I know it sounds simple, but this is the number one mistake I see small businesses and entrepreneurs make. Most people start out with social media fright- they don't know what to post, they don't know if it’s worth the effort and they're terrified to make mistakes. Once they make it past this point, they start having what I like to refer to as social media joy. They suddenly sign up for every social media platform known to mankind. People get so excited about social media that they forget to use it.
I get it, I do. If you want to be successful it helps to look at successful businesses- set goals and whatnot. This works for just about anything business related... except social media. Looking at larger, extremely successful businesses, they may have five or more different social media platforms. And while it's true that you want to be able to introduce as many people as possible to your brand, keep in mind that these large companies have an entire marketing team whose sole purpose within the company is social media. I'm not telling you to think small- just realistically. How much time every day do you have to spend on social media? Will your posts be consistent? More importantly, will your posts be of high quality?
- Marketing takes time. Expect to spend 5-10 hours a week building relationships, creating insightful posts, and joining conversations/ groups for each platform. Now imagine expending that same amount of energy and time in a bunch of places- yikes!
- Social Media can cost you a lot time, which as you know, can be costing you money too. Don't waste your time marketing to the wrong audience.
- You risk becoming annoying, sales-y, or a spambot. This can turn off potential customers.
- If you are not engaging customers or building relationships you will fail to convert followers to leads/ customers.
- Your brand will lack focus and/or personality, implying a level of unprofessionalism.
- Your content will fall flat or feel too pushy- or worse, it will be ignored.
Start off with just one or two social media platforms and build from there. I usually suggest creating a blog and then one of the "go to" social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. Your choices might be different depending on your needs (we'll talk about this later).
Once you have these two platforms, pace yourself. Start off small with just a few posts per week. As your content grows, so will your audience (be patient). The quality of your posts are key. You want to use your platform as a way to keep customers up to date with your business, i.e. sales, big events, etc. However, just like having a friend who only talks about themselves, people can get turned off by the constant sales reminders and "unfollow" you. The best way to combat this, is to sprinkle in helpful tips/ interesting articles but keep them related to your topic of business. Again, depending on your business, a thoughtful quote here and there can capture quite a few attention spans.
The point is, no matter your business, keep your platforms informative, helpful but also fun. People want to know more about you, and your business- let your personality shine through and showcase what makes you unique.
There is no "one- size fits all" answer to this question. What kind of business are you? Do you sell products or services? Who's your target audience?
Once you know the answers to these questions, you'll have a better idea of what platform to use. For instance, a photographer could really benefit from having an Instagram or Facebook account but an IT professional? Maybe not. The IT professional would probably benefit most from having a GitHub account and a LinkedIn profile. Are you a fashion blogger constantly on the go? Instagram would a be a great match!
Also try to consider where your target audience will be spending most of their time. For instance, if your target audience is moms between the ages of 28-36 then, again, Facebook would lend itself handy. I know not all professions can be matched with their perfect social media platform as easily as described above. Sometimes it takes research to figure out where your brand best stands a chance. If you're stuck, consider looking up other businesses in your field. Where are they representing themselves? Out of these platforms, where do they receive the most fan support? Or if all else fails, ask an expert. Many social media marketers, including myself, are more than willing to give our quick advice/ input when asked- all it takes is a politely worded email. :]
If you are temporarily unable to keep up with your usual social media routine, try to post at least two quality posts on each of your platforms (maybe referring to what you've been up to) a month. Two posts a month is better than nothing. So often I've come across abandoned social media platforms, with countless messages from customers wanting to know where they went. This creates a chasm between customer and business filled with seeds of mistrust, and a feeling of neglect. A business having a presence online has become the new standard. Without one, you risk appearing unprofessional, and even unreliable. Don't let your social media platform turn into a zombie site, it will come back to bite you in the a$$.
Spreading yourself too thin over social media can be disastrous. I hope, after reading this post, that you are better able to avoid this common pitfall. Do you still need consulting help? Fee free to reach out to us for a free consultation!
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