If you are a soapmaker in biz, chances are you have a decent social media presence. Most likely, a Facebook page, and then maybe, a Twitter account, or a Pinterest account, or Instagram photo feed. If so, high five! Social media is a great way to reach new customers, stay engaged with current customers, build a community around your brand, and get valuable insight into your target market.
But we need to have a chat about some huge social media mistakes I see soapmakers making left and right....
Look, I don't want to burst your bubble, so I promise we'll talk about how you can recover if you've made any of these social media mistakes right after we get into the down and dirty of what is going wrong.
Social Media Mistake #1: Trying to Be Everywhere at Once
One of the most common social media mistakes I see are soapmakers (especially those who are solo operations) trying to maintain social media presences on every single platform out there. No one has time for that!
Focus on a single social media platform (ideally, the one where you can reach your target market!) and become the master of it. Whether that's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or whatever special platform pops up in the future.
Sure, snag your business name on any social media platform you like. Instead of trying to manage them all, drill down your mastery of one platform. When you feel like you have that platform wrapped up, focus on incorporating another platform and kicking it's ass, too.
If you follow me on social media, you know that I put my Facebook first. And then, I put some effort into Instagram & Twitter when I have time and energy to do so. I also have a YouTube channel and Google+ page, but I hardly use them. Maintaining a presence on all the platforms is a full-time job for one person, and as business owners, we all have PLENTY of other things to be doing.
Social Media Mistake #2: Collecting Fans Like Soap Colorants & Fragrances
I see so many small business owners (not just soapmakers!) put way too much emphasis on the number of fans, followers, or likes they collect on their pages.
If you have a small following and want to grow it, I want to speak out about a popular practice I see, especially on Facebook. That is 'likefest' type activities, where everyone posts their social media accounts and follow one another. That's fine if everyone is each other's target market, but in a soapmaking group, that isn't the case.
When you post on Facebook, for instance, your posts are served to a small segment of your followers. If those fans interact with the content and dig it, Facebook shows it to more of your peeps. If all your fans are people who aren't interested in your products (like other soapmakers), where is that going to get your engagement statistics? Right in the toilet.
You aren't going to be able to stop your friends, family, or other soapmakers from liking your page, but encouraging them to do so when they aren't going to be interested in liking, commenting, or sharing your posts.... Ugh. Bad news. A little over half my friends like Modern Soapmaking's Facebook page (as shown below.) A good chunk of those are people like my mom and my husband, who always engage with my posts when they see them. But most of them? Most of them are also soapmakers, which are my target market.
If you are looking to grow your fan-base on social media, invite only the people you know would be interested in your products or services to like your page. And focus on posting content that will be valuable for your target market, so your current followers will share it with others who are like-minded.
Facebook advertising is also valuable here, as you can run campaigns to target people who have viewed your website or are signed up to your mailing list. Those are valuable peeps that you WANT liking your page.
On Instagram, search hashtags that are used by peeps in your target market, for instance, #vegan. Genuinely interact with users and content posted with relevant hashtags to build valuable connections.
Social Media Mistake #3: Being The Center of the Soapy Universe
The content you post on social media is just like so many other aspects of your business. Meaning, it isn't about you.
Your social media presence should be filled with relevant, interesting, and valuable content for your audience. What exactly is that kind of content? Well, it depends on your brand and target market.
We'll go with an easy example. Let's say your target market is 27 to 32 year old women, who are working their way up a stressful corporate ladder. They eat a clean or health conscious diet and unwind by doing yoga on the daily. They are active in their communities through charity initiatives, and are passionate about human equality.
Your relevant and interesting content should serve their interests, maybe that's clean/healthy recipes for on-the-go women (smoothies! energy bites!), fun and/or serious articles about yoga (like five things no one wants to see in a yoga class or what yoga teachers won't tell you), complimentary or useful apps (like these life-changing apps), or shareable graphics and memes that feature positive thinking, feminism, equality, social good, etc.
(Hint, hint: it's even better if you write the content on your own blog and share it!) And don't forget to get a little personal and share the behind-the-scenes of you, if your audience will identify with you or find interest in what you are doing/saying.
At least 80% of your social media content should serve your audience in this way, leaving a little 20% of your content to serve up a pitch, advertisement, or you-centric post. When you use social media in this way, your fans become more engaged with your brand, and you tell your brand's story more effectively. And more people will be listening when you ask for the sale.
(Having trouble deciding what kind of content you are posting? Ask yourself what the goal is - if it's to sell a product, get a newsletter subscriber, advertise a craft fair, promote a sale, compile product or market research, or talk about yourself, it belongs in the 20%.)
Social Media Mistake #4: Being Gosh Darn Brand Inappropriate
Sharing content that ISN'T relevant to your brand or target market is a killer.
So, continuing with our above example of the super healthy, focused, driven, femme fatale of a yogi as an audience, it's highly unlikely that the company who is serving her makes (or would post about) products for men, infants, or children. When it comes to interest-driven content, the company wouldn't post about video games, fast food, football season, binge drinking, clubbing, etc. They'd likely never use profanity, and it would be inappropriate to post controversial content.
Even if you love big ole fat greasy burgers (nom, nom, nom), you shouldn't post a photo of it on your company's Instagram unless your target market would also appreciate that plate of deliciousness. Create a list of Do's and Don'ts for your social media feeds by setting parameters on the kind of content your target market would like and wouldn't like based on relevance, value, interest, and tone of voice.
Before you post, check your list twice - is it on point for your brand? If so, then get that sucker posted! Otherwise, back away from the share button.
Social Media Mistake #5: Pulling into the Automation Station
Automation is all the rage these days! You'd be hard pressed to find a small biz guru or productivity expert who doesn't recommend using Buffer, HootSuite, or any other number of automated social media sharing services. Heck, I even use Buffer.
The problem with social media automation is when you use a robot or computer to take your place on social media. (This is probably my biggest pet peeve of all the social media mistakes a soapmaker could make!) For example, if you setup your Instagram to automatically post a new image on Facebook and Twitter, too. Or when you automatically tweet your Facebook posts (shown below.) That's just dreadful, and the reasons why are two-fold...
A Twitter user automatically posting to Twitter from Facebook.... Ugh.
A lot of soapmakers who automate cross-network posting or scheduled postings, set it and forget it. If you auto-post something, and do not come back around to be the other human in the equation to your fans, you shouldn't have posted it in the first place! You have effectively replaced your role in social media with a non-responsive (or automatically responsive) robot. Social media is about engaging your audience and building a relationship... with YOU and your brand. Not a robot.
It's even worse when it's obvious to your fans that you are not actually behind the post. It literally screams, "I'm too lazy to participate on the social media network you like, so click this link to the social media network I want to use to connect with me." Um, no - thanks, though.
If you choose to automate any part of your social media process, make sure to pop back in and be the human your scheduling is pretending to be.
Secondly, when a post is shared across networks, it becomes bizarre and irregular. On Twitter, you get 144 characters to get a click, retweet, or response. And you should be using some of those characters for hashtags. On Facebook, you get TONS more space, and while hashtags work there, they are more of a joke than anything. (#pleasedonttellzuckerbergisaidthat) On Instagram, you get more room than Twitter and hashtags are pretty darn important (but most people slide them into the comments!)
The way you introduce a piece of content or an image on a social media network should be tailored for that network. If your post is automatically shared, it's not going to "fit in" on each individual network or take advantage of the most beneficial features of that network.
Does that mean you can't share the same content everywhere? Oh, heck no! Share your content perfection wherever you keep an active presence. Just do so in an authentic human way!
Do you have any social media mistakes to add to the pile? Leave a comment and share what you've learned about social media marketing for soapmakers below!
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