5 Things Your Competition Is Doing Wrong With Their Social Media

Social media is a huge part of modern culture.

It’s a great place to expand your influence and get your business seen.

With 79% of the US population using social media in 2019, seen might be an understatement.

Your brand is invisible if you’re not on social media.

At this point, it’s safe to say that most business owners understand the importance these sites play in marketing.

Unfortunately, many of them are making huge mistakes that are killing the effect their efforts have.

Most don’t even realize it.

I thought there couldn’t be a better way for you to beat your competition than by figuring out what they’re doing wrong and doing it right yourself.

Don’t you agree?

With that in mind, I put together a list of the top mistakes your competition is making on social media and coupled them with the things you should be doing.

Social Media Is All About The Way You Get Your Audience To Respond

The analysis and advice I’m about to give come from the perspective that I teach all my clients.

When I work with a company to boost its social presence, I teach them to focus on being social.

While it might sound like common sense, it’s actually counterintuitive for many business owners.

Their first response to social media is to treat their content the same way they would on TV.

However, on social media, your job isn’t to interrupt their content.

It’s to become their content.

Get them coming to you for their entertainment Click To Tweet

To do that at a high level, you have to shift your thinking.

Instead of talking at your audience, you’re trying to start a conversation.

Not a figurative conversation, but a literal one.

Set your sights on audience interaction.

If you start from that perspective, these tips will make a lot of sense.

But if you’re focused on sales pitches, you’ll discard everything I’m about to tell you.

And you’ll join your competition in mediocrity.

So, rather than resign to that, let’s boost you ahead of the rest, shall we?

These Mistakes Apply To Most Small Businesses

Obviously, I didn’t study your specific competitors.

Most small, local businesses have competition at the same level.

That makes it incredibly difficult to know who you’re focused on competing with.

However, the odds of your competition doing most of the things on this list – probably all of them – are good.

Almost every small business does all of them before they’re educated.

Honestly, that means you’re likely doing them too.

Time to learn what they are and what you should be doing instead.

They Don’t Think Like A Media Company

When is the last time you noticed your competition putting out informative content?

It’s not normal, even in the marketing space.

That’s simply because dog groomers and mechanics don’t think like media companies.

They don’t think about the ways they can get the kind of attention that drives advertisement prices up.

You can’t pay for ads forever. Click To Tweet

They probably create the kind of ads that media companies might sell.

That’s the kind of mistake that turns audiences off and leaves nobody left to see the ads.

And, yes, you still need ads.

But you can’t just continually pound your audience over the heads with them.

And you most certainly can’t produce social media posts that break a user’s experience.

Blend Your Content And Ads Seamlessly

I’ve currently got an architectural magazine in my kitchen.

Though I’m not sure why I’ve got a subscription (I didn’t order it), I thumb through it every now and then.

What’s interesting is the way the ads and the articles look so alike.

Some of the ads are obvious, but most people wouldn’t notice that many of the articles are ads for the products they’re about.

Similarly, successful social media pages – especially influencers – blend product photos and usage with their other posts.

It’s often impossible to tell, for example, when fashion influencer Huda Kattan is selling a product in her makeup tutorials.

She blends the information people want to know with amazing and subtle product placement to create an effective social media feed.

As a result, the New York Times suggested she was the most influential beauty blogger in the world, and Influencer Marketing Hub listed her as one of their top 25 Instagram influencers of our time.

That kind of influence doesn’t happen until you can begin focusing on developing content that your target audience wants to see.

That means heaping helpings of creativity and relevance while holding back on the self-promotion.

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They Suck At Repurposing Content

Most businesses do one of two things with their content.

  1. They post few and far between.
  2. They repeat the same posts repeatedly.

Creativity can be tough when it comes to content.

Tapping into that creativity to come up with something original every day can drain you fast.

So, for most small businesses, the solution is to suck at creative content.

Sometimes that results in the infrequent posting problem.

By choosing this route, companies destroy their traffic and visibility.

If you’re looking for conversation, that’s going to hurt it fast.

Other times that results in repeat posts.

While you might assume that’s the better option, think about it another way.

How do you feel about that one person in your life that tells the same stories every time you get together?

You might like that person, but it’s tough to hold a conversation.

Everything you can say in response to their stories has already been said.

But rather than drain your creativity and leave you in one of these ruts, there’s another way.

Learn To Adapt The Same Content Multiple Ways

You ought to be putting in a ton of work on your long-form content.

2-3 hours on the minimum.

With a focus on quality, that’s your opportunity to prove to your audience that you’re the authority in your industry.

With that time and effort invested, you demonstrate to your audience the kind of knowledge you possess.

It should be a lot of information on any given topic you choose to cover.

Which leaves you an opportunity to capitalize more than once.

Your long-form content can be broken into micro-content.

Something that world-renowned marketing expert Gary Vaynerchuk does with his content.

His strategy, which he famously used to gain 35 million views from one keynote video, is to cut content into smaller pieces to share on other platforms.

Cut your content into smaller bites to make it go further. Click To Tweet

Each piece of micro-content is based on the original long-form piece but adapted for the platform it gets shared on.

Instagram gets images, videos, and IGTV content.

Facebook gets images and videos.

Snapchat sees additions to the story that include filters and links using clips from the content and mixed among his “off the hilt” thoughts on the topic.

Every platform sees the treatment of a cut from the same long-form content.

By learning to do the same, you can spread your creativity around, getting way more content and visibility for your effort.

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They’re All About The Ask Without Any Give

Sales posts suck.

Most small business owners are all about the sales pitch.

There’s a mentality that content isn’t worth spending money on if it doesn’t directly result in a sale.

That mentality causes so many brands to poison their feed with the kind of content that people don’t want.

They train their audience to ignore them.

Meanwhile, they’re not giving their audience an incentive to trust them.

They offer no opportunities to help the audience like and get to know them.

In a world where people own DVRs so they can skip the commercials, constant ads just don’t cut it.

There is no value in an advertisement.

If there’s no value, people don’t want it.

Especially at the cost of their time.

Give Value Far More Often Than You Ask For Anything

On social media, you’re day-trading attention.

If you want people’s attention, and subsequently their time, you need to give them something for it.

There needs to be an exchange of value in place.

The single best place you can offer value is through the knowledge you share in your content.

Whether it’s on social media or through your long-form content, you need to give your audience something they can benefit from.

Don’t be afraid to give away your best content. Click To Tweet

Give it away for free.

Offer lots of it without asking for anything.

John Lee Dumas of EOFire is famous for this.

As the most successful entrepreneurial podcaster of all time, his platform is about giving away content.

His podcast has two new shows per week.

In each episode, he interviews other successful entrepreneurs and finds the secrets that made them successful.

He has over 2000 episodes of pure value for any entrepreneur.

So how does he make his money if that’s his platform?

His podcast boasts millions of downloads.

That’s potentially millions of people who listen.

And millions of people to sell courses, books, and affiliate products to.

Because he gives away so much value, he has captured enough attention to successfully sell products and services to.

He gives a ton, then asks a little in return.

Doing the same can provide you the attention you need to sell your products.

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They’re Fake

Maybe fake is too harsh a word, but many small businesses are totally inauthentic on social media.

They create a brand image that doesn’t reflect the company it represents.

They show people and a personality that isn’t an accurate version of the truth.

They focus on the highlight reels that make the company seem like it’s doing amazing.

This problem is especially true among influencers, who often need sponsorships in order to earn sponsorships.

There is a vast level of competition that pushes them to create an image that isn’t quite the same as reality.

The problem is that your audience has a fantastic bullshit meter.

This is your audience calling bullshit when you're inauthentic on social media.

You’re not going to pass off a fake representation on them successfully.

Ever.

Especially because most of your audience is made up of your friends and neighbors.

All you’ll do by misrepresenting yourself is damage their trust in you.

As a small business, that’s not something you can afford.

Imagine living in a city that didn’t trust your business.

You wouldn’t last long.

Develop An Authentic Social Presence

Instead of misrepresenting yourself, be transparent.

Let your audience peer into an average day.

Demonstrate failures along with successes.

Talk about what you learned through them.

Most importantly, don’t do anything on social that doesn’t match your company’s persona.

All your content should share the same voice.

That voice is the one your customers hear when they come into your office or call you on the phone.

It’s that voice that initially sold your audience.

Know what meshes well with your brand, then focus on that.

Don’t copy what others are doing just because it’s successful for them.

“You have to understand your personal DNA.” @garyvee Click To Tweet

Your personal style has got to match.

Otherwise, that same successful tactic won’t work for you.

And that part is important to remember.

What works for one won’t always work for another unless it gets adapted to fit the brand.

I don’t think I need to give an example of the infamous Wendy’s Twitter, do I?

They’ve developed a brand voice for themselves that shines most on their Twitter account.

The same tactic likely wouldn’t work for your brand.

But finding what matches your voice will do wonders for the attention you’ll bring in.

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They Never Reply To Their Audience

What better way is there to kill your company than to ignore your customers?

If you’re successful at creating content that people respond to, it makes no sense to kill it with a stupid move.

Your audience isn’t leaving a comment so they can see their name on your post.

They want to hear back from you.

When they don’t, they know how much they matter to you.

If they don’t feel like you value them, they’ll leave.

Ignoring their comments and not responding makes exactly zero sense.

However, based on the endless companies who leave their audiences hanging, it isn’t as common-sense as it would seem.

Which is troubling, to say the least.

It’s also a huge opportunity for you to become a hero.

It Doesn’t Take A Lot Of Effort To Reply

If your audience is leaving comments on your social posts, reply.

No matter what they say it demands some level of response.

That response shouldn’t always take place in the comments depending on the nature of the comment, but it should always happen.

When your audience says something positive, respond with gratitude (and maybe some humor).

Starbucks has done a great job of this on their social platforms.

At least Starbucks listens and comments back.

Let them know you appreciate their comments and that you appreciate having them as a customer and a fan.

What’s most important is acknowledging them.

People want to be significant.

By letting them know that you see them and are paying attention, you show them they are to you.

There is nothing that will build loyalty better.

On the other hand, when something negative is said, they aren’t looking for significance.

They want to know you have their back and that you’re willing to do something to help them with the issue.

They often don’t need you to solve it 100%.

People need to know that the company they bet on is in their corner.

PM them to talk about the problem and work out a solution.

While you won’t fix anything, you’ll save many of them from going anywhere else.

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Doing What Your Competition Doesn’t Will Change Your Marketing Game

If you want to come out on top of the competition every time, you have to be better at the things they’re bad at.

Marketing is the first and most important place to make that happen.

Building your brand on social media and developing the kind of following that makes it worth it takes time.

There are no short cuts to a solid, reliable audience.

However, if you can apply the fixes where your competition is failing, you’ll see the kind of growth you want.

That’s where the game starts to change.

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About the author:

Michael McNew
Web developer, marketing innovator, technology enthusiast, and founder of Visceral Concepts, Michael McNew has developed a passion for delivering value to small business, turning his creativity towards image and reputation building for small business owners.