When it comes to social media marketing, any small business can utilize their online presence for lead generation. But, if social media marketing is so easy to leverage, then why do 65% of companies state, according to Hubspot, that lead generation and traffic is one of their top marketing concerns? It’s because many businesses aren’t using social media to its full potential. They are blinded by the many myths floating around regarding their clients and social media.
These misconceptions are hindering your marketing effectiveness and should be forgotten immediately.
My Customers Aren’t Online
This statement just isn’t true. Even if you are selling to an older demographic, your potential customers are on social media and failing to connect with them where they spend most of their time is hurting your marketing campaigns. In fact, according to the most recent study from the Pew Research Center, about 62% of adults ages 65 and older now use Facebook, a noticeable increase from 2015.
The way customers buy and research products has changed. Your prospects, no matter their age, would much rather do their own browsing until they are ready to talk to a salesperson and dread interruptions like cold-calls. This is a hard fact to explain to your sales team, especially in the manufacturing and industrial sector, but research shows only 29% of people want to talk to a salesperson to learn more about a product, while 62% will consult a search engine. Many owners, especially in B2B businesses feel their target customers aren’t using social media to learn about products and solutions; this could not be further from the truth. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram continue to be gold mines to connect with prospects.
I Should Only Post About My Industry
You may be worried, given that social media best practices show you should be posting at least once a day on Facebook and more on other channels, that your industry is too dry or complicated and that you just don’t have enough content to meet that requirement. Perhaps you’re posting to your social channels occasionally with a new blog or content offer, but are not gathering the engagement you want. This could all result from posting too much about yourself and failing to post enough educational influencer content.
Many businesses believe they should only be posting self-made and self-branded content when in reality that comes off as overly self-promotional, driving away potential leads. Try sharing industry news and articles from outside sources and influencers. Chances are if you find it interesting, your target audience will too. Sharing your own content on social media is important, but not as important as striking a balance between your content and influencer insights.
You Can Never Have too Many Hashtags
How many times have you seen a post with dozens of hashtags and considered it spam immediately? Make sure your quality content doesn’t get overlooked, and that you’re packaging each post appropriately for its specific social media channel. Instead of dumping hashtags like sprinkles, use the most efficient amount, which is less than you may think.
According to research from Buffer Social, on Twitter, the ideal number of hashtags was only 1-2, and Facebook was just one or none. Instagram is a bit more lenient; studies show 11+ is optimal for engagement. Keyword research and testing are necessary to craft the best hashtag for your audience; pouring as many hashtags as you can think of into one post is negatively affecting your social engagement.
My Clients Don’t Watch Video Content
To diversify and engage on social media, small business owners and marketers need to be investing in video content for social media distribution. Video is not simply the newest gimmick among marketing tools — in fact, in an average month, 8 out of 10 of 18 to 49-year-olds watch YouTube! Consumers are no longer interested in long blocks of text describing your merchandise; they are visually driven.
Video is now an established part of life online, and even professional consumers respond well to video marketing, proving that video is not too unprofessional for your industry. A 2010 Forbes Insight Study found that senior corporate executives are just as willing to take action after watching a video as they are after reading text. Your potential clients are most likely watching videos, such as product demos before they make a buying decision.
Messaging Applications are too Creepy for Marketers
Messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp present a tremendous opportunity for marketers due to their increasing popularity, but businesses have been slow to adapt them as part of their marketing strategy. Among smartphone users, 42% of 18 to 29-year-olds use messaging apps and 29% of 30 to 49-year-olds, according to research from the Pew Research Center.
This new development among marketers could be viewed as “creepy” but there are ways to use messaging apps in conjunction with social media to help nurture prospects through the buyer’s journey in a subtle way. Just remember, do not over message prospects or clients or you’ll be considered intrusive. Try offering exclusive content and hosting contests via messenger apps for a boost in engagement.
Facebook now offers SnapChat inspired stories in messenger, that allow a user to share an image with their followers for 24 hours. Currently, this feature is only available to individual users, which gives small businesses, contractors, and employees the opportunity to take advantage of personal accounts to connect with their audience.
Social platforms are continuing to change and grow and every day are more and more integral to our daily lives. As these networks change, so must your marketing efforts. Adapting to the new features and updates that social media throws at you will help your small business remain at the forefront of your customers’ minds. Acknowledging your clients are on social media, and using it to research, connect and engage is a step in the right direction to craft a better social media marketing strategy.
If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Social Media.
About the Author
Megan Prangley works as the Marketing Manager at ManoByte, an inbound marketing agency and Hubspot platinum partner located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. When she’s not posting on social media or blogging, she’s usually filming great content like this webinar. Check it out, and start impressing your clients with video.