For small business owners, there are plenty of social media "pains" that can hinder an effective social media presence. Here are a few tips for overcoming these obstacles.
#1: Time: Don't try to do it all
Small business owners often wear many hats and tend to push marketing - including social media - to the bottom of their to-do list.
By setting small goals, you can slowly build social media into your daily routine. Remember, a strong social media presence doesn't require participating in every one of the zillion different networks available. Rather, start by selecting the medium that resonates most with your target audience. (Two examples: If you seek professional referrals, target LinkedIn. If you want to show off your retail store, start posting photos on Facebook.)
#2: Engagement: Don't sell, but converse
Social media is not traditional one-way advertising. Pushing sales messages - and expecting the audience to flock - won't work.
Social media is about building relationships and starting conversations. Small business owners must discover their niche and Unique Selling Proposition (USP) ... then determine how to generate brand awareness by offering stimulating and insightful content.
#3: Budget: Consider the cost of time, not just money
Social media is not really free. In fact, the costs are of the highest value: time! Many realize they need to hire help, but also realize it's costly. Many decide against it, especially those who feel that marketing is not a "necessity."
You may consider this a plug for my own business, but take it for what it is: outsourcing social media duties can provide an effective presence without the costs of hiring an employee.
#4: Transparency: Be a person, not just a brand
Small business owners are much better at achieving transparency than those in the corporate sector. However, if a business owner doesn't understand engagement, it's possible that transparency is lost as well.
The social media audience wants to see the people behind the brand. Therefore, it's time to remove those filters and humanize your business. What makes YOU unique? What do you enjoy? What are your fears and dreams? These are questions we can all relate to, regardless of whether we can identify with your product or service.
What obstacles have you faced? Are there barriers you've overcome and can share?