The 5 Most Common Hurdles to Succeeding in Social Media (For Business)
Content is Key. So how do you find content to post and how do you manage your time efficiently so you don’t have to dedicate hours every day to your social media profiles?
Almost every client we’ve ever had within the ‘Social Media Marketing’ remit has had the same concerns at the inception; actually physically finding content to share – it’s an area that seems eternally confusing for clients. The main concerns tend to centre around the following five aspects, give or take, so hopefully we can help dispel the myth that social media is somehow a headache in terms of creating content for your profiles. It’s really not, if you just take a moment to stand back and think logically about it you will find a huge wealth of resources out there that you can share, use, reference and even create your own content from.
Concern 1 – “I don’t have anything to write about”
A: Yes you do, whether you know it or not. You need to step back from the concept of writing solely about your business or even your industry. This is where the whole concept of social media for business becomes stressful, and it shouldn’t be – Businesses seem to think they need to create every bit of content they post from scratch, whether it be blog posts, images, shares, whatever. Think outside the box, even just a little, and you will find HUGE resources of content that are available to you to share, comment on or create if you choose.
For instance, on your Facebook page, Twitter account or Linked In Profile (or alternatively by using the new Facebook ‘subscribe’ button)… Follow the Pages of topics/areas/businesses/people you are interested in or those that are related to your industry. Interact with those groups/people and share their content on your profiles if you think it’s either relevant, interesting, fun or maybe even divisive.
Next, don’t be afraid to post content that might get people’s backs up… this will likely illicit responses, engagement and further conversation from them as well as your extended community. You might get it wrong from time to time but unless you happen to post something truly offensive, you’ll be alright.
As with ALL forms of content, just try not post the same type of content ALL the time. That will become boring, repetitive and will turn visitors off.
So, why not try posting a good mixture of content, like so –
- A video link from Youtube – something funny, cringeworthy, music, interview etc. (There is a MASSIVE wealth & variety of resources on Youtube for all kinds of content).
- A re-post of a blog from or about someone of interest (related, or unrelated to your industry)
- A blog post that you have created yourself
- A ‘share’ of an image, article or poll that someone has posted on their page
- A ‘sales’ item – something you’re doing; a special offer, examples of your latest work.
If you mix it up in this way, you will never be short of material to post and you won’t piss off followers with a constant barrage of ‘here’s what I’m sell’ posts.
Concern 2 – “Who’s going to be interested in my company?”
A: More people than you think.
If you are in an industry that seems, let’s face it, boring (accountant, solicitor, IT; no offense intended, all very important professions) you might think nobody will be interested in you or what you have to say. A lot of our clients feel this way initially, it’s another of the major inhibitors in terms of getting started in social media. However, with all content the core has to be the same; you want to add VALUE to your followers. Value in the form of your expert opinion/advice. Value in the form of something fun. Value in the form of education.
Let’s say you’re in one of these professions I mentioned above (any other boring profession also applies by the way! Designers for one!). This all sounds like a pretty boring prospect for a social media page, huh?
Well, as a suggestion, instead of boring followers to death with your ten latest sales or offers (e.g. “we just installed 10 computers for a company”, “we just filed 3 million tax returns” or “we just managed the sale of a squillion properties”), why not offer up a forum for free advice for people who are having issues with their software/PC’s, tax queries, legal queries, queries about things that matter to people and other commonly experienced problems? I for one would be interested in following this type of page, so you have one follower already. If you posted blogs with solutions for common problems you’d be doing even better.
So, think outside the box. You might be part of a generally ‘boring’ industry, one that instinct is telling you has no place in the realm of social media, but the type of help and value you offer clients and add to their lives can (in small amounts) be given away to show them your expertise and offer real value to them or their businesses. That will add value to your followers and value for your business.
Concern 3 – “I don’t have time to post content regularly on Facebook or (even more so) Twitter”
A: Are you sure?
Social platforms are increasingly interlinked and are incredibly easy to access. If you post on your Facebook page it can automatically update your Twitter. If you post on Twitter, it can automatically update your Linked In profile and so on. Use your mobile devices; the accessibility of Facebook, Twitter and Linked In (to name just the main platforms) is so fluent within your mobile phones or tablets that access is immediate and posting content ever-more easy.
I would guess some companies’ response to my suggestion of offering free advice on their social media pages would be – “I/We don’t have time to answer everybody’s questions for free, that will take too much time away from us making money”. Will it, really?? If you manage it correctly it probably won’t take you any longer than 5-20 minutes a day (depending on your choices and numbers of followers)… and yet the free advice, communication and help will offer followers something of real VALUE. This in itself is likely to build brand loyalty & awareness for you and will quite probably bring you new clients along the way because they can see the value you offer followers. For an average of 15 mins a day I’d say it’d be time well spent, right?
Concern 4 – “I can’t be at my desk 8 hrs a day to manage our social media profiles; I have a business to run”
A: You don’t have to be; social media management shouldn’t consume your life.
With the amount of technology available to us in 2011, why don’t you make more use of it and increase efficiency? Again, use your mobile devices. If you have an iPhone, Blackberry or other smart phone, your social media profiles are increasingly available at the touch of a button…new notifications can be beamed directly to your inbox if you choose. The new iPhone Operating System (iOS5) even integrates a Twitter option deep within the OS so you can share anything from photos, Maps, web pages etc in a couple of clicks. You can be doing this over a coffee, in between meetings, at lunch (if you’re lucky enough to get a lunch break).
You can also manage your social media profiles from a platform like Hootsuite which congregates all your profiles in one area for efficiency. If this seems like too much hassle from the off, there are companies like ours that can help train you quickly and efficiently on these types of platforms so that you aren’t wasting weeks of your life just trying to understand the basics. Again, I hate to stress the obvious, but you should be making use of resources available to you – otherwise your efficiency and time management will definitely suffer.
Concern 5 – “I don’t want people being able to comment on my Facebook page or use my name to comment in Twitter”
A: Wrong. This is exactly what you want.
Openness, transparency and freedom to engage is the foundation that social media is built upon. You WANT people to comment on and engage with your page or profile. That’s how you build your profile further and reach more people. And yes, you still want this to happen even if the comment is negative because it gives you the opportunity to openly (swiftly) turn things around for everyone to see. Nobody is perfect, but when we make mistakes or drop the ball on something people are impressed when they see us deal head on with the problem.
There are two examples I use regularly in training based around how openness & freedom to engage turns negative buzz into positive. Here’s one of them:
HASTINGS HOTELS – Back in Oct 2010 there was a negative comment posted on the Hastings Hotel Facebook page whereby a patron had experienced a terrible stay at one of their hotels – Poor service, dirty room, miscommunication among staff etc. A pretty woeful stay and they made this very clear; right on the Hastings Hotels Facebook WALL… For everyone to see. As clearly as it could be stated, this patron was saying “Hastings sucks, their hotels are dirty, staff are badly trained and service is terrible” – A pretty negative package of comments, right?
Well, let’s say this was posted at 1pm. At 1.20pm a Hastings representative replied to this comment (openly, transparently and without deleting the negative comment!! NB THIS is very important – do not delete negative comments!). They replied something along the lines of “Really sorry to hear you had a sub-standard stay at our hotel – please call me directly on 0800 000 1234 and we’ll do something really special for you to make up for it”.
And IMMEDIATELY, the negative buzz created by that comment was completely turned on its’ head and became a resounding positive. The former notion of hotel group having poor service was completely overshadowed by their timely and positive response. It definitely made an impression on me and I’m not even a big fan of that specific hotel group. It just shows you how important high quality service is.
CONCLUSIONS – SOCIAL MEDIA IS FOR EVERYONE AND DOESN’T NEED TO CONSUME YOU 24/7 TO BE EFFECTIVE FOR YOUR BUSINESS.
My point with all of this is the following – Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that social media isn’t for you or for your business (type). It’s social for a reason and it should be fun. It doesn’t need to take up hour upon hour every day (if you’re a small company I know this will be a big concern for you). If you manage it correctly, engage your followers (and potential followers) with the right type and frequency of content, and offer VALUE, you can make it work for your business regardless of what your goals are or what industry you are in, and in just a few hours per week. Be open and allow followers interact with your page/profile. Pick a selection of the right profiles for you – e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Gowalla, Foursquare, Google+… The list is huge so don’t think you need to be part of every platform out there. Select between 1 and 3 platforms and make them work. Educate yourself using some of the many online training resources or contact us and we will do everything we can to help and advise you and to make sure that social media is not the bane of your existence.
Talk to other people through social media and comment, share & create content that other people will find fun, interesting or motivating. And always remember, it is all about the VALUE you offer followers. Otherwise, why will they ever want to subscribe to your profile in the long term?
This is how your following will grow and if you think even slightly outside the box you will find a vast amount of resources of content that you can utilise to post content easily, efficiently and effectively on your social media profiles.
Any queries? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll do our best to help.