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How You’re Killing Your Social Media Success

If you’re like most small business owners, social media marketing is an essential part of your day (it really needs to be). But, could you be killing your social media success without even realizing it? Are you making one of these all-too-common social media marketing mistakes?

  1. Not setting goals. Because they know it’s important, many small business owners jump in to social media without considering their goals (beyond likes and retweets). Do you want to drive traffic to your website or customers to your store? Do you want to build brand awareness or introduce a new product? Do you want to hone an image as an expert in your field or find out what your customers want from you? Social media can do all of these things, but you must choose which goals are most important and set measurable benchmarks for success.
  2. Not integrating social media with your overall marketing strategy. Estimates vary, but most studies agree that most small businesses don’t have an integrated social media plan. It’s crucial to consider how your social media strategy will enhance your overall marketing efforts. For instance, you might use a combination of social media, online advertising and search engine marketing to drive customers to your business website.
  3. Not measuring results (or measuring the wrong results). Measuring social media ROI is tough because the tools that exist tend to be either rudimentary or enterprise-focused. No wonder, according to the recently released CMO Survey, 49 percent of CMOs report not being able to quantify whether social media has made a difference for their companies. Using “vanity stats” such as likes and retweets is not a reliable measure. Instead, figure out how to measure results based on your goals. For instance, if your social media goal is to drive website traffic, use Google Analytics to see which social sites refer the most traffic to you. If you want to drive foot traffic to your location, use coupon codes or ask customers how they heard about you to gauge which social channels accomplish that.
  4. Spreading yourself too thin. You don’t need to be on every social media channel—just the ones that get results. Better to have a strong presence on one or two social sites than a weak showing on all of them. Figure out where your target market spends the most time and focus there. Measuring results will show you which channels are most valuable and where to pull back. (Though be sure to reserve your business name on all the major social platforms.)
  5. Not engaging with fans and followers. Do your social media posts and tweets sound more like ads than conversations? Encourage users to interact with you on social media—and respond when they do. Rapid response is especially important when customers share complaints. More than seven in 10 consumers say if they receive a quick response on social media, they’d be likely to recommend that brand to others.
  6. Posting inconsistently. Ever visited a business’s Facebook Page that started off strong, then petered out to nothing after a few months? It makes you question the business’s success—after all, if the entrepreneurs can’t even maintain a Facebook Page, where else are they dropping the ball? Consistency matters more than quantity; better to post on Facebook twice a week regularly than to try to post five times a day and fall behind. Develop a schedule and stick with it so customers know what to expect.
  7. Not using visuals. Social media is becoming more visual, for good reason: Posts with visuals receive 94 percent more visits than those without, according to Wishpond. And since nearly half of Internet users share photos or videos they find online, images can expand your reach exponentially.
  8. Not keeping up with social media trends. I know, I know: You’re crazy busy, but you must make time to stay in touch or you could end up ignoring valuable channels like Pinterest (which drives twice the website referral traffic of Twitter, LinkedIn and Google + combined, according to Shareaholic). Social Media Today and Social Media Examiner are two of my favorite sources for social media news and trends. Also check out each social network’s FAQs and tutorials.
Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky

Contributor at Fundera
Rieva Lesonsky is a small business contributor for Fundera and CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company. She has spent 30+ years covering, consulting and speaking to small businesses owners and entrepreneurs.
Rieva Lesonsky