Jumping Into Social Media without a Plan!

Many companies and small business owners dive into social media because they know everyone else is doing it… so they haphazardly start creating Facebook Pages, Twitter Profiles, YouTube channels, and accounts to any – and sometimes every – social network they can find.

There are two facts to keep in mind when it comes to social media and small business. First, there will always be a new network to get involved with. Secondly, a small business owner has a limited amount of time and money to devote to social media.

Doing social media well doesn’t mean you need to be anywhere and everywhere. Instead, it’s about choosing one or two of the most relevant and effective channels for reaching your customers and focusing on them. It’s actually better to not have an account if you don’t have the time and resources to actively manage it and participate

READ MORE: How to Create a Social Media Plan

You Focus on YOURSELF! (Or Your Company)

Face it. Your clients are selfish. They do not care about you – they are about what you can do for them. Think about how painful it is to be stuck at a cocktail party, talking to that self-absorbed person who only talks about him or herself. (Or who spends their time trying to convince you to join their MLM) Small businesses need to treat social media like a cocktail party among friends. To be liked, you’ve got to be gracious, genuinely interested in others, and not dominate the conversation.

Posting the SAME content on all profiles and channels

I am a HUGE fan of social media and marketing automation. I love products like HootSuite and my favorite, SproutSocial. But nothing makes you look more like a robot than when the same content is repeated across all channels. Sometimes you will have the same people following you on Twitter and Facebook, but many times different people prefer different types of social networks.

Twitter is NOT the same as Facebook. Twitter and Facebook are two distinct networks with two distinct sets of etiquette and norms. The people you’re connected to on Twitter expect different things than those you’re connected to on Facebook (even if most of them are the same group of people). The culture of both networks is different, so if you combine them you risk losing your audience.

Twitter also moves at a faster pace and has a much higher threshold for acceptable posting levels than Facebook. That means that you may tweet as many as 10-15 times a day, without showing up excessively in any of your followers’ feeds.

READ MORE: Twitter is NOT the same as Facebook

Never creating original content

Yeh, I know it’s cool to pass on those funny memes and eCards and graphical quotes… but if you are only posting articles, pictures, and graphics that originate from a website other than your own. You are driving traffic only to the person who created the content.

When you see a motivational quote or a great infographic that has 10,000+ shares, go ahead and get jealous. Get motivated and create your own awesome content. Give your Facebook Fans, Blog Followers, and Pinterest Pinners reason to keep coming back for more!

Thinking Social Media is FREE Marketing

While you may be able to create a Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ profile for free, unless you think your time (or your employee’s time) is worthless then Social Media Marketing is NOT free. A well-executed social media plan takes time and planning. Social media requires constant commitment, from keeping fresh content on your accounts to engaging your community.

If you build it/post it/tweet it/share it (etc.) they will come – does not always apply. You might also want to consider costs of short-term lead generation by paying for LinkedIn or Facebook advertising.