As a small-business owner, you know marketing is critical to your business’s success. And if you’ve been in business for more than a few years, you know today’s marketing tools look vastly different than they did only a decade ago.
To build customer loyalty and brand awareness today, you’ve got to build a social media presence. The good news is that 74% of adults use social networking sites — that’s a lot of potential customers. The bad news is that many companies and organizations, including your competitors, are already vying for their attention.
Building a successful social media presence sounds intimidating — but for your business’s sake, don’t shy away from it. Here are the five social media myths that keep many small-business owners from getting started, and our advice for how to overcome them.
Myth: Creating a social media presence is too expensive.
Fact: Maintaining your social media takes resources.
It’s free to set up a social media account, but maintaining it takes time and resources. You can’t put up a new post and expect fans to flock to your page. Someone needs to generate good content, grow a follower base, and form a social ad campaign. Those resources, however, can create big returns — in increased sales and improved customer satisfaction — when you use them strategically.
Implementation Tip: Research and analysis is a necessary first step for any successful social media account. Start by establishing specific goals and targets and identifying key performance indicators.
Myth: You need to hire a social media expert.
Fact: You can do it yourself — if you’re willing to put the time in.
Not only is it doable for your small business to tackle social media without a specific social media professional on staff, but it’s affordable and achievable as a team. Mastering a few social media expert tips, like automating posts and using analytic tools to capture user data, will get you on your way to becoming your own social media expert.
Implementation Tip: Divide and conquer social media tasks with your employees — just make sure responsibilities are clearly communicated and delineated.
Myth: You need to maintain an account on every available platform.
Fact: Some platforms are more effective than others.
Try to maintain active profiles on every social media platform and you’ll be stretching yourself too thin. Instead, know your client demographics and target them appropriately. Once you know your clients, you’ll know where to focus your social media efforts. For example, women use Pinterest, millennials use Instagram, and well-educated adults use Facebook. You should also use the best platform for your content: Instagram is best-suited for pictures, Twitter for short 140-character sentences, and LinkedIn to share your portfolio.
Implementation Tip: Pew Research Center maintains a current list of social media statistics that you should review regularly to determine where your audience spends the most time.
Myth: You have to post on social media all the time.
Fact: Quality is more important that quantity.
When it comes to social media, you need to focus on quality over quantity. Post too much and you’ll drive away customers who will simply ignore (or worse: unfollow) if you start overwhelming their feeds with useless content. Know your audience and your platform to determine how often you should share content. Twitter users, for example, expect multiple posts a day, while Facebook users will balk at more than two.
Implementation Tip: Share only information that is interesting, relevant, and valuable to your customers to get the most engagement.
Myth: It’s ok to ignore negative comments on your social media sites.
Fact: Your customers notice when you ignore them — and they don’t like it.
Social media goes well beyond periodically updating an account. A large part of an effective social media presence is interacting with others. As a customer-facing business, expect to get your share of public feedback about your company. While it may be tempting to ignore the negative comments, it will actually damage your company’s reputation with customers if you avoid responding to a comment, either positive or negative.
Implementation Tip: Most of your social media followers aren’t going to comment, but they will read the comments of others and study how you respond. With this in mind, always respond quickly, politely, and briefly, and avoid blaming the commenter for any problems they bring up.
Social media will take your time and money — but done right, you’ll create an authentic community presence of loyal customers and potential customers.
Need to reevaluate your social media plan? Contact Frontier on Twitter with your questions.