The Biggest Mistake Small Business Owners Make With Social Media

Do you struggle with how to effectively market your business on Facebook? Have you spent a lot of time on Twitter (or any other social media sites) and just aren’t seeing any results?

I talk with a lot of clients who struggle to understand what actual role social media should play in their marketing, so you’re not alone! Today I’m going to share with you the biggest mistake I see being made in social media marketing. If you’ve failed to get any meaningful results so far, there is a very good chance this single tip can set you directly on the path to getting the huge results you’d love to see!

First, let’s get the facts straight. Why even bother with social media if it’s not worth our time, correct? If you’ve wondered about whether social media marketing is a good choice for your business, here are a few facts that you may not know:

  1. The number of profiles on Facebook is climbing steadily towards 1 billion. Really, there’s a very good chance that every client or customer you’ll ever work with for the entire duration of your career…is ALREADY on Facebook.
  2. Internet users now spend more time using Facebook than they do using Google. Time = Attention. Attention is what we try to get with traditional media, and it is very expensive. Meanwhile, Facebook has more attention than anyone. Yet it remains free for the most part, and it remains one of the most affordable advertising options online as well.
  3. Twitter isn’t just a bunch of people talking about what they had for lunch today. It has been used as a launching pad for several best-selling authors and multi-million dollar companies.
  4. Savvy Twitter users often get MORE sales from Twitter than they do from expensive, traditional marketing campaigns.

So, if business owners all over the world are using social media to build significant sales, why can’t you too? The answer is you can!

Are You Spinning Your Wheels?

Yet I see many professionals and small biz owners spinning their wheels and not getting nearly the results they could be getting. Why does this happen? Certainly, there are a number of things you can tweak to improve your efforts, but I want to share the biggest mistake I see out there all the time.

The Biggest Mistake We Make In Social Media Marketing…

I’ll use real estate as a specific example, because I know that business really well and have a good number of clients in the real estate business also. Go to any real estate professional’s Facebook page, and take note of which groups they’ve joined. They’re mostly real estate groups, aren’t they? Then, go take a look at their list of friends. They’re mostly other real estate professionals, aren’t they? I see this over and over again, and if you think about it, it makes sense.

As a real estate professional, they’re naturally going to gravitate to others in that field. It’s edifying. It’s interesting. It helps you learn about your business. It also, importantly, does NOTHING to market your business to the people who are actually going to buy from you! This example is true in real estate, but it also applies 100% to any industry. We’re all guilty of it.

There is nothing wrong at all with using Facebook to network with others in your field. But do this with the knowledge that this is NOT your target market. If you want Facebook to be a networking tool, that is fantastic. If you want to use it to sell more, you need to be spending the majority of your time engaging and talking with potential clients and past clients! It’s really as simple as that.

If you’re a locally-based business, search for groups with the name of your city in them. It will likely turn up a lot of results, and you can join them, meet and talk with people in your community and begin building relationships with people that will actually buy from you. If you’re not bound by any geographic concerns (such as a business like mine where I can just as easily work with a client in Australia as I can work with someone here at home), find groups, forums and discussions that interest your prospects. Quite simply…don’t get sucked into the trap of only talking with others in your field. Simple, no?

Bonus Mistake

A second mistake I see most commonly in the social media world is when marketers fail to offer free items as a promotion. Look at this page, which is one of the highest conversion pages on Dangerous Tactics. It offers a free report in exchange for signing up for my email list. This page alone has generated well over 1,000 inquiries for me, and all I do is mention it on my social media sites every once in a while. No paid marketing, no SEO, no geeky tricks.

A page like this (known my most marketers as a “squeeze page”) won’t ever get much traffic from search engines, because there’s almost no actual content on the page. But people love to get free stuff, especially when it’s awesome. It’s kind of the perfect thing to offer to your contacts in the social media world.

Whether you’re running a personal profile on Facebook or a business page is fine. I’ve done both, and I personally have chosen to stick with a personal page because candidly, I just like it better. I understand I’m supposed to be using a business page for business stuff, but I’m just a hardcore rebel like that. LinkedIn is another great source of new leads for me. 2,000+ inquiries from LinkedIn in 2012, all from offering free gifts of various sorts to people. It works, people!

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