Four Social Media Challenge Busters

Social Media ChallengesWe’ve all heard that social media is the fast and easy way to connect us to existing and potential customers. Yet, as small business owners, we have our hands full managing daily operations and don’t know how to get started or how to keep up with constantly evolving social media trends. The more we investigate it, the more information we find, the more overwhelming and contradictory it becomes.

The burning question: How do we overcome the challenges of keeping up with social media? The answer is not so simple, but understanding four important concepts can steer you in the right direction.

Start with a Plan

To make social media work for you, make it a part of  your overall marketing strategy. It does not replace the need for marketing plan but is a complementary component of a comprehensive marketing strategy. A strong strategy includes a vision and road map for success. It also includes relevant marketing tactics and a way to understand and measure accomplishments. A few of the key questions to answer include: What is the goal of social media and how does it fit into our marketing plan? Who is the target audience? What is important to them? What are the best ways to reach them? How, when, what and how often will we communicate with our audience?

A Service for Every Purpose

With so many social media services, it’s important to understand that the different platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Reddit, YouTube, and the others have different personalities, serve different purposes, and have different styles for communicating. You don’t necessarily have to use them all, but you should use the ones that reach your target market. Mastering the art of social media requires knowing which services to use for the type of business you are in, where your audience is spending their time, how to use each service, and how to integrate them into  your overall marketing strategy.

Social Media Does Not Equal Instant Fame and Fortune

Going into social media with the idea that it’s going to instantly increase revenue will leave you disappointed. Once people like, follow or connect with you, they will not immediately beat down your doors and throw money at you. They will not rush out to eat at your restaurant, buy your product, or book your services. Making connections via social media should not primarily be about making money, rather it is a valuable tool for building a client base and staying in touch with your audience. Successfully staying engaged is less about selling  and more about providing intangible value, establishing credibility, communicating news, specials and promotions, and interacting with those who may one day become a valuable customer. Reaching out to your customers via social media shows you care enough to engage in two-way communications.

Consistency is Vital

Make social media an ongoing service to your customers. Staying consistent will keep you relevant and top-of-mind when they want your offerings. Setting up accounts or pages without consistently engaging does little to help your customers remember you when your competitors are vying for their attention as well.  How do you do this? First decide on your message and stay committed to it. Spending a little time each day staying in touch, communicating your message, responding to comments and inquiries, understanding what customers are talking about, and being a part of the conversation is the key to long-term success.

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