Where to Start with Social Media

Avoiding Impersonal Social Media Marketing

Why it’s important for Small Businesses to Avoid Impersonal Social Marketing

If you are a local business, professional or nonprofit organization social media marketing is one thing that you will want to get right into. Figuring out how to approach this highly trendy advertising strategy can be mind boggling. More often than not, the pressure to jump head-first into the social media multi-platform dashboard world can seem irresistible. In fact, one of the first things my clients will ask is, “Do you use Hootsuite or Spout?” without having a real idea for how these media platforms perform.

My feeling about multi-sharing platforms is;

  • They can be expensive (many require a monthly buy-in)
  • Multi-posting removes you from your community (taking the ‘social’ out of social media)
  • Followers don’t like being obviously ‘marketed’ to (causing you to lose followers due to boredom and lack of interest)
  • People can smell an advertising scheme a mile away
  • If your aim is to constantly share posts about what you’re selling with barking and repetitive come-ons, you may not get the results you’re anticipating

Depending on the social media account being posted to, when you don’t follow up with a personal visit to that site, you’re missing out on valuable opportunities to connect with your community (cheating yourself out of person-to-person and business-to-community marketing potential). With a small business it may not be necessary to implement a new page on every social media platform out there. It’s important to be selective about social media platforms and chose them based on the reach potential. It’s good to evaluate before jumping in, to get a feel for where your next client might be hanging out.

Where to start with social media marketing

Social media marketing hacks are all over the place, and easy to search up. In fact, I looked up multi-sharing platforms before writing this article and got completely bogged down in trial offers that were hard to click away from, I think I lost an hour of my life in the process.

My suggestion to small business clients is to keep it simple, with an eye on the personal connection (hence ‘social’ marketing). There is a real value to social media marketing that you won’t find in other marketing projects like print media, radio, television or email marketing. The best kind of social media marketing occurs when you can generate a conversation, and this only happens when you authentically monitor and connect with your community.

Where to Start Your Social Media

There are a ton of social platforms out there at any given time, but it’s important to start off with the basics. So, for most folks that means Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (if you have videos to share). These are the main platforms to share your content with, and they are easily setup and managed from a computer other digital device. Once these platforms are running smoothly, you can move onto other platforms.

Although it has classically catered to the younger crowd, Instagram is something that’s coming more and more into the forefront for all age groups. This fact makes it one of the platforms that needs to be taken more seriously. It works particularly well when a business routinely shares photos and/or if they have someone on staff who can create quality Instagram visual messages (usually a visual image containing a short message).

LinkedIn is another social platform that is working hard to be more relevant in the marketing scene. Originally launched as a way for professionals to connect with other professionals and/or to discover career opportunities, LinkedIn has changed dramatically over the past 5 years. The content shared by users now very rarely has anything to do with job openings. With a news feed that looks more like your standard Facebook feed, LinkedIn can be a good place to include weekly news posts. It's the best place to capture the attention of professionals and business management types that you might not be able to reach on other platforms. The only way you can do this however, is from a personal account (vs. a business account).

LinkedIn also has group and business-specific sections where you can post news, but honestly, I find those to be a drag to deal with – difficult to post content and hard to get attention, and something that seldom generates marketable interest. Hoping to capture some of the advertising dollars people spend on other platforms, LinkedIn does seem to be working to upgrade this experience. It might eventually have more to offer in this area at some point.

Putting the ‘Simple’ back in Social Media Marketing

Okay, so now we return to the notion of keeping social media marketing simple. What some businesses may not realize is that it’s fairly easy to coordinate multi-platform social sharing from a WordPress dashboard. In other words, when you write and publish an article from your website, it can be setup to automatically post to a wide selection of publishing and social media platforms (including most everything mentioned here). And, posts to Facebook can then be boosted directly to Instagram, and to their messenger app (if you chose).

Then, to keep it personal, I recommend small businesses follow an automatically generated post with a weekly check-in to their social media accounts. This makes it possible to style the post to better meet your objectives, and to recruit new followers (a necessary and never-ending task), reply to comments, and boost as budget allows. As a small business this process should take less than an hour a week.