Small Business: Here’s Why Your Social Media Isn’t Working

Social media can really level the playing field for small businesses. It gives us the ability to do more with less and yet many companies claim that social media isn’t working. The fact of the matter is that it’s not social media that’s at fault, it’s you. Here’s why:

1. You’re  not listening – and you are not alone – 40% of brands using social media don’t respond to comments, questions, replies or retweets. Guaranteed that by doing so you are ignoring inquiries and opportunities that could bring you business. Get in the habit of monitoring your feeds regularly and respond frequently.

2. You’re rude to your fans/followers – fans are like exotic hot house plants, if you care and nurture them they will grow abundant and spread but if you ignore them they will simply die off. Nurtured fans can become your marketing dept on steroids. So why are you ignoring it when they retweet or share your content? A simple thank you is all it takes to keep them happy. Why would anyone retweet your content if you ignore them for it?

3. You’re a headless chicken scratching around doing what you can but with absolutely no direction. You started out with a blog, then added a Facebook page because everyone’s one there, then Twitter because you saw it on TV, and now Pinterest, Google+…. The fact of the matter is that it takes you so long to do your social media that you don’t have enough time to do what you do best and make money. There are thousands of social networks out there. You can’t be on all of them effectively and still make money for your business so choose 2 or 3 (max) and do them really well. Choose the ones that your target audience is most like to use.

4. Your branding sucks – sounds harsh, but it is true. Before you embark on building your social media presence it is important to make sure that you you’ve done your homework and that your brand is ready, and that isn’t just your logo (but that’s important too). You should understand what your company stands for, how it is perceived, how your offering is different. If you know this then you will be more likely to succeed online and off.

5. Your customer service stinks – another hard thing to hear but if your offline customer service stinks then it’s just going to be amplified online, rolling out the red carpet for trolls. Fix your processes and make sure your customer service rocks before you start.

6. You like the sound of your own voice – sorry to tell you but this isn’t about you, my friend, it is about your audience.  Stop mouthing off about you and your business all the time. Eighty percent of your posts should be focused on adding value for your audience and twenty percent should be about you (not the other way round).  And save the photos of your coffee (yawn).

7. Your social media stands alone.   – your  presence on social media needs to reflect your real world activities.  If you are having an open house or event, Tweet about it.  Closed on Monday, then post it on your Facebook page.  Consider social media as a component of your overall marketing, communications and business plan.

8. You’re an old school communicator – many small businesses fail on social media because they take the old approach to communicating and talk at their audience rather than with their audience.  This isn’t about you pushing out your message, it is about building conversations centered around your customers.

9.  You  don’t know what social media is and you don’t care. For you, social media is a passing fad and not worthy of your attention. People said the same thing about the Internet 15 years ago and the telephone 100 years ago. The fact of the matter is that if you want to do business with the next generation of clients, you will have to use social media to some extent.  If you’re not on there then they will rule you out and you’re business will suffer.

10. You delegated to the person in your office who has a thousand Facebook friends.  Just because someone knows how to use social media socially, doesn’t mean they can use it effectively for business.  Make sure that whoever is doing your social media understands your business, goals, audience and what to say or not to say before they start.


9 Tips for Building and Implementing Effective Social Media Strategies

Many businesses fail when it comes to social media.  Why? Because organisations don’t give due consideration to strategy before they start. A social media  strategy can be as long or as short (on the back of a napkin!) as you want it to be, but it should take into account and reflect:

  • Your brand, message, corporate mission and vision
  • Your target audience
  • Which tools you will use and who will do what
  • Quantifiable goals and tools to measure success
  • Content – how will you add value
  • What needs to be done and when

Here are 9 important factors that you need to consider when building and implementing your social media strategy:

1. Your strategy on-line must be reflective of your overall business strategy

Successful social media strategies augment your existing business plans, reflect your brand, goals and target audience.

2. Take a holistic approach to Internet marketing

Your Internet marketing should include your website (as the backbone), email campaigns, SEO, SEM, online ads and mobile marketing.  Each component should cross-pollinate with the others (i.e. your website should be social media ready, and the words you use in your website content should be similar, or the same, as the keywords you use on Facebook, Twitter or your blog).

3. Choose your social media tools wisely

There are thousands of social networks and you can’t use them all, so choose 2 or 3 and use them really well.  When deciding which tools to use, consider which tools your target audience is most likely to use, which tools best reflect your offering and which tools you will have fun incorporating into your online strategy.

4. Start small and grow

Identify one area of business and run a pilot.  Doing so will allow you to test the waters in a manageable way, allowing you to prove concepts and build.

5. Social media education

Education should be an ongoing consideration and component of your social media plan.  Educate your staff and executives as to what social media is, how to use it effectively from a business perspective and make sure to keep abreast of new tools and methods.

6. Make it measurable

What you can’t measure, you can’t manage.  Take time to consider what are your goals for implementing social media, quantify these and determine which tools you will use to track effectiveness.  There’s a wide array of social media measurement tools out there and many of them are free – use them!

7. Create a social media policy

This is important.  Every employee should know what is expected of them, what to post, and what not to post when using social media on behalf of the organisation.  Creating policies that build best practices helps ensure that everyone is on the same page.

8. Content is key

When it comes to social media you need to remember that it’s not about you but, instead, about your audience, and this is especially true for content.  Make sure that your content adds value for your audience, doesn’t overtly sell and makes people want to share it with their networks too.

9. Listen

Social media listening should be ongoing from day one.  Listen for mentions (and respond!), keep an eye on competitors, peers and luminaries.

Here at Out-Smarts, one of our core services is working with clients to build and implement effective social media strategies.  You know you need one, so contact us now!