Running a personal social media account might seem like a breeze, so when it comes to doing the same for their businesses, many business owners approach the exercise with the same attitude. Beginners often end up running into challenges at the start which derail their social media marketing strategies. Here are some of the most common mistakes, and how to avoid them;
Where to start
When starting out, one of the common mistakes one is warned to avoid is the idea of trying out everything at once. Trying out every content format and every marketing plan available will likely lead to failure. One is advised to target one site and grow from there, especially given the fact that many social media sites are interconnected. The challenge that remains is just where to start. Every social media site has its followers, and most people have accounts on the major sites anyway, so how does one target their audience? The decision of which channel to base one’s strategy on when starting depends on the customer, and the goods or services one is selling. Look at the customer demographic and where they are likely to spend the most of their time. Also, find the right channel that will paint the business’ goods and services in the best light. For instance, the fashion or food industry might do well with an Instagram account to begin with.
Regardless of the size of the business, the ability to measure returns in marketing, especially with regards to investment, is important. With useful metrics, one will be able to determine what to concentrate on, what works and what does not. Unlike other more established marketing channels, one might be at a loss on how to determine exactly what they are getting when they invest in social media marketing. Do not just concentrate on followers and fans. There are several ways through which one can measure the impact of tweets, Facebook statuses or an Instagram post. Some of these tracking tools are provided by the social media accounts themselves while others are third party, free, and relatively easy to use.
Natural or paid
Just like on search engines, most social media sites will offer their customers two options, natural posts and paid advertising. The beginner will likely want to have the most impact on the site they choose, and might be left wondering what the best option is between the two. The truth is that there is no single better way, and both are sometimes equally important when looking to reach one’s target audience. With a limited budget, start concentrate on going natural, and add the occasional paid ad. A combination of the two will work perfectly for most businesses.
Just like in blogging, a social media strategy sometimes requires collaboration with influencers or the top industry movers for one to get noticed. This is normally a chicken egg situation for beginners, especially those running small and niche businesses. Their businesses are small, and therefore do not have enough traction to catch the attention of the right people. Since they cannot catch the attention of the right people, their businesses will likely remain small. Working with influencers is an attractive prospect because they have a huge social media following, composed mainly of potential customers. Secondly, they are trusted by many, and being associated with them brings the same trust to one’s business. To catch the attention of influencers, one can go one of two ways;
- Pay them for a chance to participate in one’s strategy
- Work hard and engage with them to get their attention
Like many other social media strategies, start small; go for the local influencers and players. Paying is straightforward, but engaging with them requires much more work, like commenting on their posts, liking their photos, sharing their content or reposting their videos. Another clever strategy is to find out who is behind the social media account and attempt to build a personal relationship with them.
Building a social media following is the easy part. It is the conversion of these followers, viewers, friends and likers into customers that is a problem for many, especially at the beginner stage. Experts often tell beginners not to think about monetization too early into their campaigns, but this has to come sometime. How exactly, then, does one do it? First, remember that monetization and selling is related to the quality of the content, so this should not necessarily be a corner one turns suddenly and starts selling. Also, being on social media means engaging with customers, rather than simply pushing information their way. Most importantly, though, have a way for them to reach the company website and make a purchase from the social media site or post.
With these tips, overcoming social media’s most common challenges will be easy for beginners.