Content marketing and social media are two of the biggest marketing trends online, and there are good reasons why they’re being implemented by a growing number of small businesses. The former provides exactly what consumers are looking for, and the latter facilitates a stronger connection between businesses and consumers. In this post we look at some common content marketing and social media mistakes made by small businesses.
Small businesses don’t have the brand recognition to draw in much traffic online, so content marketing allows them to build assets that will give their target audience a reason to care about them. Social media on the other hand is a tool that leverages small business’ natural ability to create more personal relationships with consumers. When both content marketing and social media synergize, good things happen.
However, the success social media and content marketing promise end up costing impulsive entrepreneurs in their rush to apply these two marketing methods.
It’s easy to think that marketing via social media won’t cost a single cent because of how the major platforms don’t charge for registering accounts. That mindset leads to small businesses that don’t have big marketing budgets to claim their stakes on as many social media sites as possible.
The owners do this without thinking about the resources required to maintain a good social media marketing campaign such as having dedicated social media managers, paying for analytics tools to see ROI, and even using ads on such platforms. What happens then is they have all these accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, Vine, etc. with only one or two being active and customers complaining without anyone replying. Resources are wasted for ineffective marketing (and potentially harmful when customers don’t get answers for their questions).
Promoting Without Conversing
Small business owners are eager to get their brands messages out through social media because of how much more people they can reach as opposed to traditional marketing methods. They share so many things about their products and services, offering all sorts of promos to get people to follow and like them. There isn’t anything wrong with promotion in social media accounts, but there is a problem when that’s all there is that people see.
Social media is an avenue made for engagement, and that means having a dialogue with consumers. It’s sharing content that isn’t necessarily motivated by selling products. It’s asking fans and followers what they’re thinking, and replying to their comments. By starting conversations with consumers, they begin to see businesses as real people that they can trust. Doing so will also help illuminate more of the customers’ needs which is always helpful in adjusting marketing campaigns.
Sacrificing Quality for Quantity
Much like the outlook that plagues social media marketing, thinking that creating quality content is easy is a huge pitfall for small businesses. While it might not cost very much to write for the company blog three times a week, what little effort one might put into those posts will translate to just as small potential returns.
Content marketing is not about churning out as many blog posts, infographics, podcasts, or videos as possible. You can’t expect to generate more leads and convert them into paying customers if you’re just bombarding your target audience with loads of content that don’t provide any value whatsoever. Creating an editorial calendar is good, but when the quality of the content scheduled to be published just isn’t up to standards, there is no shame in delaying it for revisions or chopping it up for different kinds of content to be published at a later date.
Forgetting Localized Content
It’s not at all unlikely for small businesses to start their growth in local neighborhoods where they can attract customers with products that cater specifically to their needs with effective traditional marketing materials, while having the convenience of proximity and prices fairly adjusted to the region. However, the prospect of reaching more people online has some entrepreneurs doing content marketing without creating localized content.
This is a failure to maximize profits in search of “bigger fish”, overlooking the relatively easier and yet more lucrative market of locals that are searching for nearby businesses to buy products and avail services from. Starting small is smart; competing nationally right off the bat isn’t.
Expecting Results NOW
It’s understandable for small business owners to want their companies to get a good head start for their growth. Using the Internet for promotion and brand-building is one of the best ways to boost to do just that. However, both social media and content marketing are long-term strategies as their results don’t immediately show (unless in very special cases when content goes viral in social networks).
It’s a slow but steady relationship-building process, earning the trust of consumers through a consistent stream of useful and/or compelling content shared via the right social channels. The first couple of months might not show much of actual returns, but customer satisfaction and brand engagement as well as higher visibility in search engines will subsequently lead to customer loyalty and increased conversions in the long run.