If your small business using social media without a well developed strategy, you are wasting your time.
It’s as simple as that.
You need a strategy. You need a consistent method of gauging the success of your strategy. And (this is a big and) anyone who has access to your social media accounts need to be on board with your strategy.
I’ve managed a WIDE range of social media accounts for businesses for over a decade, from boarding schools to online stores. Regardless of industry, the most important piece of the puzzle is strategy.
I have seen the social media strategies that work (as well as the ones that don’t) and the amazing way social media can draw in new customers and keep past customers coming back (brand loyalty for the win!). I have learned the hard lessons. So believe me when I tell you:
There are a lot of things that can happen when your business uses social media without a strategy.
Here are 5 things what will happen if your business uses social media without strategy:
You will think you know your audience, but you won’t.
Your audience is not one homogeneous blob of followers, though it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking they are. At the very least, you need to break your audience into two segments and create a follower persona for each.
Say, for example, you sell an organic, locally made, high-end food product. At the bare minimum, you can divide your followers into two camps: those who buy your product because they value minimizing the impact their food consumption has on the environment and those who can afford and therefore want the highest quality products.
The above illustration is an oversimplified example of a follower personal but highlights how different two followers of the same account can be.
If you are only posting for one type of follower, you will lose the other! Can you imagine if you only posted content aimed toward Follower B? You’d lose Follower A in a heartbeat!
You need to know each segment of your audience- why they are following you, what about your product or service interests them, and what type of content they will engage with.
Don’t think you’re done there. You also need to do this research for the followers you want.
You will post for you, not your followers.
This is how we’re used to using social media, right? We read an article, watch a video, take a picture that we like and we share it with our friends. This habit is hard to break unless you are strategically planning posts for your business account.
Keep in mind what we just talked about in the point above– social media for business is about knowing the specific segments of your audience and posting content that they will engage with. Never forget that social media algorithms favor engagement. It predicts what a user wants to see and moves it towards the top of their feed.
If you are posting content for yourself, rather than your audience, your followers will never see what you post.
You will post on the fly.
For those of you who already use social media for your business, 9 out of 10 of you can relate to the following scenario:
‘I should plan some social media…. I’ll do it later.’ Writes ‘social’ at the bottom of to-do list.
Later: Looking at to-do list… ‘I’ve done so much, I’m exhausted. I can leave social media until tomorrow.’
Tomorrow (aka next week): ‘AH! I never did anything for social. It’s been two weeks since I last posted. OK, here, I’ll just post this random article, at least it’s something.’
We’ve all been there. We’ve all posted without intention. With every post, you need to be asking yourself ‘What is the point of this post?’ ‘Who am I posting this for?’ ‘Which segment of my audience will engage with this?’
Again, this feeds off of my first two points. If you aren’t planning what you’re posting your will revert to what is most comfortable– posting for yourself, not your followers.
You will ghost your followers.
You may love using social media for your business for the first few weeks or months! It’s fun– you’re connecting with customers, finding new followers, and engaging with complimentary accounts. But trust me, without a social media strategy, which includes a set routine of reviewing, planning, and creating, you’re setting yourself up for giving-up.
Posting on the fly may work a time or two, but eventually it stresses you out. Owning a small business is stressful enough and the first hint of added anxiety caused by the thought of making a social media posts will stir resentment.
‘Why am I letting Facebook stress me out so much? This is ridiculous. I’m done.’ And with a sigh of relief, you give yourself permission to stop.
I’ve done it. Lots of business owners have. The catch is, social media doesn’t have to stress you out and with the right process in place, it won’t.
You will start to believe that social media won’t work for your business.
When you don’t take the time to research your audience, when you post for yourself rather than for your followers, post on the fly, and resent social media, it won’t work! No surprise there.
I’ll be the first to admit that there are circumstances in which social media might not be right for your business BUT a majority of the time, social media is right for your business.
There’s a reason 99% of the articles out there talking about social media and business say it’s a must– done well, social media can grow your customers base, heighten brand awareness and recognition, and, most importantly, increase sales.