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Pitfalls of Social Media Management for Small Businesses

As a small business, partnering with a social media management company can seem like a promising solution to optimize your marketing efforts. However, not all service providers are created equal; many of them are likely to cost valuable time, which is much worse than merely wasting your money. To avoid wasting valuable resources on ineffective strategies, it’s crucial to be aware of the pitfalls associated with some social media management companies. Today, we’ll discuss the potential issues you may encounter and hopefully help you understand how to make an informed decision when selecting a partner to run your social media ad strategies.

Pitfall 1: Overpromising Results

Many (if not most) of your local social media management companies will overpromise results to attract clients, setting unrealistic expectations in the process. This is pretty common, the intriguing offer of delivering thousands of new customers to your doorstep, only to realize that you can’t simply throw a bunch of money at social media and expect that actually to result in quality customers. Good ads require a lot of in-depth study and analysis of your target market. That type of research may result in the realization that social media ads simply aren’t a good fit for your business. A blanket promise of social media results without actually spending time understanding your business is an empty promise. This approach of overpromising without a basis for how to acquire new qualified customers often leads to disappointment when the company inevitably fails to deliver on its promises, damaging your trust and potentially harming your business.

To avoid falling victim to overpromising results, consider the following steps:

    • Research the company’s past performance by reviewing case studies, testimonials, and client reviews. If a company is going to claim that it can deliver more clients to you by way of social media ads, then they need to have an outstanding track record of doing that with a wide range of businesses. They need to prove that they can do the appropriate research to understand your business and, more importantly, your ideal customer.
    • Request detailed proposals and strategies from potential service providers, outlining their approach to achieving your business goals. The details matter! A company running social media ads for you should be able to give you sound strategies based on real-world data analysis. They should be able to help you gauge your potential when comparing your services to the number of people within your geographical reach.
    • Speak with multiple social media management companies to gather various perspectives on what can be realistically achieved for your business. Do not just take the first answer you receive and run with it. Be harsh, be critical, and have extremely high expectations. People like to think social media is easy and as simple as a plug-and-play method when the reality is that it takes a lot of work up front to put together a high-performing ad campaign on social platforms.

Pitfall 2: Lack of Transparency

Transparency is crucial when choosing a social media management company to partner with, as it demonstrates their commitment to open communication and ethical practices. A lack of transparency can signal potential issues and hinder the success of your social media marketing efforts. There’s really only one reason for someone to be less than fully transparent with you. They’re hiding something. It really is that simple. Maybe it’s because they don’t trust you to value their services as highly as they value themselves; maybe it’s because they are afraid of giving away ‘trade secrets,’ which is nonsense because you can do your own homework and figure out how to do this all on your own, or maybe they’re simply trying to trick you into paying more money without having a good justification as to why.

To ensure transparency in social media management, consider the following steps:

    • Request specific information about the company’s strategies, pricing, and performance metrics. Hiring someone to manage your marketing budget like this is more than paying for a basic task. You are essentially bringing on a business partner that needs to be capable of understanding you and your customer. The strategies actually need to make sense to you; there’s no room for ambiguity here. The pricing needs to be simple and transparent. The performance metrics need clear KPIs (key performance indicators).
    • Evaluate the company’s communication channels, ensuring that they are accessible, responsive, and open to discussing your needs and concerns. Marketing is tricky, and social media marketing is even more chaotic. Your strategies are going to evolve, and you need to make sure your marketing partner is responsive and able to flex with the ever-changing market space. There’s no time for putting adjustments on the back burner.
    • Research the company’s track record, looking for evidence of their transparency in client reviews, testimonials, and case studies. They need to really wow you. Look at their own ads for their business. Their ads should impress you. Their ads should be the best of the best, right? If they’re the ads expert, they should take their own advice, which should be obvious.

Pitfall 3: One-Size-Fits-All Approach

Every business is unique and requires a customized strategy that addresses its specific goals, target audience, and industry nuances. A one-size-fits-all approach is a misnomer; it doesn’t exist, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Such an approach will be detrimental to the success of your marketing efforts, leading to inadequate targeting, lack of differentiation, inefficient resource allocation, and limited growth potential. It’s just bad news from the start.

To ensure a tailored approach to social media management, consider the following steps:

    • Choose a social media management company with a proven track record of delivering customized solutions for their clients. If it’s not customized specifically and uniquely to each customer, then it’s just flushing money down the drain. Facebook wins, the ads management company wins (a little bit), and you lose.
    • Clearly articulate your business goals and objectives to your social media management partner. If they don’t ask detailed questions prompting detailed input from you, that should be a major red flag.
    • Provide your social media management partner with insights about your target audience, such as demographics, interests, and online behaviors. If you don’t have such insights, they should be able to provide you with ideas for building and acquiring such data. It’s their job; they should know how to help you do this.

Pitfall 4: Substandard Ad Content and Services

Some social media ad management companies may prioritize quantity over quality, offering cheaply produced ads that fail to engage your target audience effectively. This can result in low conversion rates and limited benefits for your business.

To identify and avoid substandard ad content and services, consider the following warning signs:

    • Generic or poorly designed ads in the company’s portfolio. If the ads they design for themselves aren’t great, then the ones they build for you will be even worse. They’re spending your money, don’t set the bar low. Look for companies that create ads that actually impress you. You need to be visually stimulated by what you see in their body of work. You need to be so impressed that you are itching to have them create such an ad for you.
    • Lack of customization or attention to detail in their ad creation process. Yes, it probably feels like we’re beating a dead horse here because I can’t emphasize this point enough. You’re spending money to help you get ahead, don’t pay someone to do something you could do on your own with a basic Canva subscription.
    • A focus on quantity over quality, emphasizing the number of ads produced rather than their effectiveness. Ten cheap ads will never outperform a single high-quality, visually stimulating ad that connects well with your target audience.

When selecting a social media management company, being aware of the potential pitfalls and exercising caution is essential. By considering the risks associated with overpromising results, lack of transparency, one-size-fits-all approaches, and substandard ad content, you can make an informed decision and choose a partner that genuinely understands your business’s needs and goals. This will ensure that your social media marketing efforts are effective, efficient, and ultimately beneficial for your business.

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