6 Biggest Small Business Social Media Time Wasters

Social Media Time WastersSocial media sites like Facebook and Twitter offer a wealth of opportunities to businesses that are willing to take advantage of them. Yet, they also present a significant danger; if your social media strategy isn’t well-defined and efficient, you can spin your wheels trying to make headway in the social media space.

Accordingly, there are some specific types of activities that offer very little return on a huge time investment in social media. Here are some of the biggest social media time wasters you’re likely to encounter:1. Marketing to everyone. 

There are very few products that appeal to every consumer, and those products that do tend to have very saturated marketplaces. The fact of the matter is you have a target audience in social media just like you do in all of the rest of your marketing efforts. Having 10,000 Facebook fans of whom 200 are likely to buy your product isn’t nearly as effective (and takes much more effort) than having 1,000 fans, of whom 500 are likely to buy your product. Target your social media efforts specifically to those people who are likely to buy.

2. Over-promoting your products. 

Some businesses jump into social media with near-constant updates. Unfortunately, if those updates only ever promote your products, you’re going to see very little in the way of results. Simply spamming your Twitter feed with links to your website is a great way to lose followers fast. People don’t follow you on social media so that you can fill up their streams with ads; they follow you because they think you have something of value to add to the conversation. And at its root, social media is a conversation. If you’re not saying anything other than “look at me,” don’t be surprised when people start to ignore you.

3. Arguing with customers. 

Not only is this a waste of time, it’s also very poor marketing tactics. If someone comes to your Facebook page to say just how unhappy they are with your product or service, the last thing you want to do is get into an argument with them. Even if you’re right, it will still cost you business. Instead, make good use of your social media platform to go above and beyond the call of duty in regard to customer service. Identify how you can fix the customer’s problem, and everyone else who’s watching the exchange will see just how committed to customer satisfaction you are.

4. Direct messages. 

Social media is meant to reach out to all of your customers and potential customers. If you’re communicating at length with just one person, you’re not maximizing your return. While there are instances in which a brief private exchange can be useful, try to turn as many private conversations public as you can (with the other party’s permission, of course). Chances are good that whatever is on one person’s mind is on several people’s minds.

5. Becoming distracted. 

The fact of the matter is that most small businesses don’t hire a social media expert. They log onto Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn several times a day to make posts or interact with people. During that process, it’s easy to become distracted. There are interesting links, fun games, and more. Try to keep your “fun” social media time separate entirely from your business social media time. You don’t want to waste an hour playing Farmville when there are potential customers out there waiting for your message

6. Using multiple social media sites. 

For the vast majority of small businesses, it just makes sense to focus in on a single social media site and concentrate your efforts there. Sure, you can have a Twitter feed that hooks into a Facebook page, but ultimately you need to choose one medium in which to convey your message. This has a lot to do with your product, of course. If you operate primarily in a business-to-business model, then LinkedIn might be a good place for you to connect with potential customers. On the other hand, if you have very visual products you might want to turn to Facebook. If you have short, regular updates, Twitter is the better medium. Pick one and devote all of your social media efforts there rather than spreading yourself thin.

Making the most of social media for your small business means developing an effective strategy. Make sure that all of your social media activities serve to implement that strategy, and stay focused on activities that yield results.

How do you avoid social media time wasters?

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About the Author: Dominique Molina is President of the CertifiedTaxCoach.org, a professional membership organization that provides the most comprehensive tax training in the industry and many resources such as valuable accounting templates and a tax-specific engagement letter template.
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