relationship must be formed.
2. Replying. (Yes, seriously.)
This is probably my BIGGEST social media pet peeve – even worse than spamming online communities are the businesses that don’t take the time to reply or thank people.
It doesn’t matter how big the brand is or how cool the business is – it’s a blessing to have people psyched about what we do, and we should be thankful!
And big businesses are the worst, yet have the most resources i.e. dolla bills to take the time to do this properly.
I won’t keep going on this subject because it’s not productive. Just be nice to your fans, folks!!! ALL of them.
3. Content. Give value.
What is your business doing for its online communities? How are you making their lives, businesses and daily routines better?
Social media platforms are online communities where fans and followers hang out and communicate in their own language. Twitter does not speak Instagram, and Facebook does not speak Google+.
They all harbor individual cultures. And that means the content shared must be optimized for each.
But with this in mind, businesses need to make a real effort to educate, share, and give content that is valuable to their audience and leaves them in a better way.
The more you give, the more you get. Every time.
4. Personality/human element
Where are YOU in your brand?? If it’s a big brand than the YOU isn’t as linear, but the human element must exist or people flat out won’t become emotionally tied to your brand.
Maybe you’re shy, maybe you are concerned about being too visible online, but you have no idea what an enormous impact getting in front of your brand will do for it.
People bond with people, not graphics or logos.
And unless you’ve got brand loyalty like Apple, you can’t just be a fruit.
This is the hardest one, but the most important.
Being consistent in how you share content, when, and what are critical to your brand. Consistency translates to reliability, credibility and professionalism. And it applies to ALL aspects of social media.
I always tell my consulting clients – figure out what you can commit to, and do it. Even if it starts out small i.e. a post once a day, it’s consistent, and you can work your way up after a few weeks of getting acclimated.
How To Turns Fails Into Wins
1. Spend quality time with your audience – finding them, interacting with them and engaging them.
Nail down your target as definitively as possible, find out where they hang out online, and go introduce yourself. Be polite, ask them ONLY about them, share articles/videos/pictures with them, and build real relationships.
Ask yourself: How would I start a new relationship with someone I just met?
Treat your online relationships the same way. Make it about serving them, and watch the bountiful harvest of what it brings.
2. Reply. to. every. person. period. And even say thank you to the spammers. No need to go in-depth or continue a conversation past the first with spammers or trolls, but simply thank them and move on.
For replies – this is a no-brainer!!
Would you walk away from someone after they asked you a question or gave you a compliment? Heck no!!! Don’t do it online either.
3. Schedule time into your everyday that is spent searching for content that will be valuable to your audience. There’s numerous tools out there that make this easier (BundlePost (my favorite), PostPlanner, Buffer, Google Alerts, etc).
But hopefully, you are reading content that is relevant to your industry on a daily basis, so bookmark until your heart is content. And by all means, mix it up! Share videos, photos, GIFS, blogs, etc.
Follow the 80/20 Rule of content and you’ll be solid. Promise.
4. Get comfortable being a bit uncomfortable – if that’s an issue for you. If not, determine how you can share yourself more with your online audience.
It can be pictures or videos from the office, what you have for lunch (yes, seriously), a picture of your work area, pets (people LOVE these!), photos of where you work out, etc.
Decide what you feel most comfortable with, but don’t be afraid to join the selfie crowd on occasion – there’s a reason everyone is doing it these days – people love selfies!!
Hey – selfies are still some of the highest ranking content on my Facebook page.
5. Schedules are your friend. I’m one of those overly organized people who color-code and get all weird about how my projects are labeled, and other random stuff I won’t bore you with.
But without a content schedule, I’d be in trouble because I have to a LOT to keep up with.
Write (crazypants, I know, but writing it out locks it in your brain faster) out a simple schedule that outlines what you will do each day for each network and follow it, i.e. Post 5x/day on Facebook, 25x/day Twitter, etc. And don’t forget to include time for finding content, engaging, and finding your audience.
I guarantee you’ll be super thankful because it won’t be a mad rush to tweet something random just because it’s been a few hours.
Stay in control and plan it out ahead of time.
What is the biggest problem you see small businesses guilty of?
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