Erik Qualman once said, "We don't have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it".
Can you believe that, folks? Social media is a key generator for your business; let it be either an online or a brick and mortar business, you need social media to literally survive in this world.
The challenges small businesses face is inevitable. Yes you -- small business owners will face tons of obstacles which will either demotivate you or burn a hole in your pocket. As a social media consultant, I dare to say that there will be challenges in social media especially in two phrases; entry level and sustaining a marketing strategy to compete with the rest.
As Erik said above, social media is no longer a luxury; it is a needs that will determine success in business.
So, what are the challenges small businesses will face in social media? How do you overcome them?
Let's break them down in this article, shall we?
1. Choosing the right social media platform
Are you going for the 6 seconds video marketing on Vine? Or maybe, constantly publishing videos on YouTube? How about content and social marketing?
Small businesses doesn't have the budget like those big boys do. Business owners probably need to form out additional money just to participate in the rat race using Facebook ads.
Sounds familiar, right?
So, which is the best social media platform for small business?
Solving this social media challenge is simple. Business owners need to 'F-O-C-U-S' and this means that "Follow One Course Until Success". Yes, this comes directly from the mouth of John Lee Dumas at Entrepreneur On Fire.
Focus on one platform (any platform of your choice) and find ways to master it. Don't even think of changing to another social platform until you have completely leverage the true power of that social media platform.
And on the side, allow me to introduce Kabbage. It offers small business loans that could allow entrepreneurs to grow their business in various ways. Business owners could use this working capital loan to increase their budget for more effective social media marketing.
2." I don't have enough time to manage social media" type of mindset
Time is the holy grail for any business owners and entrepreneurs and it is a no brainer that this is one of the biggest challenges faced by businesses in social media.
Sure, social media takes a lot of your time daily and you have a business to run. Managing one-single social media account (process of engaging with your followers) takes forever -- hours and hours of hard work.
And you're pretty sure you can make more money selling whatever your products are than just doing social media.
Don't bother answering. I know it's true!
The way to solve this challenge in social media is simple: Use social media automation tools.
There are free social media management tools like Hootsuite that allows you to schedule posts at anytime you want, across several social media accounts at once. Spend 30 minutes a day on scheduling and you can literally 'escape' from the hectic life in social media.
If you are managing a medium-sized business, there are premium tools such as Sprout Social that offers more features and capabilities to manage your social media accounts like a professional. Plus, saving you thousands of dollars in hiring social media manager or agencies for the job.
3. How do I create a social media marketing plan for my business?
- How do you know if you are having the best strategy for your business?
- How do I find the right target audience for social media marketing?
- Is measuring success important?
Questions, questions and more questions. These are the questions that will be lingering in your mind especially when you are creating your own social media plan for your business.
Need some advise? Here's how business owners can solve this problem:
Step 1: The power of clarity for your business goals
If you want to be successful in social media, be really clear in your business goals. What's your goal in using social media?
Is it for branding, improve visibility, increase sales or gain more followers?
The clearer and more specific you are with your business goals, the higher the chances are for you to create a good social media strategy that fits with your business. Trust me.
Step 2: Understand your audience
How well do you know your audience? Social media marketing is not about the sheer numbers; it is all about understanding your audience. Knowing where they are and what interests them will provide better ROI (return of investment) in any social media plan that you have.
Why is this a common challenge business owners face in social media? They are targeting the masses, not specific audience who are potentially your future customers.
Step 3: Start developing a social media strategy for business
This can only be done once Step #2 is done. A no-brainer, right?
You know who your potential customers are and where they love to 'hang out' in. The next step?
Create a social media plan and engage with them. Always focus in being a solution instead of adding to the problem.
Step 4: Analyze everything
The last step is fairly simple ... but time consuming. Analyze what works and what doesn't. Take the opportunity to change and adapt to changes.
That's how you and your business can grow in social media marketing.
4. Is paid advertising on social media worth it?
Yes - they - do.
With proper strategy, you can literally turn one time visit from Facebook (for example) into a loyal customer through advertising.
Sure, paid social media advertising is optional and you can still survive without it -- but life will get harder for you.
If you want to 'get out' of this popular challenge business owners face in social media, then ask yourself if you are affordable for it. If you've the additional funds for marketing, it has absolutely no harm to use at least $20 a day on social.
Here's an example of how Post Planner uses $20 a day using Facebook ads.
5. What is the best time to tweet or post an update on social media?
The answer? It varies depending on the social media platform that you are focusing on. Knowing the best time to tweet or post an update could increase your engagement, triple fold.
But how do you solve this common challenge business owners face in social media?
Knowing your audience (geographical data) and using the right tools will help in this case.
Most social media platforms provide geographical data (either simplified or detailed) for users to use. For example, there's Twitter analytics report and Facebook Insights. These are absolutely free tools that will provide you important information which will make or break your social marketing strategy.
And if you are a social tool fanatic like me, there's also Hootsuite analytics reports which you can extract at anytime (CLICK HERE to get a free 30-days unlimited access to Hootsuite Pro).
If you are struggling with social media, don't worry; you're not alone. I started my own business and got right into the social media mess. But trust me, challenges small businesses face in social media is easily resolved with some strategies set in advance.
And don't look further. The above 5 are social media strategies you can start working on right now!
Leave a comment below and tell me what you think. Feel free to add more social media challenges that business owners will face too!
Related read: How expensive is digital marketing as a startup? Read more.