A small business may not have the time, resources, or the inclination to invest in social media like bigger businesses do. Manta, which services small businesses in the U.S., surveyed a number of them to understand their engagement with social media and found that 50% had increased their efforts on social media while 55% used social media to generate leads.
Despite this investment, 60% of these companies reported that they did not gain from their social media engagement. There are certainly a lot of general dos and don’ts in social media marketing that should be kept in mind. Apart from the fact that social media is not suitable for every small or big business, we should also understand there are a number of pain points in social media that restrict small businesses from taking advantage of it fully.
Time and Resources
Small businesses often have a small (or non-existent) separate budget for social media. Some companies hire interns and social media agencies to manage their social media engagements, but then they leave it at that. They would rather concentrate on sales and operations and, in the process, social media–which is a mix of marketing and public relations–goes for a toss.
Small businesses should never completely give up the reins to their social media campaign to an outside agency because outsiders will never fully understand the business as you do. After you engage a social media agency to handle your social media campaign, keep them up to date with news, events, and send them photos connected to your business regularly. If you don’t have a professional to help you with your social media campaign, set aside an hour at the end of every week, to make a list of posts for the coming week. Those who are having trouble managing content can get help from a service such as HubSpot or TweetDeck.
Offering lasting value to your readers and customers can be a difficult proposition, considering that, as a small business, you cannot spare a lot of resources. What good is a social media campaign if it cannot compel people to keep coming back for more? Wasted eyeballs are a serious problem. Sure, a lot of people visit Twitter to read the odd quote, but how many of them stick around? If you are able to attract people to your business via a social media campaign but do not offer them any lasting value, they will become cynical about your business and leave. Later, it will almost be impossible to get them back on board, even if you improve your content.
One of the best ways to keep people interested is by offering curated content. Incidentally, content curation is also a pain point in social media campaigns. Content can quickly get old and has to be refreshed regularly. You can quickly run out of ideas on what to post, more so because social media is not your specialty. In that case, it is better to use content curation tools such as the ones mentioned below:
Buffer – This is an easy-to-use application that allows users to schedule posts on a variety of social networking websites. The application offers two types of accounts: A basic account which is free to use and an Awesome account which is a paid one.
DrumUp – This is a relatively new application, DrumUp can help reduce the amount of time spent on social media management by a significant percentage. The tool discovers relevant content and schedules it for posting on Facebook and Twitter pages. Users can also review and edit the posts before they are posted. DrumUp is currently available free of charge.
HootSuite – This popular tool is widely used by businesses small and large to manage their social media accounts. You can easily schedule posts for automatic posting on your social media profiles. If the number of social profiles is five or less, HootSuite is free to use. However, if you want to add more than five social media profiles, you will have to spend a little.
Lack of knowledge about how to use social media effectively is also an important pain point. You may be a master in your business, but know that social media is another game altogether. Luckily, this is the easiest of all pain points to resolve.
There are now umpteen resources on the internet about social media marketing applicable to novices going all the way to high-end resources for the experts. You can also attend training courses or listen to knowledgeable speakers on certain concepts and increase your understanding of the fieldwork. You should also know about the different social media tools available and what they do. Choosing the right social media tool is important because certain tools, even if not so well known as others, may be more suitable for your business.
Other important pain points in social media are organization of digital data and files, keeping up with the latest developments, privacy and identity protection, profile and reputation management and more.