Danielle St. Cyr
The Good & Bad of Social Media for SMB
Social media has become essential for every business, no matter how small, and thinking you are too small for social will cause you to lose out on valuable connections, customer insights, and leads. It's an extremely low-cost way to grow a community around your brand, and build trust with new and existing customers. But - there's always a but - there are some pitfalls that you need to avoid. If done incorrectly, social media can do more harm than good, and can cost you in more than money.
Positives of Social Media
Cost-effective marketing: Social media is a relatively low-cost marketing channel, allowing small businesses to reach a large audience without breaking the bank. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn provide you with the ability to create a presence, connect with customers, and promote your products or services.
Building a community: Social media platforms are great for building a community around your brand. By creating engaging content and interacting with your followers, you can establish a loyal customer base and build relationships with your target audience.
Targeting specific audiences: Social media platforms offer a wide range of targeting options, allowing you to reach specific audiences based on demographics, interests, behaviors and more. This allows you to reach your target audience more effectively, and increase their chances of converting leads into sales.
Improving customer service: Social media platforms can also be used to improve customer service and support. By monitoring social media platforms, you can quickly respond to customer inquiries, complaints, and feedback in a timely and efficient manner.
Increase brand awareness and credibility: By consistently creating and sharing valuable content and interacting with your audience, you can increase your brand's visibility and credibility. Social media can help to establish your business as an authority in your industry and create trust with your target audience.
Measure and analyze performance: Social media metrics can provide valuable insights into how your business's content is resonating with its audience, which can help to improve the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and strategy.
Negatives of Social Media
Lack of focus and consistency: Social media can be a great way to reach and engage with your target audience, but it can also be time-consuming and overwhelming. Without a clear strategy in place, it's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities of posting and responding to comments, without making meaningful connections with your audience. To avoid this pitfall, it's important to set clear goals for your social media presence and to create a content calendar that ensures consistency and focus in your social media activity.
Ignoring negative feedback or comments: Social media is a two-way conversation, and as a small business owner, it's important to be prepared to handle negative feedback or comments. Ignoring negative comments or responding defensively can damage your reputation and create negative sentiment among your followers. Instead, it's important to address negative feedback in a professional and empathetic manner, and to use it as an opportunity to improve your business.
Failing to measure and analyze your performance: Social media metrics can provide valuable insights into how your content is resonating with your audience, but it's important to focus on the metrics that matter. Without measuring and analyzing your performance, it's difficult to know which tactics are working and which are not. It's important to track your engagement and conversion rates, as well as other metrics that are relevant to your business, such as website traffic or email sign-ups.
Not being active enough: Inactive social media accounts can send the wrong message to potential customers, showing that you are not interested in engaging with them. Consistency is key, so you should aim to post regularly and engage with your audience to build relationships and drive engagement.
Not using visuals and multimedia: Social media is a highly visual medium, and not using visuals and multimedia can make it difficult to stand out and capture the attention of potential customers. Use videos, audio, and visual tools such as carousels to vary the format of your posting.
Not staying up-to-date with the latest trends and features: Social media platforms are constantly evolving, so not staying up-to-date with the latest features and trends can put you at a disadvantage. That doesn't mean following trends that don't make sense for your business, but you should be aware of how platforms are changing and new options for posting.
Being too salesy: No one likes a used car salesman. Overly promotional content can turn off potential customers, so you should aim to create valuable and engaging content that stands on its own. A good rule of thumb is 80% valuable vendor-neutral content, 20% sales content.
Having active, responsive, and visually appealing social media can make the difference for your SMB (check out our Importance of Social Media infographic for some interesting statistics). You can precisely target new customers, build brand recognition and a community of advocates, and get valuable leads. It's best to first do a bit of research to figure out where your target audience is on social media - it doesn't make much sense to put lots of time into slick LinkedIn posts if your customers are primarily on Facebook or Instagram! Once you've narrowed that down, be intentional with your posting. Have a content plan and calendar, so no one is scrambling to post something (anything!!) at the end of the day. There are lots of tools, like HelloWoofy, Later, and Hootsuite, that make that simple. Find your unique voice - and social media can be an incredible tool to reach your SMB goals!