Small Businesses, and Non-profits, too, especially in the early stages, often plunge into marketing fast and furious only to give up almost as quickly.
I hear it all the time when someone learns I make a living in Social Media Marketing: “Yeah, I opened a Twitter, and Facebook account, but that’s all I did!” they say with a chuckle. Sad. Not to mention that as professionals, LinkedIn should be in the mix. And YouTube?
Here is a list from my experience with small businesses and non-profits of why they give up …and why they shouldn’t:
1. Lack of strategy for choosing platforms. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that any social media marketing is better than none. Do you really want to waste your time on a platform that will least likely produce for you? If your customers don’t read newspapers, would it make sense for you to invest in newspaper adds? Ask your customers what platforms they use AND ask the advice of a trusted social media business marketing consultant as to which platforms are best for your type of business.
2. Lack of a mission statement. Even the smallest of businesses or non-profits must have a mission statement to keep messaging on track. If you and your staff are not on the same plate as to your goals, then your audience won’t understand you either since your messaging won’t be consistent or meaningful. Create a mission statement, post it prominently on your wall and have everyone in your business memorize it!
3. Lack of individual strategies. Instead of determining what would work best for your niche, you start copying your competition’s strategies. Did you do that to create your business? Sure, some of what they do may apply for your business, but just duplicating their methods is just an exercise in futility. What if they are wrong? What if you don’t share demographics? What if what is working for them is simply not right for your business? How will you stand apart from them if you are just like them? Just because they have a huge number of followers doesn’t necessarily mean those followers are productive. Don’t skip over market research and don’t translate quantity into quality.
4. Lack of understanding your own business. Just because you have opened your doors successfully does not necessarily mean you have an understanding of how you have succeeded to this point! Many a small business has failed due to a lack of strategy and post analysis, and the same goes for social media or any kind of marketing.
5. Lack of professional face. Since Facebook went to Timeline, there are still too many SMBs and NPOs who have not updated their page. No cover photo, a blurry snapshot of a logo partially covered by a profile picture is sloppy, and your customers will perceive that as a reflection of your business. And if you have a long and wide logo, having only the center of it show up in your profile photo is just plain lazy. A small investment with a graphics business can make all the difference in the world for that most important first impression. Many consumers get their first impression of a business on social media. And the same goes for Twitter and LinkedIn. A cropped and blurry casual headshot or a squeezed up logo is not professional. Would you do that in a print ad?
6. Lack of interesting content. If you expect to attract followers, and you expect to keep the ones you get, post good content. Posting just to post is not a strategy. Be interesting, be consistent, and be on message. Pay attention to what people comment on, or like, or retweet, or reply to. Why wouldn’t you?
7. Lack of experience in your marketing personnel. You may not be able to afford a full time marketing person, but the era of hiring a teen who knows how to “do” social media is over. Get someone with real experience in social media marketing for business. Hire an independent contractor on a part time basis to keep it affordable, but this is an investment you must make or you are wasting resources.
8. Lack of response to your audience. There it sits… a comment or question or complaint and no one from your business sees it or responds to it. If you are relying completely on scheduling posts, that means you are not engaging. Having only a presence on social media is not social. If you want to exhibit a presence, BE present. Your followers are often more savvy in social media than you are, and they notice a lack of response and engagement. Not to mention your stats and rankings will reflect that. Yes, you should use a social media management tool, but those same tools are there to help you track the interaction that occurs to help make sure you don’t miss any engagement. Remember, that is why you are on social media, to interact with potential and existing customers to grow your repeat and referral business!
9. Lack of sincerity and engagement. Trying to be slick or smooth will work as well as a sleezy car salesman approach. Again, social media is about relationships, not one-night-stands. Be real, be sincere, care about your followers. And respond to what others are posting. A social media narcissist is quickly dismissed. If you only focus on posting, you will be perceived as not caring. Spend at least one day a week just commenting, retweeting, sharing, liking, etc. without initiating anything! You’ll quickly see more positive responses to your account. And for God’s sake, invest in a SmartPhone! You have no idea how much better your engagement and marketing capabilities will be until you get into the world of SmartPhone and Tablet technology.
10. Lack of patience. The most common reason for quitting I see is in the expectation of instant results. Social Media is a long term investment, and as such, a more valuable one. We live in an instant gratification society and forget the simple premise that relationships are built, not bought. When’s the last time you had a long term relationship with anyone that resulted from a one time encounter? Long term and meaningful relationships are built over time.
That is social media.