You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again: your business needs to be actively engaged on social media if you want to thrive in today’s marketplace. That’s great for major corporations with big budgets and plenty of resources, but what do you do if you’re a small business with limited resources and limited time? The good news about social media marketing is that you can achieve a lot without spending too much. But there are also many pitfalls you can fall into that will end up costing you valuable time and money if you’re not careful.
One of the major advantages of social media marketing is that most of the tools are free to use. Anyone can have a Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Google+ account provided they have an email address. There are also social media management tools like HootSuite that provide a basic package for free or a premium package for a low monthly fee. This means that anyone can get into the social media game for next to nothing.
The main problem with social media, however, is not the cost of the tools, but the time it takes to use them. This is where your business will have to seriously consider if certain social networks are worth being a part of or not. Take Twitter, for example. If you don’t have the time to tweet multiple times a day, then Twitter might not be for you. Social media users expect to see a fresh flow of content that is being continually updated, and failing to provide them with that can have a negative impact on your brand.
Many businesses with limited resources will hire independent contractors to handle all of their social media for them. This is a great way to ensure that you have an effective social media presence even if you don’t have the resources to handle it yourself. But when hiring contractors, you can easily end up spending upwards of $10,000 a month to keep up a blog, a Twitter account, a YouTube account, a Facebook account, and more. Is this really something that your business can afford?
Instead of trying to keep up a dozen different social media accounts when you don’t really have the time or the budget to do so, it may be best to figure out which areas you want to focus on and do those well. Consider which demographics you want to reach. Find out which social media tools they use most and do an awesome job of representing your brand across those platforms.
Social media marketing can be fun and it can be effective, but if you’re doing it wrong it can also be a colossal waste of time. And as with many other areas of marketing, going after a niche market means that you can often see a higher return coming from a smaller investment.