Credit: Social media

Credit: Social media

Social Media Challenges For Small Businesses and How to Solve Them

Taking part in social media is no longer an option for small businesses – it has become an extremely important factor towards their success.

Currently there are more than 365 million live blogs on the internet, and many small businesses across all industries are finding it difficult to complete to get their business blog noticed.

There are many challenges that a small business or a sole trader has to face, and some have found their social media efforts to be either frustrating, or a waste of their valuable time that could be better spent elsewhere.

Whether or not a business owner had dabbled on Facebook or Twitter, some will still think that social media is only for those businesses with a large marketing budget, or who can afford to employ extra staff to dedicate to it. Many also think that investing either time or money into it is not a sound marketing strategy, or may not even be a viable option for them.

Quite often small business owners will start out using a platform that is probably not the best one for their particular business. But how do you know which is the best one?

Each platform does require a different approach, so it can often be how comfortable you feel with your approach to promoting your business rather than simply choosing the most popular platform.

You may prefer the brevity of the 140 character limit on Twitter, and be very happy running your social media campaigns geared with this in mind. However, this same approach will not work nearly as well when applied to Facebook.

What if your business is very visual? Maybe you create and sell fine art commissions, or you are a sculptor or some other creative. Your business may be more suited to Pinterest or Instagram rather than constantly plugging away at Twitter in the hope of attracting interest. You may even find a combination of two platforms works better than putting all your focus on one.

Who are your customers, and where are they?

Far too many owners or managers will jump into social media without really thinking about it. The problem with this approach is when you have been slogging your guts out for a while only to see very little uptake for all your efforts. The main reason for this is that you are probably active on a site where your customers do not frequent very often, if at all.

Before you even launch your business online, you should at least take some time to work out who your target audience is, what they like, and where they will most likely be found hanging out. Identifying and locating your potential customers is probably the most important step, closely followed by working out what will attract them over to your business.

What attracts your customers?

Everyone likes a bargain, right? So you can test the waters by offering discount codes, flash sales, loyalty bonuses etc. see which approach works better and simply rinse and repeat.

But what if your customers are more choosy, and they prefer quality over price? If you have a product or service that is consistently high quality, will people buy it regardless of price? This is where you can concentrate of getting outstanding customer feedback that will encourage new prospective clients or customers to take a leap of faith to buy from you. Ensuring you have impeccable customer service and after sales care set up will win you a loyal following regardless of how much you sell your product or service for.

Time management strategies to keep on top of social media

Probably the most used excuse for small businesses not taking an active role on social media is the time factor. Many owners and managers still believe that you have to spend hours glued to a computer screen to make their presence felt.

According to a report published by Business Insider, most people will spend on average around 40 minutes browsing social media sites each day. Obviously, the time of day will vary from person to person according to their lifestyle and daily routine, so targeting your prime audience can be a little tricky sometimes.

For start-up and small businesses, time constraints are one of the most challenging factors faced each day. There is no guarantee that you will be Tweeting your latest content at the exact time your target audience is online, and no business owner will want to work into the evenings spending time on social media.

The solution? Find out which platforms your customers most likely hang out on, and the best time to find them there. Schedule your posts to go out at peak times and days to attract a decent following – use free social media tools to do this. Engage with your followers- ask them questions, ask for their opinions, ask them to choose their favourite item from your shop or range and ask them why it is their favourite – engage with your followers!

Analyse your results after a month or six weeks to see what is working. Amend your activity to appeal more to your followers to keep them engaged and happy. Only when you have a loyal and interested following should you consider selling to them.

Keep up to date with all the latest news and changes to algorithm reporting on your social media sites. It helps to have an understanding of how algorithms work to make the best use of your results. There are plenty of free guides available online, so take a little time to learn about these before you leap in.