When you’re a business owner, it can often seem like there’s never enough time to get everything done.
So, it’s only natural to consider the occasional shortcut.
But, every smart entrepreneur knows that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and a shortcut isn’t always all that it’s cracked up to be.
When it comes to social media and content marketing, don’t make the mistake of cutting out steps that are going to diminish your brand, or negatively affect your online presence.
Being efficient is good. Being lazy is terrible.
Make sure you’re not being lazy. Here are a few common shortcuts that many entrepreneurs take but really shouldn’t, because they’ll surely backfire, sooner or later…
1. Buying fake followers.
What’s the big deal, right? You set up a business page on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and for just a few dollars, you can load up your platforms with followers and make it seem like you have a sizeable and loyal following.
After all, having a social media account with no followers will look amateur, right?
Many entrepreneurs see buying followers like stuffing the tip jar – where you get the ball rolling with a few fakes, and then the real followers will come in once it seems like you have credibility. Right?
Buying followers not only makes you look dishonest, but it also hurts your visibility on social media. Platforms such as Facebook utilize algorithms that detect if you have a high number of followers, but very little engagement, and this computes as you having content that poses little-to-no value.
So Facebook reacts by making you less visible.
Less visibility means less likelihood of real potential followers ever finding you.
2. Not posting original content.
Creating content is exhausting.
Being of value is exhausting.
Thinking of something interesting to say is exhausting.
And thinking of clever ways to say it… you got it… so exhausting.
The Internet is a virtual buffet of content… why go through all the mental and physical exhaustion of coming up with original content when you can just pick and choose someone else’s clever words or brilliant memes, or epic videos?
I’ll tell you why.
Because you’re not building a brand if you only (or mostly) use other people’s content.
You’re not standing out.
You’re not offering something of value that people can only get from you.
You are not giving anyone a reason to want to (scratch that… need to) follow you.
Don’t get me wrong – sharing other people’s content is great. You can cross-promote and build relationships with other content creators, you can learn more about your target niche, and you can still build yourself a reputation as a valuable curator of great content.
But, you don’t want to neglect the fact that your online presence should consist of mostly your content and what sets you and your business apart from the rest.
Yes, creating original content can be exhausting, but don’t be afraid to repurpose your content, so you get more mileage out of it.
3. Not leveraging video.
The future of social media marketing lies in video content.
And by future, I mean get started yesterday.
By the year 2020, online videos will account for more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic (CISCO, 2016).
If you are an entrepreneur and you don’t want to get left behind, you need to look hard into social video.
Video content takes more time, effort, and resources to put together than written content or images, but it is by far the most effective, and best return on your investment.
Consider these statistics.
- Over 8 billion videos or 100 million hours of videos are watched on Facebook every day (TechCrunch, 2016).
- Video views on Twitter grew 220X from December 2014 to December 2015 (Twitter, 2015).
- More than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube every day (Business Insider, 2016).
Incorporating video content into your social media marketing efforts is paramount to your success.
In particular, investigate the benefits of live video and native video.
And just like with any other kind of content, you can repurpose your video content.
4. Never trying new things.
Isn’t it a great feeling when you’re able to come up with a winning strategy, and you’ve broken it down into repeatable and actionable steps, and you’re able to execute with little-to-no effort because you’ve got it down to a science, and you never have to really think about it again, and you can just sit back, relax and reap in the rewards?
In social media marketing, there is no such thing as resting on your laurels.
Expect to change things up, and change things up often.
Sure, there are trends you need to follow (such as the growing impact of social video), but you also have to anticipate and respond to the small shifts and changes in the social media industry (such as algorithm updates).
Change is normal. Shaking things up is normal.
Constantly revisit your content, your hashtags, your branding, and keep on top of social media trends.
You can’t afford to stagnate on social media. Shake things up once in a while.
5. Taking your target audience for granted.
If you’re diving into social media marketing without first giving careful consideration to your audience, you are making a huge mistake.
Who are you trying to reach? Who do you want to engage on social media? How old are these people? What gender? What kind of lifestyles do they lead? What level of education do they have? What are their problems, their needs?
You need to know who your audience is, inside and out, before you can attempt to create content that is going to engage them and solve their problems.
Your audience is literally the most important part of your social media marketing efforts – treat them with great care.
Taking shortcuts isn’t always a bad idea in business, but make sure you are not skimping out on important aspects of your social media marketing campaign. Don’t buy followers, take the time to create meaningful and original content, leverage video, don’t be afraid to shake things up once in a while, and take time to get to know your audience.