Social Media Use: Three Big Mistakes Made by Small Businesses

According to a recent Manta survey, a staggering 90 percent of small business owners are using the web to network with potential customers and promote products and services. In seeking to connect with and grow an audience online, small businesses frequently turn to social media sites. And why not?  With user numbers in the hundreds of millions, sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Google+ offer small businesses the chance to reach current customers and the opportunity to acquire many more.

Still, though social media is a popular marketing tool for small businesses, it can also be a minefield of potentially costly and critical mistakes. There are several key ways in which small businesses are continuing to miss opportunities to maximize their social media marketing potential. Here are a few of the biggest:

  1. Believing social media is free. According to a recent survey by Vocus and Duct Tape Marketing, decision makers at small and medium-sized businesses consider overcoming the perception that social media is free as their biggest social media challenge. It is clear from the survey that small and medium-sized businesses are currently using social media for a significant percentage of their marketing efforts but are doing so with relatively minimal investment. In fact, a remarkable 73 percent of respondents indicated that their companies had added social media duties to the workload of current employees, while only 43 percent had hired staff specifically to handle social media. Creating and maintaining a truly engaging social media presence takes time and effort, and the time and effort of employees requires a financial investment.  
  2. Not responding to customers. Social media is not about the old marketing and promotion techniques that involved a one-sided “push” of information from company to customer. The new world that’s been created by Web 2.0 is one in which engagement and conversation are key. The use of social media is not about controlling your message. It’s about starting – and continuing – a conversation with your customers.
  3. All business, all the time. This one is related to the above: small businesses need to remember that using social media should be like having a conversation. A one-sided stream of posts or tweets touting the merits of a particular product? Not a conversation. Treating customers as people – and not just consumers – is the key. Have a unique personalized voice when connecting with customers.  Share links, post questions to open up a dialogue, personalize posts to connect more deeply with customers.

Social media has become an integral part of doing businesses for companies of all sizes. Small businesses in particular have the opportunity to reach a larger audience through social media than they might be able to reach through more traditional advertising and marketing channels. However, in order to maximize results, small businesses must avoid making and repeating some pretty big – and pretty common – errors. By remembering that social media marketing success requires a financial investment, a conversation with customers, and a unique personalized voice, small businesses can make the most of their social networking efforts.

 

Megan Totka

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com, which helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Megan has several years of experience on the topics of small business marketing, copywriting, SEO, online conversions and social media. Megan spends much of her time establishing new relationships for ChamberofCommerce.com, publishing weekly newsletters educating small business on the importance of web presence and also contributes to a number of publications, such as Business.com, Disability.gov, AICPA, and others. Megan can be reached at megan@chamberofcommerce.com.


29 comments
michealmccullum
michealmccullum

Thanks for sharing the important points some time these minute mistakes turn out to be blunder for the campaign so its better to get rid of it at start

sunsetrock
sunsetrock

@KristenRidley cool thanks! Always looking for this kind of info!

JohnAguiar
JohnAguiar

@Toby_Metcalf @rshahbaz TY for the Rts

jkcallas
jkcallas

@AskAaronLee Hey Mr. Aaron how are you doing? Thx for tweet! :)

LATINCEDRICK
LATINCEDRICK

@AskAaronLee when they start subsidicing.

fondalo
fondalo

@contentfrog Thanx Kate! ;-)

fondalo
fondalo

@madelinemorton TY for the RT Madeline

fondalo
fondalo

@briancormier Thank you Brian!

fondalo
fondalo

@caddymarketing Thanx my man!

TheSBOMag
TheSBOMag

@socialwavesnet The best way to learn is to teach! :-) Go for it! #gosbo

MyTownTutorsMA
MyTownTutorsMA

Thanks for the advice. Small businesses really can make some strong connections using social media. Keep up the great work!

kstaxman
kstaxman

As in all cases it's possible to do many things on a limited budget or even no budget at all when it comes to using many social media sites. However little or no money in usually means little or no results out. There truly is no such thing as a "free lunch" when it comes to business development. And that's true online or offline makes no difference. So don't think that spending little or no money up front is the same as "free'.

combatdavey
combatdavey

@ginidietrich You sleep as little as I do, it seems.

samtavis
samtavis

Thanks Angela for sharing nice info!! feel free to share how to prepare better SEO/SMO Strategy for traffic @AngelaMaiers @jkcallas

AskAaronLee
AskAaronLee

@jkcallas My pleasure Champ! i just got up here! morning in Asia, all good! how are you?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@combatdavey Oh I sleep. I love my sleep. I just don't sleep when normal people sleep.

jkcallas
jkcallas

@AskAaronLee doing well, October is crazy LOL u know everything need to be done before holiday season come in play

jkcallas
jkcallas

@AskAaronLee they already do :) :)

AskAaronLee
AskAaronLee

@jkcallas yikes! you've been busy! i believe everyone at the airport will know you by then. lol

jkcallas
jkcallas

@AskAaronLee Traveling from Monday till 27th every day and then i am taking rest from airports for few weeks :)

AskAaronLee
AskAaronLee

@jkcallas LoL! yeah! ours would be next year in January close to Chinese New Years. Any plans for the holidays? Going anywhere?

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