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5 Social Media Mistakes You Are Making In Your Business & What To Do Instead
in 2012, I was sending my youngest off to kindergarten and getting ready to join the workforce, out of the home. I had taken a few years off from the traditional job scene to raise my kids but continued to keep active by working from home. This was fulfilling enough to keep me engaged, but I needed something more. Around this same time, my husband mentioned he had a client looking for someone with my skill set to help with their business. It was a great fit, and I quickly jumped into this much-needed transition.
A few months into my role, I was asked to start taking over their Facebook page and helping out with some marketing, a thought that, at the time, terrified me! I didn’t realize back then how much marketing experience I had gained from my previous experiences, nor did I realize how much social media experience I had acquired from running my own, small business. To me, the idea of managing a Facebook page for someone who relied on it for their business was terrifying! I have since learned, that this is the same feeling most business owners and agents have when confronted with the need to market themselves, sheer terror!
Quickly, I gained a fierce passion for marketing, especially using social media to connect with customers in ways I had never experienced. We were able to expand the brand through blogging partners, get customer feedback, find customer-generated content, and engage our fans, all quickly and easily. As I learned more and more about this process and was able to replicate it for many other businesses, I knew it was time to take the knowledge I had to market, and that’s how Ingrain Social Media was born.
Since then, I have gone on to teach social media at live speaking events, through my blog, YouTube, and more. Currently, I have a team of just under 30 real estate brokers that I have the privilege of working with one-on-one. Through them, I have observed first-hand the unique challenges that sole proprietors have in managing marketing for their business. It’s tough to be the end-all-be-all for your business, especially if you’re expected to draw on a skill that you feel is lacking or that requires you to do something that terrifies you.
What most people want to know when seeking information about social media is usually one, or a combination of the following:
1. How will this get me customers?
2. I’m not good at design, how do I create content?
3. What exactly will I talk about?
4. I’m already slammed with other business tasks, how will I find the time for marketing?
There are other questions too, but those four examples really lay at the root of the objections and concerns I have experienced time and again. You see, fear is a result of the unknown, of not having control. And, when we put ourselves out there to try something new, there are a lot of unknowns. Let me be the first to tell you, you don’t need to have all of the answers, but you do need to start.
However, a lot of people, I’ve learned, are over-thinkers. They naturally want their business to do well and be perceived well, so they over-think the whole marketing thing. And, in doing this, they set themselves up for disappointment and failure. What I hear a lot is, I tried that, and it doesn’t work. I don’t think I need to cite the multitude of studies or personal experiences that prove marketing does, in fact, work. It does… What people really need to understand is, something is ALWAYS better than nothing.
With that said, I am going to review the 5 biggest social media fails you’re likely making in your business and why you need to stop doing them in order to get the results you really want to see.
1. Not Setting Goals Before You Jump In
This is so very basic, yet most people skip right over this. How do you ever know where you want to end up if you have no end or goal in sight? You need to set goals to have a baseline to measure against, and they need to be tangible, realistic goals. If you are just starting out, don’t create fantasy goals, but rather create one or two large goals with mini subset goals that you can hit along the way to measure improvement. Here is an example-
By end-of-year, I will generate $5,000 more in revenue monthly through website sales by utilizing Instagram
Smaller, target goals-
1. I will set-up my Instagram by the end of the week, making sure to completely fill out all information and create a compelling bio with a call-to-action
2. I will spend 20 minutes a day putting together content that I can use including photos, videos and product shots that highlight our product in the best light
3. Every Monday at 8 am, I will schedule 5-7 Instagram posts for the week ahead using content I gathered the previous week
4. 20 minutes a day will be set-aside to interact and engage with other users on Instagram to generate interaction and network with other people
Pro Tip: Set large goals with smaller, more reasonable goals that you can sequentially hit to get you to your target
It isn’t until you start doing the little things that the bigger possibilities are realistic. You’ll see as you hit your smaller goals, your large goal will come into focus and become reality much more likely than if you just jumped in without a plan and a clear objective of where you’re going. For more, detailed instructions on setting social media goals, read my previous article How to Create Social Media Goals that Will Stick.
2. Not Being Consistent
The #1 reason I hear, “It doesn’t work” is because the person I am talking to isn’t being consistent with what they are doing. This does NOT mean you have to post on the exact same days each week, at the exact same time. But, it does mean you keep posting, even when it feels like you’re talking to yourself!
What I typically see, is people who jump-in, full-steam ahead and post, post, post… then, burnout! They just can’t sustain that level of action and they don’t see the results they want. So, they quit, cold turkey. What most people don’t realize is, everyone intuitively identifies this behavior and knows what is happening, so their natural response is to ignore it until it goes away. You want to be the person who doesn’t go away… Who can’t be ignored.
Consistency is important for a lot of reasons, not the least of them being predictability from followers and algorithmic systems. Without getting too technical, here’s what I’ve found in working with social media, consistency is the #1 factor in whether your efforts will succeed. You see, social media sites like Google, Instagram and Facebook use sophisticated computer algorithms to determine what content gets served to whom and when. Despite what some may believe, one-off viral posts are virtually non-existent. Rather, if you get the full story, most people have been posting content for months or years before they have one piece that captures a viral-level of attention. Had they not been consistently posting prior to this event, it’s unlikely they ever would have had that level of success.
So, the lesson here is to create a plan for consistency and stick with it. Do what is most reasonable for you, but make sure it’s something you can achieve.
Pro Tip: Use a scheduling app, such as Buffer, to schedule posts ahead of time. This will make it much easier to stay consistent and have content at the ready!
3. Posting Content That Doesn’t Matter… Like, at all
What the heck am I even talking about here? Well, have you seen a business or a service provider who posts photo after photo of their kids, their meals, or themselves (ahem, selfies!)?
Although, these can be OK in moderation, overdoing it will alienate the very people you want to attract. Here’s the deal, social media users are among the savviest consumers on the planet. They are typically younger, more in touch with the digital and online world, and have learned to pick up a very distinct intuition around what is posted in their feed. It’s important to note, that the majority of a person’s reaction to a post is so subconscious, that often they wouldn’t even know that they are reacting one way or another. ie. scrolling instead of “liking”.
I’ve found that people tend to lean towards this type of content for three reasons, 1. They know they need to post something, but they don’t have a plan, therefore they don’t know what else to share. 2. They haven’t learned how to schedule their content, so they post on a whim without thinking about the over-arching message of what they are sharing. 3. It is a common thought in marketing that you should be personable and share a lot of your personal life.
Although all of these reasons are valid, let’s be super honest here, overdoing it on any one thing is bad news for growing an authentic fan base and increasing your marketing efforts. Instead, make sure you have a direction and know where your social media is headed. Having solid goals will help you here, you can also check out 5 Types of Good Social Media Content, where I detail specific content types that you can use to rock your social media strategy.
4. Being Too Critical
If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, or you’ve read The Social Sell, you’ll know that I genuinely believe something is always better than nothing, always! For example,
Bad Content > No Content
Inconsistent Posting > No Posting
Poor Photos > No Photos
Bad Video Lighting > No Video
Poor Audio Quality > No Audio
Hopefully, you get the point…
But, here’s the thing… People get so caught up in perfection that they never actually execute. And that’s a bigger problem than all of the other problems you can have in business. If you have a great product, service or knowledge on a topic, the world needs to know, and you have a responsibility as a business owner to share that with people to grow your business.
Far too many people get hung up on the minuscule details that simply do not matter in the grand scheme of things. We all had to start somewhere, and most of the time it wasn’t pretty. That’s how you learn and you grow.
This goes hand-in-hand with micro-managing if you are lucky enough to have the assistance of another individual to help you with your social media marketing. This is a privilege, and although it’s OK to guide them and offer feedback, don’t micro-manage them to a point that very little or nothing gets done. Start somewhere, feel out the results, then make a shift if necessary.
5. Treating Social Media as a Sales Channel Instead of a Networking Platform
Too many amateurs get started in social media and treat the platforms as an infomercial. They push and push their products and services, never adding any value others or offering anything that holds people’s attention. Don’t be this person!
The quickest way to alienate potential followers on social media is to push your product as if you were handing out samples at Costco. Instead, you should be posting information, tips, or entertaining information that ties into what you do. (covered in detail in my previous article, mentioned in tip three, 5 Types of Good Social Media Content, where I detail specific content types that you can use to rock your social media strategy.)
To spark some inspiration, here are a few ideas-
Clothing, apparel, shoes, fashion
Posts to spark engagement:
- Style tips
- Fashion “hacks”
- Season trends
- Photos of your product put together as an outfit
Posts to spark engagement:
- Neighborhood video tours
- Information about neighborhoods/schools
- Housing market trends and data
- Tips to buy/sell a home
- Frequently asked questions
Posts to spark engagement:
- Videos of you performing the service you provide
- Before and after photos
- Tips to do your job (This is counterintuitive, but has a higher likelihood of leading people to hire you!)
- Video reviews
And on, and on, and on…
The bottom line on this one is offer something someone is looking for. The easiest way to do this is to Google the term HOW TO <INSERT PRODUCT OR SERVICE> and see what auto-fills. To find what people are looking to learn, answer the highly searched terms such as Who, What, How, When Where questions.
- How to clean carpet (Carpet cleaning service)
- How to sell a home (Real estate)
- How to dress for a Spring wedding (Fashion)
Do you see how easy that is?
Pro Tip: To find what questions need to be answered in your industry, Google the term HOW TO <INSERT PRODUCT OR SERVICE> and see what auto-fills
When people have questions, they go to the internet. Answering questions before they’re even asked is a surefire way to offer real value. Add value, and you win. Period.
It’s my hope that going beyond a simple list has offered you some insight into how people with the best intentions are often steered in the wrong direction on social media. If you keep trying and keep growing, you’ll do great, you just have to put in the work!
For more tips and information to help you in your social media journey, check out the blog.
Mandy Davis is the owner of Ingrain Social Media a boutique marketing agency in Bend, Oregon that specializes in digital marketing with an emphasis on social media marketing.