Small Business Social Media Marketing – 6 Pitfalls to Avoid

Small Business Social Media Marketing can help organizations grow and become more efficient in a number of ways. However small businesses have made mistakes and are continuing to do so as they try to adapt to new tools, platforms and the shift towards a more social culture.

1. Jumping In Too Quickly

Social Media marketing is not something that you can get started with unless you are willing to commit consistent time and resources to it. There is nothing worse than a Facebook page that is never updated, or if someone has managed to spam an offer on a business page for a pair of red glitzy shoes! How many Twitter pages have you seen where the last update simply says “happy new year to all our followers”.

Rather than jumping in, reserve your user names, monitor what’s going on and listen to what is happening in the social community. Follow what the most profitable small businesses do; observe what your customers, prospects and competition are doing and how they are interacting before joining the conversation when you are ready.

2. Not having a defined strategy

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Simply having a Facebook Business page or a Twitter profile is not a strategy.

  • Why are you building a Facebook page?
  • What is it that you are trying to achieve?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Do you have a content marketing strategy?
  • how will you look to engage your following on a regular basis?
  • How are you going to encourage users to become engaged community members?
  • What value will you offer them? What results are you looking for and how will you measure them?

These are the types of questions that you should be asking yourself and of your business before you begin the social media marketing journey.

3. That it is Free

Small business social media marketingIt may cost nothing to set up a profile on Twitter or a Facebook Page, but that doesn’t mean that small business social media marketing is free. The profile or the page is a mere carcass, a shell for what is the true investment. The investment is the time that you will have to spend in order to develop a community that people want to be involved with.

4. Shiny New Object Syndrome

If you spend even a small amount of time on social media you will recognise that there is new fandangle, super shiny, fail proof, push button solution that can increase your fan base fifty fold by increasing your conversions and sales dramatically – whether it be Google+, Pintrest, Twitter or another new site that everyone is talking about. However it is important to see your original strategy through, and spend your time and resources where you know your customers will be.

5. Small business social media marketing is not all about sales

Too many people and businesses jump straight on to Facebook or Twitter and immediately start making offers and pitches, sharing links to sales pages and showcasing their latest products or offers. Social media is not about that. Social media and online marketing for small business is about developing an engaged community, building trust, developing relationships and increasing interest. It is a longer sales cycle but once you have established that relationship and built a level of influence through being authentic and sharing value to the community, leads and sales will follow.

6. Giving up too easily

Small business social media marketing can be frustrating; there is no doubt about it. Building relationships takes time and it can be discouraging when you think about all the time, effort and even money with no immediate impact. But as long as you are providing value, sharing great content, and targeting your audience well, your patience will be rewarded. It may not be through immediate sales, but you may pick up some great business contacts that can help elevate your business to the next level.

In conclusion, small business social media marketing can have a dramatic effect on increasing the awareness of your business and over time, leads and sales. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that because it costs nothing, it is free. You need to have a plan in place and you need to interact and engage with your community on a regular basis to see the long terms goals.

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Discuss This Article

Comments: 5

  • Great information- thank you for this. I’d love to be proved wrong: Social Media is not for every business. I really like what you mentioned about Strategy. What I’ve seen is that knowing your target audience may not be immediately obvious. Its important to measure and listen.

  • Thanks James, nice succinct article.

    I would also add that effective evaluation and measurement are crucial too. You should define your targets and KPIs as part of your strategy, but lack of insight into how to manage, measure and respond is often a big stumbling block.

    The social impact of your brand will benefit from being responsive to the needs of your community. You will need to be nimble, opportunistic, and up to date on current trends and that requires a strong grasp on what you’re measuring and how.

  • This is a great update. Thank you. I would also mention Online Management Reputation (ORM) because this is very important to my customer (the private practioner). The pitfall is if you do not use social media you could be tarnished with one bad review! You need a plan to overcome these negative comments. I will post your story on my Blog because I think all small business owners should read this, in and out of the healthcare market.

  • Ashlei says:

    Insightful article. I especially liked the 6th and final point; that you shouldn’t give up to easily. For plenty of small business owners, social media and everything that comes with it can be very overwhelming frustrating, etc as you said. But it really is the future of marketing and business strategy, and it’s exceptionally important to push through it and come out on top.

  • Articles such as this help the small business owner community realize that internet marketing isn’t magic – it just takes a little understanding and effort! Thanks for sharing!

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