Ever wonder why you even bother with social media? Does it seem as if your tweets, likes, status updates, and other online missives aren’t yielding any return? Don’t blame Twitter and Facebook. Instead, check your messages to see what they’re lacking.

Small-business owners typically make some common mistakes, says Lorrie Thomas Ross, CEO of Web Marketing Therapy. If you think your social media investment isn’t paying off, review your activity for these holes:

1. No strategy — Entrepreneurs tend to focus on social media tools but not how or why to use them, Ross says. That’s like starting a journey without a destination or a map. Determine what you want to accomplish and set a theme for content, so it will be valuable to your potential customers.

“Social media needs to be bigger than you or your organization,” Ross explains, so think broadly about the topics you will address. Determine who will be responsible for driving your company’s social media efforts. Neglected sites and pages create a poor impression of a business, just like an unkempt or abandoned storefront. Ensure designs are consistent across your sites, determine the right phrases for search engine optimization, and plan outreach, such as whether you will buy Facebook ads.

2. No conversation When a customer walks into your store or office, the first words out of your mouth probably aren’t, “This is XYZ Company. Buy this. Buy that.” But that’s what many business social media postings sound like.

Introduce yourself and get to know your potential customers through social media. Talk with people, not at them, Ross advises. “People have to date us before they marry us.”

3. No education Ross tells small-business owners to “serve and support on social media.” Think: “I need to help my customer and potential customers understand things,” she says. Use social media to answer frequently asked questions and to pre-qualify customers.

4. No connection It’s called social “networking” for a reason. Mentioning other people and businesses in your posts and tagging and linking to them will expand the reach of your messages. For example, Ross says, an organic produce company that posts recipes could tag a particular juice brand in a recipe.

5. No fun You don’t have to be funny, but you do need to be fun. People want to enjoy the social media experience. A law office, for example, could post a story about its employees’ volunteer activities.

“You don’t have to be a comic,” Ross says. Look for the opportunities to spread a smile, and post content that people will want to share. (Who thought blenders were fun before Blendtec founder Tom Dickson started its “Will It Blend?” series on YouTube in 2006?)

15 Comments » for Why Social Media Isn’t Paying Off for Your Business
  1. Good Information! I found this article through twitter, so it must work. :)

  2. RobertaLett says:

    Branding and interaction with customers is very important!! Finding the right crowd for your product or brand is required. http://www.linkagoal.com

  3. Calla Gold says:

    I liked the information. I loved Ms. Ross’ example of someone going into a store and they say , “buy this, buy that!” Funny and yet so true!

  4. Norris & Associates says:

    Thanks for reminding us what social media is about.

  5. Joseph Montes says:


  6. LindaMenesez says:

    @Lorrie Thomas Ross and Web Marketing Therapy walk their talk too!  Every one of these points are demonstrated — in the right way — daily by them.  My favorite one, as anyone who knows me can attest, is the one about connection.  Everything is better for all involved when there’s a genuine, developed sense of connection!  Great article!

  7. AlwaysOn_Social says:

    This is a great article. When I was a younger marketer I experienced some of this first hand. Now, I have learned from it! I completely agree with your points. The overall strategy is important, and then you must educate, engage, and entertain your audience. This is a great resource for new social media marketers!

  8. This should reach those who are not active on social media, the future of marketing will heavily depend on social media. We’d like to hear your thoughts via reachsolutionz

  9. Usman hk says:

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  10. Thanks for sharing wonderful tips and i hope all will work for me.

  11. Thanks for  your information.  Such a great another article.

  12. Great article, I see companies making these mistakes all the time.
    The first point is the key: it’s important to start with a strategy.
    There are a lot of social media companies around. Getting three quotes will help you to understand how it all works. If you don’t see a strategy you like get more quotes. Social media does work.
    John Cameron

  13. Barry07 says:

    I have found that outsourcing Social Media management is the best way to go as most  business owners do not have the time to do it right!   There are several companies that  offer Social Media Management services.  After all my research, I have found that   http://www.MaxExposuresocialMedia.net  offers the most for the least.

  14. TonyHall says:

    I get super great website traffic and backlinks from using this site check it out,  http://www.socialswapper.biz

  15. cooly6661 says:

    totally agree, been using social media for a while now with mixed results.

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  1. [...] was interviewed by Intuit’s Small Business for a blog post called, Why Social Media Isn’t Paying Off for Your Business. I was asked to share tips on what businesses can do to make their investment work.  It’s a [...]

  2. [...] Beth Miller published Why Social Media Isn’t Paying Off for Your Business on the Intuit Small Business Blog. The author says your social media efforts probably suffer from [...]

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