Social Media Marketing Questions Plaguing Small Business Owners (Including some tough ones)


Social media marketing can seem intimidating, especially when you see how others are doing it. But, trust me, you don’t need to be an expert to succeed on social.

I’ve been using various social media platforms for years to help clients grow their businesses. I see a lot of questions on social media marketing so I’ve decided to answer some of them with this blog post – and address some less-talked-about realities of marketing on social media.

Later, I tackle some really hard questions that many entrepreneurs rightfully struggle with. Check it out:

1. What Are Vanity Metrics?

Vanity metrics are often easy to measure (follower count, for example) but have no actual bearing on the return on investment (ROI). Having 1,000,000 followers may look cool, but if you are not converting them to customers, or are having to pay to reach them, are they actually valuable?

Instead, focus on a more business-grounded metric like engagement, conversion, or sales.

Speaking of follower count, some often ask if it is okay to buy social media followers. NO! This is never okay. There is no shortcut. Don’t do it. Earn your followers. Buying followers never goes well.

2. How Do You Create a Social Media Strategy?

Similar to a business plan, a social media strategy outlines the business objectives and expectations of using social media. It serves as a single source of reference for you (and your team, if you have one) to keep everyone on the same page, moving in the same direction.

Each social strategy is different, as each brand has its own objectives. However, a well-rounded social media strategy will include at least a publishing schedule, content themes, goals and objectives (remember not to focus solely on vanity metrics), competitor analysis, market research, and target audience information.

This plan does not need to be overly complex. And don’t let it intimidate you – rather, think through what you want to do, how you want to do it, and who you want to reach. Fill in those blanks and start with that.

3. How to balance social media management and work/life balance

This is a hard question and a hard answer. It relies on your values – both as a person and a company. If you value you or employees having quality personal time, then your social media management needs to align with your value. Make your audience aware of your business hours (9am – 5pm EST) or select days on which you offer social media support. A lifesaver in these instances will be automation. It can be through Facebook (their Pages allow you to automatically “reply” to incoming messages via Messenger) or a chatbot. Your audience will appreciate the transparency,

For example: “Thank you so much for reaching out! I am a team of one, so I take some time away from social media each evening. I will see this tomorrow morning and get back with you as soon as possible.

If you are a larger company and 24/7 social media staffing is a requirement, then hire for those specific roles and openly discuss the expectations with your staff. One client of mine hires a staffer to be “on-call” to monitor incoming social media messages and mentions in the middle of the night. This is that employee’s “shift”, allowing the rest of the team – and my client – to enjoy time off.

4. How to schedule social media posts

Piggybacking on the previous point – maintaining your sanity on social media – I highly advocate for everyone to use some sort of social media scheduling tool. I recommend CoSchedule, Buffer, Publer, or HootSuite.

If you can, build up a month or two worth of scheduled content (remember to re-share your blog content, if you’ve enrolled in The Coach’s Guide to Content Marketing, you already know how to do this and probably have a year’s worth of content scheduled already) to alleviate the stress of having to post something on the spot.

5. What are the social media image dimensions?

As if we don’t have enough to think about, social media image sizes change pretty frequently. For 2021, HootSuite put this lovely graphic together as a cheat sheet.

6. What is Engagement Rate and how do I calculate or measure it?

Unlike vanity metrics (such as the number of followers you have), Engagement Rate can be used to determine how “on target” your content is. In fact, the fewer followers you have, the higher your on-brand social media content will perform. Because math.

Let’s take a look.

To calculate your engagement rate, take your post’s interactions (Likes, Shares/Retweets, Comments, etc) and divide that number by your audience size, then multiply by 100.

For example:

Total Engagements on a Post: 7
Total Audience / Followers: 500

  • 7 / 500 = 0.014
  • 0.014 * 100 = 1.4%
  • Engagement rate = 1.4%

7. How do I know what is working on social media

Generally, success on social media is defined by interactions (Likes, shares, comments, retweets, etc). A better measure is business-minded: are my efforts generating a return on investment (ROI)? If you are seeing consistent engagement with your posts, it is a sign your efforts are appreciated by your target audience. If your pay-per-click ads are generating clicks and conversations, you’ve done something well. If you hear walk-in customers rave about your latest post: great job! However, if you are not seeing any engagement, not converting followers to customers, or feel like your talking into outer space – it is time to reevaluate your efforts.

8. Is social media marketing worth it?

Similar – but kind of different – to the last question. It is easy to talk about engagement rate and pretend that is all that matters when it comes to social media success. But, there is far more to calculate for yourself. Don’t buy into the idea that one person’s definition of success should be the same as yours. Perhaps social media is not for you. Maybe you are not comfortable with it. Perhaps your audience is not on social media. It is important to question these assumptions and determine your own answer. (To be fair, I would argue that just because you are not comfortable with it doesn’t mean you should avoid it – learn to lean into it).

Think back to your own social media marketing strategy, compare that to the goals of your business. Are the two aligned? Are you doing social media because you feel pressured or because it is contributing to your business objectives?

Apple (the company worth more than 2 trillion dollars, as of this writing) infamously avoided social media. They didn’t need it. Their customers still purchased from them. Don’t feel pressured to do one more thing just because everyone else is doing it.

For you, seriously consider how success is defined. There may be alternative approaches to the traditional social media use case:

Conclusion

There are a lot of positives to social media marketing. There is also a lot to consider if you are a solopreneur, freelancer, coach, consultant, or small business. It is not a given that you must be active.

Always consider your own goals, objectives, and desired outcomes. Weigh everything else against that.

If you need to chat about how a social media strategy fits into your business, let’s talk.


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