Forbes, LaKesha Womack, October 6th
Social media seems to be the best thing to happen to small businesses. It is essentially a free tool that almost everyone is using, a factor that can be a benefit and a curse.
Businesses of all sizes can now create major marketing campaigns on shoestring budgets. However, some businesses are killing their brand with poor marketing materials and no marketing strategy. They fail to develop a strategy behind their posting, refuse to invest in quality graphics and don’t engage with their community. They may not see a direct decline in business, but the energy spent posting content is not generating new prospects because people are looking at ill-conceived marketing – and deciding NOT to engage. (Ouch!)
There are a handful of essential elements that need to work together for your social media strategy to connect with your target market and generate quality leads for your business. Make sure your social media strategy isn’t suffering from these common mistakes:
Cheap Or Ugly Graphics
We live in a visual society where people like to look at pretty pictures. Even if they don’t read your content, immediate assumptions are made about your business based on the graphics you use. There are several free and low-cost platforms that allow you to create and edit photos and videos for social media posting.
You may not have a lot of time or a staffer to dedicate to this task, but at least one or two hours should be carved out each week to develop content for your marketing. If you’re a solopreneur, you may be thinking you don’t have time to do this. My question is, do you have so much business that you don’t need new clients?
No Design Consistency
Is your business traditional, modern or contemporary? Is your target audience youthful or experienced? Are your products/services designed for corporate consumers or household consumption? Believe it or not, those elements should make a difference when designing your social media images and messages. When someone looks at your images, reads your messages or watches your videos, they are trying to determine if this product/service is talking to them. It is important for viewers to see your content and become intrigued enough to click the link, request more information or call for an appointment. If you are getting a lot of views but few clicks, there is something in your messaging that is not connecting with your audience.
No Content Consistency
Posting consistently on social media can be draining, but if you choose to use it as a part of your marketing strategy, it is something that you need to do so strategically. Failure to do so makes your brand seem disengaged. Even if you only post once a day or every few days, that helps to show that you are taking a step to remain connected to your audience. Not sure what to post? Don’t let that ruin your schedule. You could:
– Link to articles that may provide helpful information to your community.
– Share inspirational quotes.
– Ask a question that can help in the research and development of your next product/service.
– Ask for reviews of a current product/service.
– Feature a profile of a member of your team.
No Connection With Your Community
I am amazed at the number of businesses who fail to connect with their community. I see them posting ads, offers, advice and you name it with people commenting and asking questions – but no response from the business. Inevitably, the consumers begin talking to each other, which seems to derail the conversation away from the business.
Even if you don’t have the resources to dedicate to a community manager, someone within your organization should be tasked with monitoring and following up on the information that you post. If you are a one-man shop and getting a high level of engagement, congratulations because you’re doing something right – but the next step is to convert those leads into sales.
Likes and comments are warm leads because these are people who have expressed some interest in what you’re offering. Now, you must figure out through engagement what it will take to get them to buy. Not responding or leaving them to find the answer themselves is a poor lead-conversion strategy. You would not do that to someone outside your office building trying to get in the door, so why do it to someone trying to gain virtual access to you?
No Investment To Reach Your Target Audience
Let’s face it: Just because you build it or post it, they are not going to come. You need to go out and find them. Because so many social media platforms are free, many business owners have failed to allocate financial resources to effectively reaching their target audience, causing their message to fall on deaf ears. You can have great images, great content and be on standby to connect with your community, but if you have not invested in reaching your target demographic, then you have essentially wasted many of your resources.
Unlike traditional media advertising that can be very hit or miss, many social media ads are targeted and often allow you to pay per click so you are only spending money when prospects engage with your content. Start small to see which platforms and message-types your audience is most likely to engage with, and then build from there.
In theory, social media is the great equalizer for many industries. It gives businesses of all sizes the potential to connect with their target customers all over the globe. However, doing so requires a strategy to engage prospects and a plan to follow up with those who seem interested in your offer. Not making an investment of time or finances into your social media can be killing your business, but using social strategically can be an asset to untold growth.