by Claire Payne (8 minute read)
I recently asked the small business owners of our Facebook Community ‘The Business Owners Lounge’ to tell me what they found most annoying about social media.
Well, I received a variety of responses, from frustrations over what to post, through to those pesky algorithms. Being the ‘marketing geek’ I am, I decided to look at each of these social media annoyances and provide a little insight on each and where relevant, how to make peace with them.
People Who Post Too Much
Alas, there’s no getting away from this. If you don’t post regularly and consistently then you risk not being seen. Not only does your audience miss the opportunity to get to know you, like you and of course trust you, but the algorithms won’t readily prioritise your content on your audience’s feed (unless you are producing outstanding, revolutionary content on the sporadic times you do post). To avoid irritating and alienating your audience, whilst maintaining a decent volume of posting, remember the following:
- Post interesting, educational and authentic content.
- Be conversational and pose questions.
- Don’t make it all about you.
- Avoid salesy content.
- Produce content in a variety of formats, including video, infographics, blogs, articles and such.
Poor Spelling and Grammar
Arrgh, we’ve all done it! Me included! And whilst we might be forgiven the odd grammatical faux pas, repeatedly ballsing-up on the spelling and grammar front is not going to do you any favours. What message does this send to your audience (a.k.a your customers and potential customers) about you, your attention to detail and the quality of work they can expect from you? To avoid this, there are a few things I recommend you do:
- Pre-write your social media posts in Word or Excel and run a grammar and spell check before posting on your social media pages.
- Write your content the day before you plan to post or schedule it, then re-read it with fresh eyes before you do so.
- Read your posts out aloud. Grammatical errors are often easier to pick out when you do this.
- Implement a four-eyes policy. I.e. Get someone else to give your content the once over before it goes out.
Never Being Able To Switch Off From It
Social media can be a HUGE distraction if you let it, especially if you have multiple and separate accounts for personal and business. It’s very easy to get sucked in and borderline addicted to it. Which is why you need to be strict about the time you devote to it. Here’s a few tips.
- Plan out one month’s content all at once. You don’t need to have all the detail, but build a content framework around what you want to share over that period.
- Batch your content creation. Whether that’s a week or two weeks at a time. Block time out in your diary to sit and create all of your content and corresponding assets (images, videos, blogs etc) over a few days.
- Pre-schedule your content immediately after it’s been created using a social media scheduling tool such as Buffer.
- Set yourself a limit of 15 minutes twice a day, to check in on your content engagement, respond to comments and messages, engage with other people’s posts and share in the moment or reactive content.
- Set yourself one power hour a week to make new connections and follow new people and/or pages.
- Set a time of day where social media becomes off limits until the next day.
Algorithms and Platform Changes
I’ve put these two together as they highlight something very important about social media and that is, it’s land for rent! You don’t own any of it and their features and functionality can change on a whim, without notice. This highlights something even more important, which is that, you need to draw your audience out of social media and into more direct and controllable means of communication, but that makes for a whole other topic. I spend a ridiculous amount of time reading and understanding the technicalities of social media and let me tell you, it’s a never ending project. There are however a few cross-platform commonalities where the algorithms are concerned, which will help you hold your own as you navigate around the bots.
- Complete your profiles fully.
- Post regularly with engaging and informative content. The more engagement your posts get and the earlier on they receive this engagement, the better it is for you and the distribution and reach of your content. Top Tip – Tag in handful of your connections on LinkedIn posts (those that you know will engage readily).
- Be authentic, not spammy
- Post videos. Lots of videos. They love it!
- The longer you keep your audience on platform the better, therefore strike a careful balance when it comes to sharing offsite links to landing pages and blogs etc. Despite the ongoing debate, it’s better to share links in the comments on LinkedIn.
- Don’t post selfishly, make sure you engage with others.
- Utilise other platform features, for example in Facebook use Groups, Instagram use Stories and IGTV, LinkedIn use Articles.
- Check your insights regularly to identify what content your audience engages with the most and produce and share more of it.
Very Public Arguments and Debates
Healthy debate and strong opinion can definitely be a good way of attracting attention, however you must be careful that it is the right sort of attention. There’s a line when it comes to expressing opinion and political views in the social media world, which when crossed, can end up making you look like a completely unprofessional and untrustworthy lunatic. It’s great to share your views in a diplomatic and considered way, but when it starts to feel uncontrolled, or is coming from a place of anger or aggression, you must stop and take the conversation to a private place if it is something that you feel strongly enough about to pursue. Sitting on the side lines and seeing others airing their dirty laundry is very uncomfortable, and you risk painting a negative picture of yourself, if it’s your laundry on display. Remember that your customers and potential future customers are watching! There are 4 rules I live by where this is concerned:
- Don’t talk politics.
- Respect that everyone has and is entitled to their own opinion.
- Don’t rise to those who attempt to goad you into negative dialogue and discussion.
- Remember, if all else fails, there is a block function.
How Un-User-Friendly Facebook Ads Is
Indeed. Advertising on any social media platform can feel like a minefield and this is a more sophisticated marketing strategy that takes time, patience and money to get right. Now the topic of Facebook Ads is a big one, so I’m not going to go in too deep here, but if you are currently experimenting or dabbling in Facebook Ads, here are my top 4 recommendations.
- Set up Facebook Business Manager, you’ll need this to run and monitor your ads.
- Learn what the different Facebook objectives mean. For example, an Engagement objective is ideal if you are looking to increase the number of likes on your business page.
- When segmenting your audience for any given advert, consider interest-based targeting. Write a list of all of the things your ideal audience might be interested in, from authors, to influencers, to subject matter, to software. Anything you can think of. Then assemble your audience segmentation using these, over and above behaviours, job title and such.
- Remember, there are currently around 16 places across Facebook and Instagram where your adverts could be shown and there are a variety of media sizes required for optimum results. I find that creating my images in three different sizes is usually sufficient enough to cover all basis, these are 1080 x 1080 px, 608 x 1080 px and 1080 x 565 px
Coming Up With Interesting Content To Share
This is one that comes up all the time and it is often the thing that sends business owners into a frenzy of overwhelm, confusion and frustration, to the point of paralysis! Yikes! There are so many ways you can come up with great content ideas, here are just a few.
- What questions are you always asked?
- What problems do you solve for your customers and how?
- What experience do you have that makes you an authority?
- What stories do you have that others can learn something from?
- What’s happening in your business right now? Behind the scenes / New products or services / Awards / Initiatives / Staff.
- Share your knowledge and educate. (i.e. How To…)
- Industry news
- Customer interviews / testimonials / case studies
- Staff interviews
- Sharing the content of others
- What’s interesting / different about your business?
- Sharing something that inspires you that your audience would connect with.
- Attention grabbing statistics
- Do you need to know something about your audience? Ask them in a poll.
- Share something funny / uplifting
- Show your product or service in action (video)
The main thing to remember (which comes back to the algorithms) is that not everyone sees everything you post; therefore, your content has a lot more longevity than you may realise. It’s perfectly ok to re-purpose and re-use your content (i.e. same content just dressed up differently). Also, keep an eye on your insights as they will tell you which of your posts work well, and therefore you can create more just like them.
So, that’s it! The Top 7 Facebook Gripes from our small business owner community. What are yours?
Before I sign off, i’ve one last thing to say.. Social media is just one aspect of a small businesses online marketing activity. There are a whole bunch of other things to consider when it comes to getting noticed online and effectively turning that online attention into leads and sales.
If you’re keen to up your marketing game online, then I highly recommend you sign up for our Free 5 Day Digital Marketing Domination Challenge starting on Monday 28th September. All you need to do is put one hour aside a day for 5 days and tackle each of the easy to follow daily tasks we set. By the end of the week you will have taken massive strides forward with your ability to get found, known, liked and trusted online. It really is that easy. To sign up, click here