Why Your Small Biz Social Media Efforts are a Waste of Time

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Someone’s gotta tell you.

I’ll be that guy.

Your Facebook page is (probably) a waste of time for your small business.

I know you’ve heard that if you’re not on social, you’re not a legitimate business in this day and age. But that’s only a half truth. Yes, you absolutely need to be on social. But… you also need to be doing it right. Or else you’re wasting your already limited time and resources.

Let’s face it, running a small business is hard. According to Forbes in 2013, 30% of small businesses tank within the first two years. 50% make it to 5 years, and only a third make it to 15 years. SBA defines a small business as any business with less than 500 employees, so not necessarily the corner bakery or main street consignment shop (whose chances are much more frightening). The majority of small business owners don’t necessarily have a background in business (because if you just got your MBA you can’t exactly pay off all your grad school debt while running a new venture that likely won’t earn you a salary within the first several years). Often, they’re run by inspired people with a passion or a drive to provide the world with something it doesn’t already have – if it’s not clear, I have a deep admiration for these people. So not only are these business owners learning all the obstacles, pitfalls, and nightmares of running their own shop as they go along – they’re also faced with this seemingly simple, yet entirely necessary task of “social media marketing.”

How hard can it be, right? You’re on Facebook all the time, you’ve dabbled in Twitter, and not a meal goes by without an Instagram post. You can totally do this.

Think again.

There was a time when that was the case, but those days are long gone. Social media is today no different than any other form of marketing – at least in terms of the time, resources, and expertise it takes.

The few small businesses I’ve seen do it well are probably among the small percent of those who will make it. And that’s not because they’re just naturals, or lucky, or anything other than the simple fact that they know nothing comes easily in business. They’ve done the research, they’ve modeled themselves after successful examples, they’ve put in the time, the research, and yes, the money it takes to win at social media. It truly is more of a science than an art – based heavily in psychology and statistics.

What separates the pros from oh-nos comes down to commitment. Not just a time or money commitment (although that too), but a commitment to being the best and doing it right – rather than the old spray and pray method of marketing: just put it all out there and hope something works.

This blog post includes a roadmap of ways you can stop wasting your time with social media marketing and start capitalizing on it. Some examples of small businesses (who also happen to be owned by friends of mine) that are doing it right:

  • Behind the Moon Shop – a children’s clothing/accessory store with a strong brand promise that is revealed through its content every. single. time.
  • Constellation Collective – an extremely new business with mouth-watering content, as well as a storytelling vibe that gives its customers a sneak peak into behind the scenes kitchen fun.
  • Phoenicia Diner – an extremely well-defined brand that publishes great customer-centric content

Okay, so I know that was a tough pill to swallow. And the task of navigating this might be a little daunting – but it’s well worth it to keep your business competitive in today’s very digitally social world. Something isn’t better than nothing. If you’re not doing social media right, the truth is you might not only be wasting your time – you could actually be hurting business.

Craft a well-researched strategy you can stick with and rock it.

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