Big First-Time Mistakes Small Businesses Make on Social Media
The world of social media is a new dynamic for many small businesses that have had physical presences for a long time. Even with some small web-based businesses, social media may be a new phenomenon. Many small brands cynically wonder how they could get any use out of social media when their audiences are so relatively small. The reality is that social media can turn even the smallest of brands into multi-national powerhouses when the product/service is good and the attention is positive. In order to avoid any beginning snafus, we’ve put together a list of first-time mistakes on social media that small businesses will want to avoid.
Biting Off Too Much
There are literally dozens of social media platforms currently in existence, each with its own particular function and benefit. Even among the most popular social media platforms, there are several to consider using. Many small businesses think that social media will be easy enough to maintain and therefore attempt to open as many social media profiles as possible. This can quickly lead to fatigue and result in spreading efforts too thinly across too many profiles. In the beginning, start out by pinging URLs to just one or two social media networks (Facebook and Twitter are the two most popular, but networks such as Pinterest and Instagram also are relevant for some brands).
Pushing Too Hard for the Sell
Many brands – particularly small businesses – have little to no online marketing experience when they first land on social media. This can lead to some confusion in how best to appeal to an audience or attract their attention. In the real world (particularly, in the brick and mortar world), a business is used to providing a service or product that individuals want. They come in, look around, and decide whether or not to buy. Online – and particularly on social media – things are different. Rather than chronically advertising your offerings and deals, you must find a variety of content to share with an audience that is funny, entertaining or engaging. While including direct sales pitches is acceptable, if that is all that is provided, your audience will shrink and your social media experiment will fall flat.
Not Posting Regularly
Many social media networks have complex algorithms that determine who sees what and when. On Facebook, for instance, the average post has a half-life of less than six hours. In order to constantly be relevant, you must post content regularly. Most social media networks have scheduling functions that allow you to be pinging URLs throughout all hours of the day – you just set up each post in advance, tell it when to publish, and your work is done for the day. Ideally, your social media pages will be updated at least five times per day. This does not require a ton of effort – most updates can be a simple photo, a funny video or an article shared from another source. It is crucial, however, that small business pages constantly publish content that people will like and share, which in turns help grow your audience in due time.