Here at Work It Social, we’ve had the privilege to work with many different clients, from startups to successful small and medium-sized brands ready to scale up. Though every brand faces its own unique challenges and opportunities, we seem to see the same mistakes come up again and again.
Let’s chat the four marketing errors most small brands make, and how you can avoid them.
1. Trying to Market to Everyone
It’s tempting to want to appeal to everybody. We get it. The more people who can use your products and services, the more sales, right? But what you don’t realize is that marketing too broad is actually doing more harm than good for your brand and could be costing you precious customers.
The more specific you can get about your target customers, the more you can tailor your message and branding. For example, my business, Cambio Market started off selling general artisan goods from around the world, but we found people weren’t really connecting with our story. When it came time to developing blog content or targeted campaigns, we had no idea who we were trying to reach. Are they mostly men or women? Do they have kids, or are they single? Where do they live? What are their biggest challenges? Have they travelled, and where?
When we finally decided to specialize into products designed and handcrafted in the Philippines, we carved out a niche for ourselves and began to reach out to millennial Filipinos in North America. By re-focusing our content and appealing to a more specific group, we were able to foster long-term loyalty. Without a clear niche, you end up being a brand without a unique personality - and that’s a HUGE mistake.
2. Being Inconsistent
Marketing these days isn’t as simple as putting up a billboard ad and having customers flock to you. It’s about showing up consistently and fostering a long-term, meaningful relationship. Being on social means exactly that - being social, and that means posting more than once a week. When customers check out your online profiles, it’s actually a wonderful compliment. It means they want to learn more about you, and if they like what they see, then they want to engage in a relationship with you. If you want to convince people you’re going to reciprocate in the relationship, then you have to put in the effort and show up consistently with quality content.
You don’t have to be on every single platform, but choose the ones where your target audience spends their time (*hint* see our first point) and commit yourself to being present on those key channels. Use social media tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, or Planoly for Instagram to schedule your content in advance and make sure you’re showing up consistently for your audience. Social media is a ton of work, but we promise it’s worth the investment.
3. Not Having a Plan
Related to our point about consistency, the biggest cause of infrequent posting is not having a plan. We totally get it - you’re busy! It takes a lot of time and energy to find clients, manage employees, and actually execute on the business - let alone find time to sit down and plan out your marketing campaigns and social media posts. But we promise, you’ll thank yourself for it in the long term and you’ll see results even after just five or ten hours a month of planning.
Take a calendar and note down all the important dates for your business - when is it busiest for your business? What retail holidays apply to your brand? What are the major events in your city that you might need to plan for? Write it all down in your calendar. Then plan out what kind of campaigns you could run. For example, if you’re an events management company and you see Halloween is coming up, you might want to begin promoting your Halloween services at the end of September. Or if you’re a private catering company, start sharing photos of your holiday meals and baked treats in November.
Planning your content a month or two in advance can do wonders for your brand and helps you stay consistent, rather than scrambling last-minute to figure out what to post about.
4. Doing What Everyone Else Does
Lastly, don’t be afraid to have a personality! Many brands spend a lot of energy trying to keep up with the competition. If the competition does one thing, then they automatically think they have to do it as well! It’s important to be aware of the competition, but you don’t have to do what they’re doing. Otherwise, how will your clients know to choose you? Instead, borrow some of their best ideas and do it differently!
For example, if you see on Instagram that your competitors are all using pink in their social media feeds, then maybe you should aim for a stark black and white palette, or go another direction with more bright and vivid colours! If everyone else is offering a 20% discount for Black Friday, maybe you could throw everyone off and do a donation campaign instead. Do what feels authentic to you and your brand, and don’t be afraid to experiment! The brave brands that are willing to do things differently are the ones that stand out most on social media. And your customers will remember you for that.
Are you looking to elevate your brand’s social media presence and marketing campaigns? We can help! Get in touch with us through social or good ol’ email at email@example.com