10 Obstacles to Your Social Media Success

My name is Frithjof Petscheleit, and I coach small business owners on how to be successful with their social media and content marketing. In this episode, I want to talk about some of the objections new clients often have that hold them back from building a working social media presence.

I realized that a lot of my clients are struggling because their blog, Facebook page, Instagram account….. wasn’t showing the amazing success they thought they should. So they wanted to give up.

What we learn from this is important. Many of us give up before even trying. I often hear objections like “I don’t have time” “I’m really a very private person,” “I’m not technical,” “I’m overwhelmed,” “My customers are not on social media”……

In this podcast, I want to talk to you about these objections.

I invite you to listen and let me know what you think.

I am building a course with the working title of “How to Finally Make Social Media Work” (to be released next May). If you would like to help me with this, please email me at [email protected] and tell me about the things that hold you back.

One tip to start:

A few years ago I purposely stopped saying “I will try doing _____.” Today I do things, or I don’t. The difference is my mindset in this. If I try something, it’s much easier to back out. In fact, we often have the thought of failing in our mind when we try something. If we “do” and fail it hurts more, but that’s because we believed we could make it. It hurts more, but we learn more.

do or do not

“I don’t have time”

There is always so much on the to-do list, and sometimes it seems like more tasks appear on the list than we can take off. There is very little we can change about that. What we can change is how we prioritize the importance of the work.

Here is where social media and content creation often gets the short end of the stick. It just seems more important to do the other things in our business or life first and then, when we have some time, post something on Facebook because we heard that we are supposed to. This strategy can only succeed if you have super-human powers.

The mind-shift:

Social Media is not a “nice to have” it’s an essential part of customer service. Not making time for serving your audience on social is like leaving your store closed for another hour because you have more important things to do than to serve those few customers waiting at the door. Contrary to old-school marketing, you have to be present every day. Consistency is the key to success. It’s very similar to other areas of your business. If you don’t order any merchandise or materials, you are soon going to run out of things to sell. If you are not serving your online audience you are missing out on a huge potential for new customers and, even worse, you are going to lose the customers you already won over to the competition that serves them every day.

Social Media is not a marketing task – it’s customer care.

Focus on being helpful rather than making the next sale. The effect will be a more engaged online audience, increased trust and more customers and sales. I have seen it, and my students that put it in practice have seen the results first hand.

Action steps:

  1. Pick one social media channel (Facebook, Email, Blog, Instagram….) you already have.
  2. Dedicate at least 15 minutes every day creating at least one helpful or entertaining piece of content
    1. share a resource
    2. share a picture from your store or your private life
    3. share a funny meme

Don’t even think of “saving time” yet, don’t go running to find the next shiny tool to post to multiple networks or schedule a week in advance.

I challenge you to do this every day for a month! Tell me how it went, please.

If you still can’t find any time, pick one task you do every day and postpone that one until you have shared something on social.

“Easier said than done – I still don’t have time”

Ok, I talked about making “connecting with your audience on social media” a priority, and I stand behind that!

I know that that is easier said than done too. I want to talk about some more practical ways we can do social on a regular basis.

  1. If you are struggling with doing regular daily updates on social media, stop doing it all. Pick one platform (ideally the one most of your customers use) that you feel comfortable using. Do NOT fall into the trap of posting the same update to multiple platforms.
  2. Make time for social during the day.

15 minutes in the morning – creating one new post, checking conversations on previous posts and responding to them.

10 minutes at lunch to check what happened, browse through your stream, read what other people are doing and comment.

10 minutes at night – repeat.

  1. Schedule ahead.
    A lot of people that are overwhelmed don’t know that they can schedule their posts in advance. In your Facebook Page for example: when you are creating a post, you see the “Publish” button. If you click the arrow button beside it, you can schedule your update. This way you can stay a few days or even six months ahead.
    Don’t forget what you scheduled though! Make sure that you change things that may become outdated and make sure that someone is available to answer any comments your post might get.

Let me know if you have any questions about scheduling.

“Posting frequency and don’t believe everything the gurus tell you!”

“How often do I post?” is one of the most popular questions we social media people get asked. The best answer is as usual, “It depends.” It depends on your audience and your page and your goals and your style and many other factors.

I have the advantage of administering several Facebook pages for clients and my own. I frequently test how many updates I post, what they contain and when I post them. Spoiler alert – for most of these pages 3 – 4 times per day seems to work best at least for retail pages.

I can just see the sweat over your eyebrows 🙂 This doesn’t mean you have to do the same. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you should compromise quality over quantity. But it also means that you should not worry about overwhelming your audience too much. The algorithm takes care of that. To learn more about what an algorithm does, please go to my blog: https://www.businessbluebird.com/algorithm-bluebir…

I know this is not what you hear from other social media experts. Every once in a while a big name in the industry published a study that figures out that you should only post once a day. Then a lot of other social media experts jump on it thinking that’s what you want to hear.

My advice: Test a variety of post types and frequencies and times for at least a month or two and see what works.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Test a variety of post types, frequencies and times for at least a month or two and see what works” quote=”Test a variety of post types, frequencies and times for at least a month or two and see what works”]

How much entertainment value do your posts have?

It doesn’t matter what kind of page you have; I believe you should provide variety to your audience. Of course, you want to inform people about your own products and services, but that gets boring quickly. Remember that your audience consumes a huge amount of content every day. Few see your whole stream after the initial visit.

I like to post a mix of Information and entertainment. The interesting thing I found is that sprinkling humour into your content works wonders. I consistently start off every day with a humorous post.

You will never hear me suggest that you can “hack” the algorithm. But knowing how it works is important. On many days this funny post early in the morning gets the most likes and shares.

The results are a win-win:

  • I made someone smile
  • Facebook counts the reaction as an indication that this user liked my content and is more likely to show my next post as well

How do I find all these funny posts? I liked some Facebook pages with this kind of content. So my stream serves up a steady supply of suggestions and I “save” them to be able to access them when I schedule my posts.

So, add some humour to your stream and see what happens.

Sharing is Caring

Some business owners seem to think they have to do it all alone. Looking at their stream, they share only their own content. That’s fine if you have a lot of time to create new content all the time or you have the budget to hire content creators.

Chances are you don’t have that. But I challenged you to post more content…

The solution is to share other people’s content. Make your page a go-to resource for your topic. Share industry news, anything related to your topic. If you have a local business, you can also share what is going on around you. Are you or your staff involved in any charity projects? This is a great chance to humanize your stream and to show that you care.

Sharing is not stealing.

Copyright infringement is a serious crime, and sadly too many people take it too lightly. Others go to the opposite extreme and will not share what they don’t “own.”
Social Media has made it technically easy to share all types of content and we want to see our message shared. Some of my clients are very afraid to plagiarize.

Copying a piece of content, be it text, images, videos or software and claiming it as your own is stealing. Sharing the same material with a clear link to the source is totally fair, and one of the main ways information spreads on the Internet.

If you are writing an article and you want to quote a source, it’s usually fine to take one or two sentences from the article and post it as a quote. But always with a clear link and mention back to the original article. If you want to share a whole passage or a full article it is expected that you contact the content creator and ask for permission.

Clear as mud? Please feel free to ask me for my opinion in any specific case.

Share away – remember, you are doing your audience and the content creator a favour.

“I have nothing to say”

“I just do my job; I have nothing to say” is one of the most common objections I hear from business owners. This is directly related to the most common reason their social media activities don’t return any results.

There is nothing more boring than a Facebook page that is only about yourself! There is a fundamental flaw in how many people see social media. For a few decades now we have been trained to think that people buy products or services because advertising tells them to. Social media is changing this, and we have to wake up to this.

Hands-on tip: Turn your thinking around 180 degrees. Stop thinking that your Facebook (insert any other social network) is about your brand and selling stuff. Your Facebook page is there to serve your customers.

With this in mind, you are free to think differently

  • What is interesting to my audience?
  • What information do they need to make an informed decision?
  • How can I/we become a resource?

Stop talking about your business all the time. Of course, you want to tell people about your services and the newest sale, but that should be the exception.

You also don’t have to create all the content yourself! Share related articles, content from related businesses, your favourite charity, your community, your own life (scary I know). Be a resource to your customers!

I have seen it over and over again – once you make this shift to serving your customers first and continue for a couple of months the following things happen:

  • Your customers begin to respond to your posts
  • Your customers mention your social media posts in the store
  • Customers come to you instead of the competition
  • You get more fun and satisfaction from your work on social

It’s called Social Media for a reason

Social Media is a huge opportunity for small businesses to stand out from the competition of the larger brands. With everyone being connected and being able to check offers instantly we usually can’t compete on price anymore. But o ur larger competitors are often so large that they struggle to build a personal connection to the customer.

Here is where small businesses have the advantage. People want to buy from people the know, like and trust. Being present on social media sites helps nurture these connections. The biggest benefit is that you can reach more people on social media than you can ever talk to in your business in person.

Do you remember the last time you called a support hotline for help? It probably left you frustrated because you had a hard time getting a clear answer after spending a long time waiting for a support person to answer your call. Consumers are frustrated with this and are looking for better ways to connect with you. Social media channels are the natural choice for this because we already spend so much time there and they are more personal than looking up a contact form on a website and having to wait for 48 hrs for an answer that may never come.

This is your chance to stand out – be social!

  • Make sure the settings on your social media platforms are set to receive messages. Customer inquiries are not a bother; they are an opportunity to provide an awesome customer experience.
  • Make sure you have alerts set to tell you as soon as someone leaves a comment or a message. For me, it works best if I get these alerts on my phone. Others prefer to be alerted by email. All major social media tools have settings for this.
  • Check in on a regular basis. Especially if you hire someone to handle your social, make sure you frequently check for messages and comments. These are opportunities for you to learn what is important for your customers.
  • Leave no comment unanswered. The second most important reason why many social media pages don’t get results is the fact that comments are left unanswered. When I take over a page for a client and start interacting with the fans, engagement, reach and results go up. It often takes a few months, but eventually, people learn that there is a real person on the other end. Click “like” on every single comment left on your Facebook page. Answer every mention on Twitter, like every (non-bot) comment on ..

Answer every message you receive on social media! Connect with your customers as a person and stand out from your competition.

Doing all the things

Let’s explore the reasons why many are hesitant to commit to social media fully.

I have seen it over and over again. People go to an event, watch a webinar or read an article by a guru that tells them that they NEED to be on this or that social channel.

Of course, there is Facebook (usually the most logical place to start), but LinkedIn might make sense, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and even Snapchat all seem to offer opportunities. And these are only the most common ones. There are specialty sites and smaller tools that may be a good fit.

This problem has always been difficult to navigate. Years ago many gurus suggested to simply use a tool to post the same stuff to all channels and hope for the best. Fortunately, you don’t hear that much anymore because this method is rarely successful.

All the social media channels have a following because they are attractive to a larger group of users. So theoretically all of them are good places to be present. But the other side of the equation is you! Are you able to spend the time and creative energy to build a community on all those channels? If you do – go for it! Most of us don’t have this amount of energy.

There are two ways to deal with this dilemma:

  • Hire someone that has experience working all the channels
  • Select one or two and use them well

Most of my clients don’t have the time to do all the things, and few have the budget to hire an agency to “do all the things.”

Pick one or two tools that your target audience uses and that you are comfortable with. Create consistent quality content there and engage with your followers. Once you are comfortable doing this on a daily basis, branch out and start another one.

What is social media tool your go-to?

“Social Media is not in my personality”

One reason for not being active on social media I hear often is: “I’m really a very private person.” I think in many cases this statement comes from a misconception we get from reports of people oversharing or bad things that happen because of careless use of social media. However, I think these stories are getting too much attention because they provide a wonderful excuse not to learn new skills.

seth godin quote

If you have followed my content for a while, you know that being successful on social media is more about learning the skills and serving your audience than about your personality. There are many things we don’t like to do in our businesses. Who likes bookkeeping? I know very few people that enjoy sales…

That’s where we have to use our “adulting” skills. You might choose, not to share your latest vacation photos on your Facebook profile. That doesn’t mean that you can’t share valuable content to your business Facebook page or connect with your audience on other social media channels. I know quite a few people that are scared of Facebook and feel more comfortable in the more “professional” LinkedIn culture. If this is you, go for it. Spend your time on LinkedIn, find out what works there and use the skills learned to serve your audience on the other networks later.

If nothing helps, you might want to consider hiring someone to manage your social media channels. Even then, don’t look for someone that “does” your social (for cheap) but find someone you trust will involve you, work with you to find the right tone and match your social media activity to your overall brand.

I originally based my whole business on managing social media for companies. Even today, when I do so many other things and teach people how to do my job, I offer outsourced social media services. Let me know if you want to know more about this.

What if you are shy?

I like public speaking and teaching. I also need a lot of time to myself, I hate large groups and can’t work in crowded places. I’m not good at small talk either. I don’t think I’m shy in the traditional sense. I am, what is called an “Outgoing Introvert.” It’s a thing – google it 🙂 .

Some of my students list “I’m a shy person” as a reason not to be on social media. If you read yesterday’s email, you know that one answer to this is to “get over it.” But there is more.

Social Media is a way for us introverts to connect to people and our quiet voices to be heard. See, introverts don’t hate people – we just don’t get energy from crowds. We get our energy from the quiet spaces we seek out. Communicating from our computer or device gives us the opportunity to be in this quiet space and still reach the world.

Yes, it is easier for a chatty person to come up with funny and cheery content. But introverts are often the best bloggers and creators of in-depth content. The other skills are some that can be learned.

Yes, doing a live-stream video appearance is more difficult for a person that likes to hide behind the keyboard, but it is a lot easier to provide quality educational content in these sessions if your personality doesn’t lead you to posting so much fluff. (Can you tell I’m biased?)

Whatever you do, be yourself and you will find that there are many people out there that appreciate your quiet voice. Social Media gives your quiet voice a chance to be heard.

Introverts unite! Separately in your own homes.

I hope I helped you overcome some of your obstacles to being more effective with your social media presence in this episode.

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