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.
More importantly, when first delving into social media marketing (for a business), it might seem overwhelming and a bit pointless. Sometimes, there appears to be a lingering thought/question after starting — “Now what?!”
Hang in there though!
Yes, that feeling can be troublesome. However, if that feeling lingers for months on end to no resolve and you don’t see any results, it could mean that you have a bigger problem on your hands.
What’s the problem?
Well, if you don’t do any market AND competitor research before you begin, you’ll be directionless.
However, once you do the market research, you’ll have a better idea on the best social media network for your business vs. signing up for them all and throwing caution to the wind. Plus, after doing some competitor research, you’ll know what types of things they share and can then build your own content off of that.
Social media marketing isn’t easy!
Some common social media marketing misconceptions:
- You just post stuff and it gets our name out there
- 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 engagement on social media!
I think these misconceptions stem from people confusing personal promotion strategy with business promotion strategy. Like, they run a business’s social media like they would on their personal social media profiles.
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 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 to 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. Do you have enough 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. Will you be able to post 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. Do you know which social media marketing challenges are most common?
What’s your game plan when last-minute changes NEED to happen with posts that are already scheduled to go out?
Ultimately, you can save yourself a lot of time by having set processes in place and know who will coordinate social media in certain types of 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: By keeping everyone on the same page with a clear path when it comes to social media management is super helpful! Plus, if communication lines remain open and everyone knows their role, less confusion ensues = happier customers and staff!
5. Consider how to maximize your social media influence
Once you have a social media processes and a marketing plan in place, how do you plan to better leverage your audience and boost engagement?
There are many ways to do this. One of the more popular things is to check what your competitors are doing on their social media profiles and take note.
If you choose to take the above route, make sure to review more than 2+ competitor profiles and not just one. The whole point is to see if you can spot any trends among them and then figure out how you can set your business apart.
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. Who will help to keep social media campaigns going?
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.
On a side note, from my experience, it doesn’t seem like businesses purposely ignore ensuring that they have the right people monitoring their social networks. However, it does seem like there is a lack of urgency because there are usally more pressing issues and budget restrictions that take precedence. Which there should be!
Keep in mind that social media marketing is there to stem additional business and to give your company an online presence. So instead of beating yourself up, be realistic and know that if you can’t keep up with what you currently have going, then maybe holding off on a new social media marketing campaign is best. Temporarily!
The takeaway: Don’t dismiss the power of social media when it comes to generating new business. It works (if done correctly)! However, if you don’t take the time to research, plan, come up with a campaign and then who will help to make it happen, hold off for a bit and get your other business processes in line.
7. Consider if you are on the correct social media network.
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
- The content might be right, but if you don’t follow the rules or “context” of individual social networks, 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
To help avoid this, do additional research on your ideal client/customer demographics/interests and then check which social networks are the best fit. 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. DO NOT assume that you understand a social network (for business) because it may be a lot different than you think vs. what you’ve experienced based on personal use. They are not one in the same!
8. Consider the pros and cons of each social media platform
Have you used the social network before? If not, what complaints have you heard from other businesses? What are some of the benefits?
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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