"I'm not good at posting to social media!"
As a marketing specialist, small and micro business owners often say to me: “I haven’t posted to social media for a while” or “I’m not good at posting to social media!” That’s understandable. You have various jobs to do – especially if it’s only you or a few staff and you may have no marketing experience. Even with the best marketing planning, someone has to action those marketing plans and with limited resource you get busy, overwhelmed, stressed, forget to schedule or create (if you are your own designer and copywriter too). Taking time out to do social media is tricky.
In reality, your marketing shouldn’t be classified as taking time out from your day job. It’s a vital part of your business and is key. Effective marketing ensures you can keep doing your day job. The benefits of marketing should be obvious in your business even if you don’t track and measure your marketing activity. I’m realistic, I know effective measurement is rarely done in a small business with no dedicated marketing person. Often because it’s considered to be taking time out of an already busy schedule.
When you first started your business you most probably started by telling people. That ‘Word of Mouth’ is normally your first marketing channel and should definitely continue to be a key channel in your marketing plans. Marketing channels are essentially all the different ways you can sell your businesses products.
From those initial start-up days, you continue to add marketing channels and today, social media forms a large part of most people’s marketing. So how often should you post?
Know Your Target Audience
First up, I’d need to ask: “Who is your target audience?”
Knowing your target audience determines:
- Where is the best place (marketing channel) to direct your marketing spend by identifying where those people are; and
- How to communicate to these customers.
If you are targeting a younger audience you may prefer Snap Chat, TikTok, etc. An older audience, you may post on Facebook only…and certainly consider other marketing channels.
Retention or Acquisition
Posting on social media (or any other channel) also depends on your budget. Basically, there are two ways of posting:
- Organic (free). Here, the focus is on connecting with your existing community (customers). Organic social media enables you to listen and respond quickly to your customers, especially if they have a concern about your product. Organic is predominantly about retention. You want to hold onto those customers because they are not easy to get. Think about retention offers to your customer base – offering information via blogs or video, member only special offers, a rewards program via a group. A Facebook survey is a good way of connecting and collecting customer feedback and research too. Remember that organic social media reach is minimal, even though you may have a large community/fanbase the social media organisations want you to use their paid channels – they want you to spend, so not all of your base will see your posts.
- Paid – the focus here is typically on acquiring new customers and extending your customer fanbase. Your offer may be specifically to new customers only. Social media enables you to look at results quickly and reposition ads and budget accordingly. You don’t need to spend hours analysing the results. As a small business, within 5 minutes you will get an idea on how well your marketing ad is doing. If you’re worried about how much to spend try testing using a smaller budget. (How to establish a suitable marketing budget is a whole other discussion).
Think about who you want to target and how you want to post. Most businesses want to focus on both retaining existing customers and obtaining new customers. Remember the golden rule: it’s cheaper to retain customers than to acquire new customers.
The Posting Formula?
I’m sure you’re thinking that there must be one magic number….a neuro-marketing, scientific formula that has proven we all need to post ‘X’ many times a day.
I see small business owners get confused or stressed if they aren’t regularly posting. They feel pressured they aren’t keeping up. Perhaps, this is because some social influencers are suggesting: “If you want to build a loyal fanbase you need to post 6+ times a day.” As a side, you can call your customers a fanbase, consumers, clients…it doesn’t matter…but, you do want them buying your product. Whether they become “loyal” more often comes down to the quality of product and the quality of the service you provide.
Posting 6 or more times to various social media channels might work for the influencer’s product (which is often selling themselves) but does it work for your product? If I’m selling motorised scooters to an older target audience, I wouldn’t need to post 6 times per day. I might find other marketing channels eg search engine optimisation, Google My Business, Pay per click etc, more effective. That way, I am more likely to reach the older target audience as well as their children who may be heavily involved in the purchase decision.
My motivation for this blog was my recent customer (let’s call him John). John is approx. 60 years old and has been in business for about 30 years. At a high level, this was John’s situation:
- He had a Facebook business page (he wasn’t sure how to use it – his kids had set it up for him);
- He was listed in the Yellow Pages (as he had done for years);
- His kids also set up Google My Business;
- He had no website but John had an online presence: he was searchable; he was contactable;
- His key concerns: “I need to post to social media daily; I don’t have time; I think I’m missing out; I need to keep up; should I pay someone to do it?”
John’s business was all word of mouth with twenty key clients that constantly referred business to him. He was always pushing work out to his competitors because he was too busy and couldn’t keep up (John didn’t want to grow his business anymore). The first thing I told him to do is to pat himself on the back:
- For being in business for so many successful years when the odds are stacked against small business; and
- For having a great product with loyal, retained customers. John was doing something right! As it turns out he was providing great service in a variety of ways.
John didn’t realise he was doing terrific from word of mouth marketing. He knew exactly who his customers were and worked on keeping them.
Does he need to post to social media 6 times per day to build a loyal fanbase? No!
Absolutely he needs to have a digital and social media presence but, in this case, there is no need to post every day.
There is no guaranteed, magic posting formula! Every business situation is different. It takes a little bit of thought and planning. Know who your customers are, which will help you determine the best marketing channels to reach them. Think about marketing to your existing customers and your new customers. The most important thing is to do some marketing – it’s part of your job.
About Leanne Di Fazio
Leanne has over 20 years marketing experience in large corporates and small business in Australia and the United Kingdom. She is passionate about helping small business grow and thrive. Leanne is the founder of Look Deeper Marketing: who specialise in marketing, strategy and planning for small business. Look Deeper Marketing bring affordable marketing consultancy to small business in Macarthur, Sydney and surrounding areas, with packaged options so you know exactly what to expect. Look Deeper Marketing: take a deeper look at your marketing.