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Social media marketing can seem deceptively simple to people who look at it from the outside. All you need is a great product or service and your audience will find you.
Wouldn’t it be great if that were true? But sadly, it’s not.
In fact, social media marketing is a real challenge for local businesses – and can prove tricky even to people who spend a lot of time and energy managing their social media accounts.
The reason? There are some popular misconceptions about social media marketing and some secrets that you simply won’t know about unless someone tells you.
Here they are.
#1: The Size of Your Following May Not Matter
One of the biggest misconceptions about social media marketing is that Page Likes equal success. That’s often not the case.
You can create an entertaining account that attracts new followers and not see any change in your bottom line. If that happens, you’re basically whistling in the wind. The time and energy you spend on managing your social media pages isn’t getting you anything in return.
A better bet is to focus on attracting highly qualified and motivated followers who are likely to turn into customers and share your content with their friends.
#2: There’s No Such Thing as Overnight Success
To quote the cliché, social media marketing isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon. It takes a lot of time, commitment, and dedication to attract a following and see results from your social media marketing efforts.
In many ways, this misconception relates to the first one. A big following doesn’t equal success. You may spend a lot of money boosting your page and attract a lot of followers. However, if those followers don’t buy from you, the money will have been wasted.
In other words, social media marketing requires an ongoing commitment to excellence. You’ll need to work hard to create valuable and entertaining content – and be willing to tweak your methods to get the results you want.
#3: You Won’t Succeed Without Analysis
Analyzing the results of your social media marketing is a must if you want to grow your business. It’s not enough simply to eyeball your Likes and other obvious metrics. You’re going to need to dig deep to refine your strategy.
Fortunately, most platforms offer basic analytics that you can use to get started. If you pay for a social media management tool, you probably have access to additional reporting and analysis. Either way, it’s essential to use the data you have to test, refine, and re-test your content and strategy.
Even if you’ve done well on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll need to commit to doing the sometimes-tedious legwork that will help you hit on the right strategy to grow your business.
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#4: Engagement Is Just as Important as Content
You might create fantastic content on a regular basis, but if you aren’t also setting aside time to engage with your followers, you might as well not bother.
A lot of companies make the mistake of forgetting the “social” in social media. It’s your job to monitor your content, reply to comments, answer questions, and generally make your followers feel that they are important to you.
Engagement can be time-consuming, and it’s one of the reasons that a lot of small businesses don’t do well on social media. You may need to hire someone to monitor your mentions, comments, DMs, and questions to ensure that nothing is falling through the cracks.
#5: Success is Difficult to Predict
The Holy Grail of social media marketing is the viral post. Whether it’s a video, a meme, a photograph, or a blog post, every social media marketer dreams of creating The One – the special post that reaches millions of followers and sends their business into orbit.
We’d love to be able to give you a formula to help you create that perfect post. Sadly, there isn’t one. The best you can do is create the most entertaining, valuable, relevant content you can – and hope that your followers will share it and that it will catch on.
Of course, there are some things that can help your chances of going viral. Humorous content does well, and so does content that’s useful to different groups of people. Instead of focusing on virality, spend your time getting creative – and the rest will, hopefully, follow.
#6: You’ll Need a Creative Team to Help You
Your social media goals may be simple or grand, but either way, it’s important to understand that you may not be able to do everything you need to do without help.
Creativity is a plus when it comes to social media marketing. If all you do is share content from other people or Tweet out information about your products, you’re not going to attract the passionate following you want.
The key is to give your social media manager the creative support they need. That may mean hiring a creative team to work with them. Or, it may be as simple as giving them a creative budget that they can use to hire freelance writers, photographers, and artists to give your social media marketing a boost.
#7: Everything Can Change at a Moment’s Notice
One of the trickiest aspects of social media marketing is that change is normal. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are constantly tweaking their algorithms – and you’ll need to stay on top of the changes they make if you want to do well.
For example, Facebook recently changed its algorithm to prioritize posts from personal connections over those from businesses. As a result, business owners have had to rethink their strategies, work harder to get organic engagement, and increase their Facebook marketing budgets to make sure that their posts reach their followers.
Tracking your performance and engagement can help you in this regard. However, it’s essential to be aware of changes and to adapt your strategy accordingly so you’re not spinning your wheels.
Social media marketing isn’t as easy as it seems…
That much is clear. But, keeping the seven items we’ve outlined here in mind can help you make the most of the time, creative energy, and money you spend to promote your business on social media.