Recently I shared the three vital elements of content marketing. Leave out one of these elements, and your content marketing strategy is likely to fail.
In the next few weeks, I’ll examine each element separately for the needs of a small business–starting with social media engagement.
Are you a small business owner? Are you using social media to promote your business? If not, you could be missing a vital opportunity.
Many small business owners miss out on the benefits of social media engagement. I often see small business owners making one or more of these common mistakes:
- Not Using Social Media At All. Statistics show that social media is growing. In fact, Pew Internet shows that the number of online adults using social networking sites has increased steadily (from 8% to 65%) since 2005. Those statistics are two years old, so the actual number is likely to be even higher now. Social media users include both consumers and businesses. No matter who you target audience is, you can connect with them on social media. Keep in mind that if you’re not using social media to connect with prospects, your competitor probably is.
- Not Completing Your Social Media Profiles. To many social media users, an incomplete profile means that you are likely to be a spammer. Most people do look at profiles before deciding whether or not to add a contact on social media. Not completing your social media profile can get your profile blocked, which will keep you from connecting with prospective clients. Make sure that your social media profile has an image (a human is best, although a logo is acceptable), a brief description of your business, and a link to your website.
- Not Engaging with Prospective Clients. It’s not enough to simply have a social media profile. You need to use it regularly. No, you don’t need to live on social media, but you do need to participate regularly. You should add (friend, circle, etc.) users who fit your customer profile as well as current customers. Respond to users who comment on and reshare material that you’ve shared. Make a special effort to reach out to others who use social media. Remember, social media is a tool. To get the most from it, you have to use it.
- Not Sharing Relevant Materials. You may be doing everything else right, and still get this one wrong. Remember that, as a small business owner on social media, you are representing your business. Using social media as a business professional is different than using it casually. You need to keep your target audience in mind when you share using social media. Share relevant materials from a a variety of sources. Too many small business owners broadcast only their own business posts (which are often based on their marketing materials) over and over again.
- Not Tracking Results. Finally, many small businesses don’t keep any records about social media usage or results. Because they have no records, they have no way of knowing how effective their participation is. Since they don’t know whether their social media efforts are working, they quit using it. And of course, if they don’t use social media, they won’t see results. It’s a vicious cycle. Fortunately, there are now many tools available to monitor social media. Small business owners don’t have to guess. Pam Dyer, writing on Social Media Today, just published a giant list of 50 tools.
Is social media part of your content marketing strategy? Why, or why not?