I wanted to share 5 social media pitfalls to avoid for small independent businesses, creatives and makers working from home and all those online companies of one, who have to do ALL the jobs themselves.
Social media can be a minefield at the best of times. It’s constantly changing, which means that you think you’ve cracked it and then they add some new option for you to try and get your head around.
You have to constantly try and keep yourself up to date which is why it’s increasingly hard for small businesses to find the actual time to do so. I mean, their ‘To Do’ lists must be off the scale! As a freelancer myself I get it, sometimes there’s just not enough hours in the day.
I’ve worked with local high street businesses as well as online businesses. I’ve come to realise that, more often than not, the first job to get bumped to the bottom of the ‘To Do’ will be social media. There have been too many who’ve told me that they don’t fully understand it or have no real interest in it ( they’re generally people of my age group or older). Therefore, their easiest option is to get their sons or daughters to do ‘that side of things’ for them. If that is you then you’re not alone, it is definitely more common that you think.
But what people don’t realise as there is a huge difference in how you run your personal social media platforms as one of the younger generation, and how you run social media platforms for a business.
In my time as a freelance social media consultant and manager I have notice some of the most common pitfalls people will fall into. Yet these can be easily avoided. Most issues will inevitably be around obvious time constraints put on small business owners. Companies of one literally do everything and just do not have enough hours in the day.
So, I thought I would help by sharing some common social media pitfalls that can be easily avoided.
5 Social Media Pitfalls to Avoid
Posting and then running away
This is incredibly common and will often be just due to lack of time. Photos may be ad hoc and rushed, or well thought out and scheduled. Once posted you think your social media job has finished and you move onto the next thing on your ‘To Do’ list.
When you hit publish on a post and disappear just waiting for the magic to happen, you will be sorely disappointed! It also shows the damn algorithm that your account is not as active as others and in theory it will be seen by less people. Stick around after posting even just for a short time in case there is any early interaction on your post.
Not answering a comment or message
If someone comments on your post relatively quickly and you either don’t see it or it gets ignored or left unanswered for a long time. Again this could simply be down to lack of time. However, the only thing a customer will devise from this is that you’re not fully active on your social media and learn that it’s pointless to comment. There in lies a huge problem when you are trying to keep your business visible online.
Answering any comments on your latest post quite quickly and possibly creating a mini conversation on there helps increase the post activity. This activity, if consistent over time, can be recognised by the dreaded algorithms and can help to keep your post more visible to others.
Not liking or commenting on other accounts
Communication is a two way thing. If you’re not making any effort to like or comment on other business and possible new customers accounts and yet, deep down, you are in someway ‘expecting’ ( or hoping that) other people to engage with and like your posts.
If you take the time to comment on another accounts it will show that particular business that you’re showing support and they may return the favour. You will be helping them to stay visible and you might actually be interested in their product or service anyway. This tiny effort gets your business name noticed on someone else’s account. If you do this regularly your business name will be seen by a new set of followers and therefore, open you up to possible new customers.
Joining follow loops
This is a bit of a bone of contention with me.
I personally think that the time wasted in follow loops for small businesses, for very little ‘genuine’ engagement return, is ridiculous. Instead why not use that time to genuinely like and comment on some local business accounts. Generally as a local business or small online business you should be supporting others in the same position. As the saying goes, what goes around comes around!
Take the time to shout out your own favourite businesses on your stories when you have received a great service or product. Retweeting a tweet, or sharing a Facebook post or an IG post/story via your own business account could encourage other small businesses to do the same for you in time.
Also have a look at some of the hashtags that you are using on your posts relating to your business and find new accounts to follow and comment on. This will be time well spent rather than an empty like on a particular post because you are obligated via follow loop rules!
Not using hashtags wisely
This can make a big difference to your social media accounts over time. Beware it is not an overnight quick fix and will take time to build. I appreciate hashtags can be a bit of a minefield. Its all done via trial and error and looking at the results you get. I can understand why people tend to pick a few of the most common ones relating to their business and hope for the best.
If I can give you any advice on this it would be to stay clear ( if you can) from the huge ‘generic’ hashtags that already have millions of users. The chance of your account ever being seen via that hashtag is incredibly slim. Instead look at slight variations so the numbers of posts using that hashtag is lower. However, this means your chance of getting seen under that hashtag will increase.
So, if you make vegan products for example you might think its necessary to use #vegan. But why not try searching vegan along with your product type. So, for example, you could try to see if something like #veganbakes works better if you are a cake maker. I can tell you as I’ve just looked this up on Instagram and it has just over 30k posts rather than #vegan which has 101M posts!
Searching hashtags can be very time consuming but making gradual changes to a few at a time should help you see a difference over all.
I could list lots more and chat social media all day long
But I just thought I would cover 5 of the common social media pitfalls. These are things I have come across in relation to small businesses in particular and I wanted to help you to avoid them.
If you would like more info on how I can help ease your social media headache then pop over to my contact page for more details of how I can help you get the most from your social media accounts.