Small businesses are all aware of the power of Social Media, usually want to play, and mostly get it wrong. Following are the 11 Mistakes I have most often seen over the last few years. This is despite facebook being around since 2004, Twitter since 2006, and the others mostly 5 or 6 years, so you can’t really say this stuff is new anymore.
The application of Digital technology to marketing is the greatest innovation since Guttenberg put ink to paper. It offers small businesses the opportunity to be something other than bound by geographic boundaries and the economics of scale.
- You have no plan.
The last thing you want to do is overlook the first thing you should do every time you allocate some of your scarcest resources. Identify your target audience, do your research, determine your objectives, develop your content, and make your choices of the tools best suited. Then act accordingly, monitor results and improve, rinse and repeat.
- You are working solo.
Solo can be done but is really hard work. I picked up a typo in a mates newsletter a week or so ago, pointed out the page in an email, and he still could not see it. Working solo, you often miss what is right in front of you, and there are only so many things you can do yourself, so pick the ones you can do well, and are necessary, and ignore or outsource the rest.
- You think you are a writer
We are all taught to write at school, that does not make us writers. Of course, you’re not trying to be Hemingway, but quality writing makes a huge difference to the results, even in 140 characters.
- You fail to interest your audience.
Pretty obvious. We have so much blasting at us that we get little chance to impress, a fleeting second at best. Breaking through the mass of communication is critical. Best exercise I usually recommend is to haunt the shelves of your local newsagent for a while, read the headlines of the magazines. Those people know how to attract and interest an audience.
- You’re Not Being Yourself.
It is easier to outsource the blog posts and social media updates, but I recommend that you at the very least read and edit every post that goes out under your name. Authenticity is now almost a cliché, but that is why it is right. Unless you are Barak Obama, people will get annoyed that you are not writing the posts that are under your name. Social media is as much about opinions as they are facts, tell people what you think, recognising not all will agree, and perhaps even better some will dislike you and not come back, leaving a tighter group of advocates. Being a fake, bland, and opinion-less is a quick way to lose credibility and audience.
- You not consistent.
Be regular and predictable in the frequency and length of post, and keep the same style. To some extent this is inconsistent with the “be interesting” advice above, but it is a useful to be maintain the same persona. You would have trouble with a friend if they behaved inconsistently, sometimes late, sometimes early, often unpredictable and erratic. Once or twice can be fun, all the time is tiresome. Same in social media.
- You are careless.
Written communication is far more informal than it was in the past, but that is no excuse for typos, grammatical mistakes, and confusing messages. Some colloquialism and slang is OK, but a little goes a long way.
- You are not visual.
Human beings are visual animals, and visual is becoming easier by the day, so use it. There are many alternatives, stock images, your own shots, video, Instagram, vine, YouTube, and all the rest. Use it to make a point, stand out, and engage.
- You are not tracking the numbers.
This is the last, and most stupid of all, as well as being disturbingly common. The huge benefit of digital marketing is that suddenly, your efforts can be tracked, a genuine calculation of return can be made, suddenly we get to find out which half of our communication budget was being wasted before we had the numbers. if that is not enough, the free analytics are pretty comprehensive, more than most small businesses can easily use.