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Top 5 social media mistakes that small business owners make

Social Media is a vital life line, oftentimes determining the success and/or failure of small businesses. With time of the essence for entrepreneurs, it’s wise not to go wasting it on hit or miss approaches. Rather—avoid these 5 most common mistakes and tackle your social media journey with a plan that’s guaranteed to garner positive results. 

With 4.2 billion active users across platforms, it can feel like a lot of pressure to stand out on social media. Which is why having a clear cut plan is so important. Most business owners believe that simply having a handle is enough to reap the rewards a presence can bring. We all want more website traffic, brand awareness, sales, interactions, etc. But there are rules to the game, and with US spending on social media marketing hitting $7.52 billion in 2014, there’s definitely something to lose if not approached correctly. 

So how can you ensure a return on your investment (ROI) for social media activities? We recommend avoiding the following mistakes, and employing the solutions we’ve listed as a safe alternative to gaining traction and securing the effective results you’re looking for. 

1.) Not having a social media strategy

This is the most detrimental rookie mistake you can make. Not having a proper strategy can propel you in too many different directions, with neither of them leading to any actual results. In the end all you’re left with is wasted time + efforts and no actual results. But you’re not alone. Studies show that 55% of small businesses struggle with developing a social media strategy.

Solution: Consider first what it is that you want to measure. This can change over time, or it can incorporate several different features. But there should always be something you are assessing over a designated period of time. Once you’ve determined what that is, start building a strategy. For instance—if it’s followers you are looking for, think about who your audience is. How can you attract their attention? How many followers are you looking to gain over a set period of time? What specific platform is this audience on? Make sure your efforts are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.

2.) Posting too often or not often enough

Part of the blueprint required in order to succeed at social media is being consistent. You want to learn what type of content works for your audience versus what doesn’t resonate. Once you’ve nailed that, the next goal should be consistency. Build a presence which invites more people into the community you’ve created. Not posting consistently can have the opposite effect, instead dwindling your following. 

Solution: Find out what it is that interests your audience! What engages them? According to MarketingProfs, 27 million pieces of digital content get shared on an average day in the US. This means that original content (specifically the type that stimulates your audience) can help you stand out. Your content should be both consistent and authentic. You want to be genuine, helpful, and delivering something that is consumable. The average social media user spends approximately 2 hours and 25 minutes on social channels every day. With so much out there, it is important to create something that is both attention grabbing + memorable. 

3.) Not targeting the right audience 

Making this mistake will send you down a dead end. If you don’t determine who your audience is, then you’ll never know what to post. Your initial goal should be to define your niche, and then work on dominating it. Your audience is comprised of the people most interested in what you are offering, and therefore most likely to invest in it. 

Solution: Spend time researching your audience. Seek them out. See who they follow. See what type of content interests them. Similarly, research your competition. If there’s a crossover in audience, you’ll want to create content that is relevant, but also unique so that you can stand out from the bunch, allowing your audience to remember you. 

4.) Failing to measure results 

Without a proper measure of strategies and their results, you will not be able to see what’s been working versus what has not. Without such a measure, it will be impossible to see where and how you can redirect your course. Not everything you try will work out. And that’s ok! The important thing is to be aware of what’s not working and knowing how you can change course so that it does work for you and bring a positive ROI.  

Solution: Set specific goals within a certain time frame. If within that time frame the goal has not been met, then restructure it. Keep editing and adapting until you receive the results you are looking for. Measuring results helps you effectively hone in on which strategies are working and which are not. 

5.) Neglecting customer service on social media

Part of the purpose of social media is to encourage genuine interactions with your audience. You are there not only to promote, but also to offer support and a presence in the absence of a physical location. Out of the 66% of small businesses who have any type of social media presence, 34% do not respond to their customers’ comments—accounting for a major missed opportunity. 

Solution: Part of creating a presence is responding in a timely fashion. Social media is not only about content. Your followers want to know there’s someone behind the brand that has their back. Studies show that 32% of those who reach out to a company through social media for customer support expect a response within 30 minutes. 42% expect a response within 60 minutes. That means that if you aren’t doing this, then in your customers’ minds, you’ve lost credibility.

Consistency is Key

There’s no one set formula for creating successful social media channels. It’s slightly different for everyone. But starting with a strategy, posting consistently, targeting your niche audience, measuring results, and offering support are all important first steps that can help set you up for success. Your efforts will become more focused, eventually leading to increased website visits, sales, a loyal following and more. If approached wisely, there’s much to be gained through the use of social media marketing. If you need assistance with taking your social media to the next level, contact Kurv Agency