Small Business Challenge vs. Social Network
If you’ve ever had to launch a business profile on a new social network, you know its a bit nerve-wracking.
You want to make sure everything gets set up right. Profiles are complete. Images are sized appropriately. You also need to know if your branding is on par with your messaging and products.
We all know that the advantages of social media can be vast. However, the cons can sometimes outweigh the pros, depending on the social network, your target audience, and tons of other things.
So how do you know what to look out for before you make a new social media profile live?
Well, that’s what this post is all about. I’ll go over some general things that apply to any social network and also delve into a few things that are a bit more specific. I’ll also add a dash of research into the mix!
New Social Media Sites
Before we get started, there are a
bazillion few standard social media misconceptions that I want to point out.
First, the uses of social media for business get skewed when many first start their social marketing campaigns IF they don’t do their research on the specific social network that’s getting launched.
In other words, there’s a stereotype about social media marketing being “easy.”
- You just post stuff and it gets our name out there, right?
- You have to “like” and share a lot of things every day?
- Our company is well known so we shouldn’t have a problem getting followers.
- I have no doubt that our content will go viral! We just have to ramp up our social media!
The general misconception: people confuse personal promotion strategy with business promotion strategy.
Ultimately, social media challenges faced by small businesses are relatively easy to avoid if the person running the social profile(s) has:
- An understanding of the specific social media platform (not all social networks are created equal!)
- Knowledge of the social network’s context (you don’t discuss, reply, and post the same way on each network!)
- A solid social marketing campaign (takes a bit of research, planning, time and creation to find direction)
- A distribution plan (figure out which tools to use for scheduling future posts)
- An organized “response plan” (who’s responsible for the DAILY monitoring/replies for each profile?)
Now keep in mind that launching a new social media profile will be rocky at first. It’s pretty much unavoidable. However, over time, you’ll get things situated and organized enough to where they’ll be a flow. (If you stick to it.)
So before you launch your new social media profile, consider the below eight things to help get you more organized and ready for a smooth(er) transition!
8 Important Social Network Considerations (Before You Launch)
1. Consider market research challenges
What do you do when you’re out of creative ideas and need to come up with new content ASAP?
What I’ve noticed is that many tend to “default” to what they think an audience wants (or convince themselves they know without doing ANY research.)
Yeah, right at the beginning, “research” seems pointless because you have a hard time knowing what should be your focal points (KPIs).
The trick is to pick 2-3 KPIs and then review them again in a month, three months, etc. When you start tracking specific metrics over time, you’ll notice shifts and trends.
What do you do with the data?
Note the shifts, see what caused them (good or bad), and either slightly adjust, nix or repeat to see if your finding was right. P.S. You’ll be surprised at how tracking and testing evolve as you move forward.
The takeaway: never assume what an audience wants! Research and test, instead. Here’s an excellent place to start when it comes to conversion rate optimization.
2. Consider if you have enough creative social media content to share
How do you know when you have enough material to share on social media? (HINT: by utilizing content calendars and other social media strategies)
Create a content marketing plan for each social network. Individually!
How else will you be able to see if everything flows and your message is on point? Not by winging it!
The takeaway: You have the content, now distribute it in a way that makes sense and at the same time, gets you closer to a social media goal.
3. One of the most significant small business challenges of using social media → posting consistently
How do you plan to keep posts consistent and also scheduled (to post) in advance?
Use a social media management tool like Buffer, Hootsuite or MeetEdgar! (It’s worth it!)
The takeaway: Don’t hesitate on using social media management tools to help you streamline and automate your content. Apps/Tools like the ones mentioned above free up time for marketers (and small businesses) so we can focus on more pressing tasks.
4. Social media challenges faced by managers
What’s your game plan when last-minute changes NEED to happen with already scheduled posts or something needs to be fixed that has already posted?
Know who will coordinate social media in these situations:
- Social Media PR issues (have a crisis/response plan!)
- Correcting already scheduled content (for damage control, etc.)
- Correcting already posted content (editing or deleting posts)
- Adding new content to the mix after you already have things scheduled (shouldn’t happen often)
- Who will monitor social media in general (your go-to person)
- Who will cover social monitoring when your go-to person is out sick? (important!)
The takeaway: Keeping everyone on the same page when it comes to social media is rough! However, it’s not impossible, and if communication lines remain open (information silos are crap), less confusion ensues = happy customers and staff!
5. Consider how to maximize your social media influence further
(It might seem like I’m jumping ahead on this one, but bear with me.)
Once you have a social media plan in place, how do you plan to better leverage your audience and boost engagement?
There are tons of ways to do this, and one of the more popular things is to check what your competitors are doing on their profiles. However, if you choose this route, check 2+ profiles and not just one. The whole point is to see if you can spot any trends amongst your competitors. If you do, how can you also share similar articles by adding a twist!
If you already do the competitor trendspotting thing, here are some additional tips on other inbound marketing strategies.
The takeaway: There are more than enough techniques to help you boost engagement, etc. The trick to try multiple strategies (over time) and see which ones work best for your business.
6. Consider your relationship marketing through social media strategy
Do you have more than one person to help with social media monitoring?
Staffing is an important consideration and one that often gets “ignored” by small businesses when it comes to social media. To add, it doesn’t seem like businesses purposely ignore ensuring that they have enough people to monitor their social networks. However, it seems that the lack of urgency might stem from a groupthink perception when it comes to social media in general. (Not going to include links, but if you’re interested, google something along the lines of “social media groupthink business”).
What I can tell you from my past social media marketing experience is that social is not “hit-or-miss.” If you lack the workforce to monitor your social channels and you don’t respond to inquiries fast, or often enough, then you get judged. By your audience!
The takeaway: Don’t dismiss the power of social media when you have a profile (or 5) that represents your brand! Consistency, how often you reply, interact, and engage with your audience matters! It’s also a determining factor in how successful your social media marketing campaigns may turn out.
7. Consider social network challenges
One of the essential questions to ask before launching a social media profile: Are you on the right social network(s) for your business?
It’s true! If you choose the wrong social network(s) for marketing your business and you spend a lot of time trying to engage to no avail…there are usually a few things wrong:
- Content (marketing strategy) might be a bit off
- Content might be right, but if you don’t follow the rules or “context” of the social network, it’s a lose-lose
- If the above two things are corrected, and you’re still not seeing improvement, then you might be on the wrong social network entirely
It happens! A. Lot.
To help avoid this, do additional research into your client/customer demographics/interests and then check which social networks might be best. Here is a post on choosing the right network.
The takeaway: Not every social network is created equal! Each network caters to specific demographics and interests. Also, DO NOT assume that you understand a social network (for business) because it’s a lot different when determining if its right from a branding and marketing perspective vs. what you’ve experienced based on personal use.
8. Consider the pros and cons of each social network platform
Have you used the social network before? If not, have you researched its functionalities, pros, cons, the context, the primary demographic of its users, etc.?
Another huge social media challenge for small businesses is that sometimes the person who manages social media isn’t familiar with the channel or its functionalities.
On the other hand, sometimes the owner buys into a social network based on word-of-mouth and sets up a profile without any additional thought.
Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes these situations work out great. However, with more and more social networks launching and with an ever-increasing amount of options than ever before, social media marketing is getting complex!
The takeaway: Before hitting publish on your new social media profile, do additional research on the social network and get to know it like the back of your hand. Sure you won’t figure everything out right away, but you can save yourself a lot of grief by understanding the options that are out there and determining which ones will work best for your business vs. finding out after you’ve already launched.
That’s All for Now!
So there you have it, eight things to consider before starting your new social media profile(s), a few takeaways, tips, and lessons learned based on tried and true actions (from yours truly)! If you’re looking for more social media optimization tips, check out these posts on some of the benefits of social marketing and common social media marketing mistakes.
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