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Why social media fails for small business

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: August 4, 2013 10:56PM



The undeniable fact is social media is here to stay. To ignore social media may just begin the end of your business especially if your competitors are engaged in this inbound marketing strategy.

Just as in life, there are many reasons why social media fails for small business owners, C Suite executives and sales professionals. Having engaged in social media for more than 8.5 years, I believe the following five reasons are why social media fails for so many.

1. Captain Wing It Behaviors: Years ago a dear friend and colleague, Bill Napolitano, wrote a story about Captain Wing It. He was gracious enough to allow me to include it in my book, “Be the Red Jacket.” The essence of this story is engaging in spraying one’s actions all over the place and then praying something will stick.

Captain Wing It behaviors can be attributed to any of the following:

• No overall strategic business plan including sales and marketing

• No clearly identified ideal customer, ideal buyer or ideal client

• The absence of discipline as a self-leadership talent

• The lack of clarity regarding purpose, vision, values and current mission

• Reactive instead of proactive behaviors

2. Ego Reigns: No one likes a pushy salesperson. Social media is a two-way street. Unfortunately, many believe it is a one-way street for them to push their messages, buy this, attend that, read my blog, etc. They fail to actively engage with those who may be reading their Tweets, Facebook messages, LinkedIn updates, blog postings, etc. The ego reigns. “It’s all about me,” resonates so strongly potential buyers are turned off instead of being turned on.

3. Boring Content: Social media is about engagement through interesting content. From insightful quotations to up to the minute current business events, there is a plethora of great content to be shared. If your content is boring, dull, then engaging readers is very difficult. Your goal is to be the go to person (think content curator) where people are actively seeking out your content.

4. Inconsistent Presence: Social media is not “be there today and adios for the next 30 days.” With all the people using social media, you must be active and consistent in your marketing presence. There are free tools such as Hoot Suite to allow you to schedule daily updates to your social media accounts.

5. Immediate Results: Social media like any marketing strategy takes time. A slow and steady wins the sales race approach is far better. People buy from people they know and trust. For people to know and begin to trust you takes time. To expect an increase in sales overnight is just plain unrealistic.

My suggestion is to review these five reasons as to why social media fails and determine if you may need to rethink your social media marketing strategies.

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