Social media marketing overwhelm and how to combat it! (12 minute read)
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Social media marketing overwhelm and how to combat it! (12 minute read)

I’ve been looking into the latest research on marketing a Small Business on Social Media and am happy to share my findings with you in this blog post series:

In the previous two posts I’ve looked at whether or not social media marketing is useful for small businesses, which channels to focus on and how regularly the latest research recommends that we post content.

SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT OVERWHELM

If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed about the quantity of social media content required for your business, you’re not the only one! Even prolific social media users are becoming overwhelmed with the amount of content they are exposed to.

Social media overwhelm
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David Gee says the good news is that it has never been easier to reach large numbers of people with our marketing and messaging due to the proliferation of social media platforms and other marketing channels.

The bad news though is it has never been more difficult to actually connect with them…due to the proliferation of social media platforms and other marketing channels. (1)

According to GlobalWebIndex, social media has become the melting pot of all communications from peer-to-peer, to B2C and B2B… The endless variety of channels, brand communications and marketing on offer inevitably led to an over-saturated social media landscape. (2)

The Social Media Content Writing Guide suggests keeping posts short and sweet because social media users are already swimming in content. They’re scrolling fast through hundreds of informative and entertaining posts. (3)

Hello
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Capterra asks, how can one small business ever hope to break through all the Facebook traffic and find their potential customers? (4)

The Facebook Marketing Guide recommends changing our tactics and, instead of creating promotional content, businesses now need content that focusses on the community. Posts that are educational and entertaining, live video, and anything that generates hype (and therefore comments and shares) are all fair game. As is the promotion of long-form content, either third-party or first-party. (5)

But as Marcus Clarke says in his blog post on ‘How Top Marketers Avoid Social Media Overwhelm’, quality content that engages the viewer while being meaningful and interesting is rarely produced by a tired and stressed marketer.

One of the biggest factors in stress and anxiety is lack of planning, so the key to social media success is getting into a stable routine that takes up minimal time while producing optimal results. (6)

STRATEGY / PLANNING

Alexander Graham Bell knew what he was talking about when he said:

“Preparation is the key to success”!

The best way to avoid becoming overwhelmed by the amount of social media content we need to produce is to create a plan.

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We don’t want our social media marketing to become a distracting time suck, or even backfire by alienating customers and prospects, Gerri Detweiler warns in an article for Forbes. (7)

Quick Sprout agree that failure to have an effective social media strategy can be detrimental to your small business. (8)

The article “Social Media Don’ts for Small Business” advises that in order to build your network you must consider your customer’s needs and have a content strategy in place.

An unfocused approach that prioritises quantity of content over quality isn’t going to be successful. If it doesn’t provide value to your audience, they aren’t going to engage with you. (9)

Dow Social also recommend that we focus on consistency and quality of content rather than the volume. (10)

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Jonathan Goodman, a social media marketing expert who works with Fortune 500 companies, puts it another way:

“It is better to have 1,000 followers who know you than 10,000 who do not.

If you target everyone, even if they follow you back, chances are they are not going to buy a product from you.” (11)

So let’s take a minute to think about it. What Social Media Goals would you like to set for your business for the next 12 months?

John Jantsch, Business Marketing Consultant, Speaker, and Author of Duct Tape Marketing suggests that we should start with our top three marketing objectives, then evaluate how social media may help you achieve them.

Social media has to help you reach your objectives or you’re just wasting time.

Don’t think of social media as just a megaphone for your business, but think about how it can help you reach your goals. (12)

According to Sprout Social, 80% of social marketers said that their key strategy is to increase engagement across social channels. (13)

There are three main goals that Quick Sprout discovered small businesses are trying to accomplish: (14) 

Social media for small business goals

Hootsuite recommend creating goals that follow the SMART framework—they should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.

Base your goals on metrics that will have a real impact on your business, like acquiring customers or raising your conversions rate, rather than simply racking up likes. (15)

Typical social media goals from startuploans.co.uk include:

  • Attract customers – acquire new customers for your products and services.
  • Retain customers – get loyal customers to follow your social media accounts, rewarding their loyal behaviour with discounts or exclusive offers and competitions.
  • Promote awareness – get people with a large number of followers to endorse your company and raise brand awareness.
  • Deliver customer service – respond quickly to customers who post both positive and negative feedback on your social media accounts.
  • Share news, offers and promotions – generate excitement and news about your business, stories about your staff and bring your products to life with offers and special promotions. (16)

Above all, Joanna Michaels from Beyond Social Buzz says social media is like life. It’s about people. So don’t be that business that doesn’t follow anyone.

Be approachable. Be sociable. Introduce yourself. Start conversations. Ask questions. Share what you’re doing.

We’re not talking about your personal life. This can be all about business. What’s happening in your business? Do you have expertise and helpful information that you can share? What are your success stories? (17)

HOW TO STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD?

So once we have decided on our social media marketing goals, what next?

What content should we create that’s going to engage our audience on these saturated platforms?

How can we stand out from the crowd and achieve our business goals?

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Kedma Ough, “Small Business Superhero” speaker and small business consultant, recommends the personal touch.

He says it’s your personal brand first, and your job or business second. You need to convey your persona.

Get above the noise. Be different. You don’t have to wear a superhero costume like me, but in a world of social media noise you need to stand out and be remembered. (18)

What do the Marketers do? Sprout Social found that 61% of social marketers prioritise social media posts that teach. 58% focus on telling a story and 53% focus on posts that inspire. (19)

A recent study in the European Journal of Marketing found that Advertising workers represent marketing work as a series of fun yet constrained activities involving relationships with clients and colleagues. (20)

Another study was recently held to determine the distinct effects of informational, entertaining, remunerative and relational content on the passive and active engagement behaviour of social media users.

Their results revealed distinct effects of rational and emotional appeals on social media engagement behaviour.

Rational appeals in social media have a superior effect in terms of facilitating active and passive engagement among social media users, whereas emotional appeals facilitate passive rather than highly active engagement behaviour, despite the social and interactive nature of the digital media landscape. (21)

So it appears that if we want to actively engage our target audience, we should focus on ‘rational’ rather than ’emotional’ messages.

Pia Silva agrees, she says your business’ social media profiles are there to strengthen your position as an expert. To communicate and connect with fans and potential followers, it should be used to showcase your value. It is not a place to post about your new puppy or grandma’s 90th birthday (unless you are in the pet or elderly-care industries!). (22)

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Quicksprout warn not to post too many promotions, or it will cause people to unfollow you. In fact, 46% of consumers say they’ll unfollow brands that post too much promotional content. (23)

Jon Card agrees, in his Telegraph article “How should small businesses use social media in 2019?”, and suggests that entrepreneurs must focus on creating content that are…

“…engaging and drive conversations, as anything too promotional or salesy will be squashed.” (24)

Wordstream recommend trying a few different types of content and seeing what resonates well with your audience by driving the most impressions, engagements, and shares. (25)

Hootsuite sum it up well : – above all, be sure that your social posts offer value. If all you do is pitch and sell, there’s very little motivation for people to follow you.

Remember, social marketing is all about building relationships. Be human. Be honest. Provide great content. (26)

Be social
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Whatever content we produce, Small Business Trends recommend playing to your passions:

your content is bound to be more compelling and attractive if you have a deep and clear interest in the subject matter. (27)

All in all, to avoid getting overwhelmed by all the content we need to produce for our social media marketing, we should:

  • take time to create a plan that looks at our marketing objectives
  • then create measurable social media marketing goals
  • eg. “this month I will engage five new customers with my social media content”

We can achieve this by creating engaging posts that our audience will find valuable, that focus on business and drive conversations, while also networking and building our reputation by being sociable and adding value.

That all makes sense and I’m now excited to create a social media plan for my small business! I hope you are too?

But, I’m still a little unsure of what content to actually produce? Where can I go to get ideas for all this social media content I need to create?

In the next Blog I’m going to be looking at different types of social media content that we can use in our social media plans, and where we can look for fresh ideas to engage our ideal customers.

REFERENCES

Extra reading if you fancy delving down further into the research.

  1. Boosting brains – and building brands – online and off | Boating Industry, Boosting brains – and building brands – online and off, https://boatingindustry.com/top-stories/2019/06/10/boosting-brains-and-building-brands-online-and-off/
  2. The Progress of Social Media as a Social Tool – GlobalWebIndex, How ‘Social’ is Social Media?, https://blog.globalwebindex.com/chart-of-the-week/how-social-is-social-media/
  3. Social Media Content Writing Guide – IZEA, Social Media Content Writing Guide, https://izea.com/2019/06/10/social-media-content-writing/
  4. Social Media Marketing Tips for Small Businesses, 6 Social Media Marketing Tips for Small Businesses, https://blog.capterra.com/what-is-social-media-marketing-21-social-media-marketing-tips-for-small-businesses/
  5. Facebook Marketing: The Ultimate Guide to Facebook for Business : Social Media Examiner, Facebook Marketing: The Ultimate Guide to Facebook for Business, https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/facebook-marketing-ultimate-guide-facebook-business/
  6. How Top Marketers Avoid Social Media Overwhelm (and Get More Done), How Top Marketers Avoid Social Media Overwhelm (and Get More Done), https://www.postplanner.com/blog/how-top-marketers-avoid-social-media-overwhelm/
  7. 10 Expert Social Media Tips To Help Your Small Business Succeed, 10 Expert Social Media Tips To Help Your Small Business Succeed, https://www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2018/03/27/10-expert-social-media-tips-to-help-your-small-business-succeed/#56c03cfe14a1, Gerri Detweiler
  8. How to Effectively Market Your Small Business on Social Media, How to Effectively Market Your Small Business on Social Media, https://www.quicksprout.com/social-media-for-small-business/
  9. Social Media Don’ts for Small Business – Bizness Apps, Social Media Don’ts for Small Business – Bizness Apps, https://www.biznessapps.com/blog/social-media-donts-for-small-business/
  10. How Often You Should Post On Social Media Platforms [Updated 2018] – DowSocial, How Often You Should Post On Social Media Platforms [Updated 2018], https://dowsocial.com/how-often-you-should-post-on-social-media-platforms/
  11. Social Media Marketing for Small Business: The Ultimate Guide, Social Media Marketing for Small Business: The Ultimate Guide, https://www.fundera.com/blog/social-media-marketing-for-small-business
  12. 10 Expert Social Media Tips To Help Your Small Business Succeed, 10 Expert Social Media Tips To Help Your Small Business Succeed, https://www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2018/03/27/10-expert-social-media-tips-to-help-your-small-business-succeed/#56c03cfe14a1, Gerri Detweiler
  13. 65 Social Media Statistics to Bookmark in 2019 | Sprout Social, 65 Social Media Statistics to Bookmark in 2019, https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-statistics/
  14. How to Effectively Market Your Small Business on Social Media, How to Effectively Market Your Small Business on Social Media, https://www.quicksprout.com/social-media-for-small-business/
  15. How to Use Social Media for Small Business: 11 Simple Tips, How to Use Social Media for Small Business: 11 Simple Tips, https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-tips-for-small-business-owners/, Hootsuite
  16. Social media for small businesses | Start Up Loans, How to make social media work for your small business, https://www.startuploans.co.uk/business-advice/make-social-media-work-small-business/
  17. How to Master Social Media for Your Business – Beyond Social Buzz, How to Master Social Media for Your Business, https://beyondsocialbuzz.co.uk/how-to-master-social-media-for-your-business/
  18. 10 Expert Social Media Tips To Help Your Small Business Succeed, 10 Expert Social Media Tips To Help Your Small Business Succeed, https://www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2018/03/27/10-expert-social-media-tips-to-help-your-small-business-succeed/#56c03cfe14a1, Gerri Detweiler
  19. 65 Social Media Statistics to Bookmark in 2019 | Sprout Social, 65 Social Media Statistics to Bookmark in 2019, https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-statistics/
  20. Social representations of marketing work: advertising workers and social media | European Journal of Marketing | Vol 53, No 5, Social representations of marketing work: advertising workers and social media, https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/EJM-12-2016-0682
  21. Social media engagement behavior | A framework for engaging customers through social media content | European Journal of Marketing | Ahead of Print, Social media engagement behavior: A framework for engaging customers through social media content, https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/EJM-03-2017-0182
  22. When Social Media Is A Waste Of Time For Businesses, When Social Media Is A Waste Of Time For Businesses, https://www.forbes.com/sites/piasilva/2017/02/20/when-social-media-is-a-waste-of-time-for-businesses/#794ca923237f, Pia Silva
  23. How to Effectively Market Your Small Business on Social Media, How to Effectively Market Your Small Business on Social Media, https://www.quicksprout.com/social-media-for-small-business/
  24. How should small businesses use social media in 2019?, How should small businesses use social media in 2019?, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/connect/small-business/business-solutions/small-businesses-social-media-2019/
  25. The Easy Guide to Social Media for Small Business | WordStream, The Easy Guide to Social Media for Small Business, https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2019/03/19/social-media-for-small-business
  26. How to Use Social Media for Small Business: 11 Simple Tips, How to Use Social Media for Small Business: 11 Simple Tips, https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-tips-for-small-business-owners/, Hootsuite
  27. How To Use Social Media for Business – Small Business Trends, How To Use Social Media for Business, https://smallbiztrends.com/2015/07/use-social-media-for-business.html

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