What’s the best way for a small business to connect with a wider audience? Social media!
It’s free. It’s easy to use. It exposes your business to a huge audience.
Wait; is it really that easy to use? It’s easy if you’re a casual user. If you intend to promote a brand, you need a serious, strategic approach. You probably understand that. That’s why you went through all those guides on leading a successful marketing campaign. You know you need clear objectives, an adequate budget, and a team that will make things happen.
How about the mistakes you need to avoid? Many small business owners engage in social media marketing without being prepared enough. They make common mistakes that can be devastating for the outcome of the campaign. When you know what those mistakes are, you’ll be able to avoid them.
Get ready; we’ll list the don’ts of social media marketing a small business should consider.
1. Don’t Opt for All Channels
First of all, social media requires a financial investment. Let’s get real: you’ll hardly be able to write all needed content, maintain several profiles on all channels, respond to the comments, analyze the feedback, and do everything else the campaign demands while running the business at the same time. You’ll need to hire people, so you’ll invest money.
In addition to money, social media marketing takes time and energy, too. Those are precious resources. If you spread your energy across all possible channels, you’ll only cover them superficially.
Let’s see an example: OnceLogix is a successful business with revenue of $4 million, but it has only 15 employees, so it’s a small business after all. On the official website, we notice it leads us to only 3 social media profiles: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. That’s it. No YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Instagram.
Before you choose the social media platforms you’ll start with, analyze the market. See where your audience is. Target two important channels. As your campaign makes progress and your business starts making more money, you’ll hire new people in the marketing team and you’ll expand.
2. Don’t Do It Just Because You Have to
Let’s stay with the same example. Check out the Facebook page for OnceLogix. This is a good example of a successful business that doesn’t try too hard to make an impression on social media. That doesn’t justify the lack of activity on the Facebook page. You get the impression they created it just because they thought they had to.
Don’t follow that example. No one says your business has to be on social media under any circumstances. If you don’t have the resources, time, and energy to handle social media marketing properly, don’t bother making a commitment. When someone looks your business up on Facebook, they won’t get a good impression out of a blank, inactive page. They won’t comment or leave feedback because they will expect to be ignored.
3. Don’t Go Overboard with Your Posting Frequency
This is the other extreme. Too frequent posting is actually spamming. You’ll appear in the feeds of your followers so frequently that they will decide to hide your post or worse: unfollow you.
StickerGiant is an example for an active social media campaign. Is it too active? On some days, you see them posting several updates on Facebook. That’s acceptable for Twitter, but it may be too much for the Facebook audience.
Analyze your audience to see how they react to frequent posting. If you notice you’re getting fewer likes and shares when you increase the frequency of updates, it’s better to ease down.
4. Don’t Avoid Commenting and Responding
We’ll stick with StickerGiant’s Facebook profile again. On a Facebook page, the customers can leave feedback. Transparency is always a good thing. When the business ignores the feedback, however, this turns into a one-way marketing process. That’s not the point of social media marketing. StickerGiant gets positive and negative feedback. Whatever the case is, they make an effort to respond and meet the customer’s demands.
Keep communicating with your audience. It’s what they expect!
5. Don’t Remove Negative Opinions
If you start removing the negative opinions with the intention to make a false positive impression, people will start talking about your business elsewhere. They will review it on Yelp, Reddit, and on their own social media profiles. You won’t be able to remove those opinions.
Take the negative feedback with grace. Respond to it and try to fix the damage. That’s the only way to turn it into a positive thing.
6. Don’t Underestimate Networking
Professional networking is necessary because it helps you establish connections and get practical advice from people who know what they are talking about. When you’re connected with influencers, you’re establishing the authority of your brand.
Alo Yoga is a good example for proper networking. The brand is being promoted by the most influential Instagram yogis.
7. Don’t Post Content Irrelevant to Your Business
When you’re aiming to increase the frequency of social media post, you might get tempted to share irrelevant updates. A cycling store, for example, may share content related to healthy food, productivity in the exercise routine, and other things that are loosely connected with cycling. However, if you start seeing updates about completely irrelevant things, such as presidential elections, you’ll probably unfollow the page.
Check out the Facebook page of HED Cycling. What do you see? Posts related to cycling. That’s how it should be.
8. Don’t Fall into Automation
Oh, this is a big issue. Tools like Buffer can and will make the social media marketing campaign easier to handle. You schedule the posts and the app shares them at the right time. However, this doesn’t mean you should schedule a single update to be promoted on all channels.
Each social media channel has a unique audience. Even if it’s the same user who follows you on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, they expect to see a different approach. Twitter is about witty tweets, Instagram is about the visual, and Facebook is all-in-one.
Let’s see an example of not-so-good social media marketing: Real Techniques. You’ll see the same content featured on its Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter profiles. The posts come around the same time, so they are clearly automated. If you decide to check what’s going on on different platforms and you see the same post from a page you follow, doesn’t it get boring? At least Real Techniques changed the descriptions to the images posted on different channels, so we’ll give them credit for that.
9. Don’t Plagiarize Content
This is a golden rule in social media marketing: do not plagiarize content.
Don’t get tempted to copy the content of others by trying to mask the plagiarism with a few elements that differ. Don’t share opinions of others without attributing it to the author. Ever! You need a strategy with a unique approach. When someone sees your post, they should recognize it’s your brand even when they don’t read the username.
10. Don’t Lie or Exaggerate
Nerium, a skincare brand, managed to create quite a buzz with its products. Its Facebook page is pretty active. The only problem is: it’s full of exaggerations. I mean, would you believe this if someone told you it was a real result? It was no wonder why beauty bloggers started calling out the brand for misinforming the audience. That’s not how you build good reputation.
You get authority by promoting the best features and uses of your product without lying or exaggerating. Combine that with honest communication with the audience, and you get a successful social media marketing campaign that brings long-term results.
Now that you know what not to do when promoting a small business on social media, the proper practices are clearer, aren’t they?
Rachel Bartee is a content writer and a marketing consultant with EssaysOnTime. She is content-oriented and knows how to put words into action. She feels passionate about travelling and inspired by her morning yoga. Get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.