3 Things Small Businesses Need to STOP Doing in Social Media Marketing

Last week there was an offer to be an ambassador for a manscaping kit. Yeah, you read that right. I get that one at least once a week.

And you know the manscaping company has paid a social media expert to spam people’s accounts with this offer. It’s probably based on a hashtag I use. I know this. 90% of the people receiving the message from some random numbered account know this. All I can think is why doesn’t the manscaping company see how they’re wasting their money and ruining their brand reputation?

Then there are the social media experts shilling their course to help you trick the algorithms, make $100K in 3 months, or be the next Steve Jobs. All you need is their simple formula.

Let’s not forget the social media experts who aren’t walking the talk. You want to learn how to use Twitter? Make sure the person who is teaching you actually has an active Twitter account! Checking out an offering for a social media course online or in-person? Make sure the course outline doesn’t still include Google+ (it was shuttered two years ago).

As a business owner you have to wade through so much garbage to find the gold. It reminds me of the icebreaker game Two Truths and a Lie, except it seems for every truth you see, there are two lies out there, and you’ve got to figure out which tactics can really help and who is lying to you.

For today’s inspiration and amusement, let’s play Two Lies and a Truth, social media edition, to share the three things small businesses need to stop doing for success in social media.

LIE: You need 10,000 followers

Let me be perfectly blunt about this one.

It does NOT matter if you have 100, 1000 or 10000 followers. Getting to 10,000 followers on Instagram isn’t going to suddenly catapult your business forward.

Sure, generally speaking, more followers means more people will see your content, but there are many huge accounts out there with very little interaction. That could be due to buying followers (which are 100% fake and useless), using questionable tactics to grow their base (buying a pre-built account, or playing the follow/unfollow game).

It’s most likely because their content sucks.

I know it’s a hard one to hear, but if your content doesn’t make your 100 followers want to engage with you, it’s not going to be any better when you have 10,000 followers. Better to figure out how to get 100 people to engage than keep your best content for when you have 10,000…because you probably won’t get there if you can’t get the first 100 to engage.

Focus on making content and decisions that improve your numbers. Yes, you want to keep your follower number growing and goals are good, but stop thinking that getting to a specific number of followers is magically going to make people start buying from you.

LIE: The algorithms aim to fail you

Yes, social media platforms change the rules all the time.

Yes, you may need to invest some money for success on social media.

Yes, they have secretive algorithms they only partially publicize. Honestly, does anyone really want to look at some kind of equation written in code that has hundreds of potential routes and try to figure it out? I know I do not.

But you know what we do know about the platforms? They reward content that gets people talking. They’ll reward you if you make content that engages your audience, gets them to click buttons, comment and share. And isn’t that all we really need to know about the algorithms?

As a small business owner you have to keep up with the changes to the platforms on which you’re depending. The platforms want you to succeed…because without YOU and your content, they have a lot less to offer users. And they make a lot less money.

So once again, it comes back to you needing to focus on making content that engages your audience and gets them talking.

TRUTH: You need a social media plan!

Winging it in social media just doesn’t cut it. Sure it’s great to be spontaneous sometimes and add in something you “just thought of” or something that happened to you today. But if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail when it comes to social media. When things aren’t planned and based on strategy you end up wasting a lot of time.

There are things you can do to ensure you’re not wasting time on social media by focusing on the wrong things.

  1. Do your research.
    Understand your audience. Ask them questions and get to know them. They will tell you what you need to know to produce content–if you’re willing to put in the effort to ask and listen.
  2. Prioritize.
    You do not need to be on every platform. And in some cases, it may be more effective to pay for ads than constantly creating new content. Figure out your time and financial resources and spend them wisely. Is your time best spent creating new content, or recycling old content? Can a VA help you do both while saving your time for activities that make money?
  3. Be strategic.
    Once you know your audience and where they’re hanging out online, design your social media strategy and content to meet the needs of the platforms and the audience. The type of content you will create for YouTube is vastly different than the content you will create for Pinterest. And while there are ways to recycle your content across the networks, you should always start with your priority network and work outwards from there.

I could go on and on about all the bad advice I see out there. If you found this blog helpful, you can hear me ranting about bad marketing advice on the #BeFlawsome podcast (new episodes coming soon) and in the Weekly Social Media Roundup in my Facebook Group.

But if you REALLY want to learn the best ways to authentically and strategically grow your business through social media, you’ve got to check out The Flawsome League, my private membership where I share ALL the good stuff.


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