As a small business owner, you know that making time for marketing isn’t always easy. You also know if you don’t market continuously, you may not have a reason to unlock the office door in the morning. You will have run out of clients. Obviously, you need to find the right balance between time and money. Figuring out how to do it efficiently and profitably is a challenge, though.
Fortunately, social media provides many opportunities to reach a large number of potential customers, quickly and cheaply. But, using social media effectively comes with its own challenges. Here are five of the most common social media marketing challenges.
1. Connecting With Customers & Building Lasting Relationships
While using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram may seem impersonal. Yet, you need to express your messages to connect with your customers and keep yourself real. Just like when a customer walks in the door, you want to engage in a conversation that helps you build a relationship for life. How do you make a connection that can build a loyal relationship?
Various free products are available that can help you monitor your marketing. You’ll be able to put a comment or ad out there, see the reaction it gets, and respond to it quickly enough to create a bond with the people you’ve reached. Each product helps you to manage and optimize the time you need to interact with the people you’ve reached. You’ll be able to ask questions, help solve a problem or offer advice.
2. Developing a Social Media Marketing Plan
While the ability to connect with millions of social media users sounds like a dream-come-true, it is also overwhelming if you don’t plan a strategy and follow it. Each social media platform like Facebook, for example, has its own way of doing things, how much written content to include, how photos appear and how you should size each photo.
The first thing to do is understand the parameters of each platform and the format that works best. Rely on tools and programs to help you use one message, photo or ad efficiently across several platforms. You don’t have to do everything manually. But, you do need to do it strategically.
3. Keeping Up With the Latest Strategies
If you’ve been in business for a while—that’s code for, “I started this company before the internet existed”—you are likely overwhelmed trying to keep up with all the changes in technology and within each social media platform. And what worked last year may be useless now.
If what you’re doing is working, don’t change a thing. But, if you’re noticing a drop in the number of people you’ve reached or who are engaged with you, it may be time to look at spending a small amount of money to boost a Facebook post or promote a tweet. These things are inexpensive and can help you reach the right audience until you tweak your strategy to match the often-mysterious and fluid algorithms that operate behind the scenes.
4. Generating Quality Blogs, Emails & Articles
Writing content for social media is exhausting if you try to do it all by yourself. If copywriting and marketing aren’t your strengths, then moving forward without professional assistance can actually hurt your brand. In this situation, the best thing you can do is hire someone to help you.
It’s no longer an option to not use social media. Your competitors already are; they will put you out of business if you can’t keep up.
One social hack that helps when you’re working with a low budget is to just try being yourself. People love to see that you’re a real person with a real business who can really help them solve their problem. Talk about interesting things that happen in the office or how your product is made. Post a photo of the stray cat that wandered in one day and never left. You don’t need a lot of text for photo captions but you will get a lot of reaction in return. Consider working with an agency that can help you generate longer, higher quality pieces that you can add into your plan as time goes on.
5. Getting It All Out There
If people like what you put out there, they will share it, retweet it and save it. They will sign up to your email newsletter, follow your blog, and continue to interact with you in forums, groups and posts. The more people who see and share your information, the greater the chance that their friends and followers will see and share it, too.
The key is to get your message out in front of the people who are most likely to read it and share it. These people include everyone you know. You can also look to social media groups, forums and paid advertising to reach an even broader audience.
If you are stuck in your social media marketing efforts, know you aren’t alone. Getting social media right is a challenge for most small business owners. Also, know that there is help available to you—you need only ask for it.