Don’t Fall for the Follower Trap: Why Buying “Likes” Hurts Your Small Business

Don’t Fall for the Follower Trap: Why Buying “Likes” Hurts Your Small Business

You have a fantastic product or service, an eye-catching website, and now you’re ready to tackle social media. But let’s be honest, building a following from scratch takes time and effort. Enter the tempting world of buying followers. Thousands of “fans” with a single click—sounds like a shortcut to social media success, right? Wrong. Here’s why purchasing followers for Facebook and Instagram can harm your ability to connect with authentic customers.

Why Artificial Followers Are Not Good for Businesses

The main issue with bot followers is that these artificial accounts do not engage with your content, meaning your posts may not reach real and potential customers. Additionally, social media platforms are cracking down on fake followers, which could result in penalties for your business, such as decreased visibility or account suspension. Sure, your follower count might skyrocket, but these fake accounts aren’t real people scrolling through their feeds. They won’t like, comment on, or share your posts.

Remember, social media algorithms prioritize engagement—the more interaction your content gets, the more people see it. When there’s low engagement despite a large number of followers, it signals a problem to the algorithm, effectively burying your content and limiting its exposure to real customers. For example, if your business buys fake followers to boost your numbers, you may find that your posts are no longer showing up in your followers’ feeds or search results. This could lead to a decrease in website traffic, resulting in lower sales and a negative impact on your overall brand reputation.

How Fake Followers Hurt Your Advertising Efforts

Imagine you’re running a targeted ad campaign on Facebook. When you pay to reach a specific audience, you want to make sure your ad reaches real people who might be interested in your product. Having numerous fake followers makes it challenging for Facebook to identify your ideal customer, turning your targeted ads into a guessing game. This can result in wasted advertising dollars and a lower return on investment.

In order to effectively reach your target audience and maximize the effectiveness of your advertising efforts, it is crucial to regularly audit and clean up your social media following to ensure that you are reaching real, engaged users who are likely to convert. By focusing on quality over quantity, you can improve the performance of your ads and ultimately drive better results for your business.

The Benefits of Building a Real Community

Here’s the not-so-secret secret: building a loyal following takes work, but the rewards are immeasurable. Focus on creating high-quality content that resonates with your target audience. Consider running contests and giveaways to encourage interaction. And, most importantly, be authentic and engage with your followers directly. Although it may require more time, these authentic connections will be valuable and drive actual growth. It is better to have a smaller, engaged audience than a large, disengaged one.

By building a real community, you are creating a group of loyal customers who are genuinely interested in your brand. These followers are more likely to make repeat purchases, refer their friends and family, and become brand advocates. Additionally, a strong community can provide valuable feedback and insights that can help improve your products or services. So, put in the effort to nurture and grow your community, and you will see the benefits in the long run.

Over to You

Abandon the tempting trap of buying followers and instead focus on creating a vibrant online community where sincere relationships foster long-term success.

Here at MYOB, we understand the challenges of social media management for small businesses. This includes customized content strategies, targeted audience engagement techniques, and ongoing support to enhance your online visibility and engagement. Our experienced team of social media managers, with years of industry knowledge, can collaborate with you to create a content strategy that not only reflects your brand values but also captivates your intended audience.

What aspect of building a loyal following do you find most challenging? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments!

Written By: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger

Threads or X? Which Platform is Better for Your Small Business?

Threads or X? Which Platform is Better for Your Small Business?

Imagine you’re at an industry conference. In one corner, a group throws ideas back and forth in rapid bursts, keeping the energy high. Across the room, another group dives deep into a specific topic, sharing insights and fostering focused discussion. These two scenarios perfectly capture the vibe of X (formerly Twitter) and Threads, two social media platforms vying for your attention. But which platform is best suited for your small business? Let’s dive into the details.

Similarities Between X and Threads: Connecting with Your Audience

At their core, both X and Threads are about connecting with your audience. You can share updates, engage in conversations, and build brand awareness. Both platforms allow for multimedia content—think images, videos, and polls (on X)—to grab attention and break up text. Plus, they’re free to use (with X offering a premium tier, but we’ll get to that later). Now, let’s explore the features and differences of X and Threads to help you choose the right platform for your small business.

The Plot Thickens: Key Differences to Consider

Here’s where things get interesting. X thrives on brevity. With a 280-character limit, posts are concise and fast-paced, perfect for news snippets, witty remarks, and joining trending conversations. It’s like a digital watercooler, buzzing with the latest happenings.

Threads, on the other hand, is all about longer-form storytelling. Here, you can create “threads”— think a series of connected posts — to delve into a specific topic, share a tutorial, or showcase your behind-the-scenes process. It’s a more intimate space for fostering deeper connections.

For example, on X, a user can quickly share breaking news updates or engage in real-time discussions about a current event by crafting short, impactful tweets. On the other hand, Threads provides a platform for a writer to explore a complex issue in depth by constructing a series of threads that build upon each other to create a cohesive narrative.

So, Two Accounts or One?

The good news is you may not need both platforms. Consider your target audience and your brand voice. If your business thrives on quick updates and witty banter, then X might be your jam. But if you excel at in-depth content and building a community, Threads could be a goldmine.

A recent poll found that 24% of social media users say that Threads is boring or unengaging, while only 11% feel the same about X.” This suggests it might not be ideal for all industries. For example, a fashion brand looking to engage with a younger, more trend-focused audience may find success on X with its emphasis on quick updates and wit. On the other hand, a nonprofit organization focused on education and community building may benefit more from using Threads to create deeper connections and foster discussion among followers.

Ultimately, the decision to use two separate accounts or just one depends on your overall social media strategy and goals. It’s important to consider the type of content you want to share and how you want to engage with your audience. By understanding the strengths of each platform and how they align with your brand, you can make an informed choice that will best serve your business goals. Remember, consistency and authenticity are key in building a strong online presence, so choose the option that will allow you to effectively communicate your message and connect with your followers.

Demographics Decoded: Who’s on Each Platform?

To enhance your connection with your audience on platforms like X and Threads, conduct audience research, analyze engagement metrics, and directly seek feedback from your followers. X has a diverse user base, with a slight skew towards younger demographics (18–29). Despite the common assumption that Gen Z is primarily interested in TikTok, they actually represent the largest generation on X. X is still a platform that appeals to a wide range of age groups and demographics, however, making it a valuable tool for businesses across various industries and not just younger audiences.

Threads, on the other hand, appeals to a slightly older group (25–34) at 36.39%, followed by 18–24 years old at 19.29%. Threads focuses on nurturing close connections and engagement, providing an ideal space for businesses to cultivate a sense of community among their customers. This emphasis on interaction can lead to increased brand loyalty and customer retention.

Threads and Instagram Integration: Enhancing Social Media Presence

Interesting fact: Threads is smoothly integrated into the Instagram app, enabling users to access it directly from their Instagram feed without requiring a separate app or page. So, no, you don’t need a separate Threads page if you already have Instagram. Just swipe right from your Instagram feed to access it.

Free or Fee? Navigating X’s Premium Options

Both platforms are free to use in their basic forms. However, X’s paid version, X Premium, offers features such as extended video lengths for more engaging content, ad-free browsing to enhance user experience, and the unique ability to “undo” a tweet, which can be a valuable tool for maintaining a polished online presence. And of course, you’ll obtain the highly sought-after blue checkmark, symbolizing verification and authenticity! While the cost varies depending on location, it typically falls around $10 CAD a month.

Over to You: It’s All About Your Strategy

Choosing the right platform is not a one-size-fits-all decision. X and Threads are powerful tools, but the best platform depends on your brand voice, target audience, and content strategy. Experiment with both platforms to determine which one resonates most with your audience. Remember, MYOB is here to help you navigate the ever-changing social media landscape. Leverage our collective knowledge and experience to help you in developing a successful social media presence that enhances brand awareness and drives revenue. So, which platform will you conquer first?

The Power of Instagram for Businesses:  A Guide to Success

The Power of Instagram for Businesses: A Guide to Success

Instagram serves a greater purpose than just being a platform for teenagers to share selfies and food pictures (though, admittedly, those can be enjoyable too). For businesses, Instagram can be a powerful tool for reaching new customers, increasing brand awareness, and driving sales. Instagram can help your business stand out and connect effectively with your target audience by using hashtags, engaging with followers, and creating visually appealing content.

With over two billion monthly active users globally, as of early 2024, businesses can use Instagram to expand their reach, increase brand engagement, showcase products, run giveaways, and attract customers from all around the world. Effectively using this platform has become crucial for maintaining competitiveness and distinguishing from competitors and fostering brand loyalty.

Understanding Your Target Audience on Instagram

The era of relying on guesswork in marketing strategies is long gone. Instead, Instagram allows you to laser-target your ideal customer. With a whopping 78% of marketers using Instagram, the platform is teeming with people specifically interested in discovering new businesses, supporting small business and shopping local. Even better, Instagram’s demographics skew young, with a significant portion of users between 18 and 34 years old. This aligns perfectly with many small businesses, especially those targeting tech-savvy millennials or Gen Z.

Paid Ads Are Not Required

The beauty of Instagram is that organic reach, or the ability to get your content seen by people who don’t already follow you, is still very much alive. While paid advertising can certainly boost your visibility, it’s not a requirement for success. The key to success is to create high-quality, engaging content that resonates with your target audience. Consider showcasing stunning product photos, featuring user-generated content like glowing customer reviews, and providing glimpses from behind-the-scenes. Statistics have proven that posts with multiple images are more popular than a single image post.

Decoding Instagram’s Algorithm

Instagram’s algorithm prioritizes posts that generate engagement — likes, comments, shares, and saves. This means that the more interactions your posts receive, the more likely they are to be shown to a larger audience.

To boost your business’s reach on Instagram, focus on creating content that encourages these types of interactions. Encourage your followers to like, comment on, and share your posts by asking questions, running contests, or hosting giveaways. Engage with your audience by responding to comments and messages and collaborate with influencers or other brands to widen your reach.

By consistently producing high-quality, engaging content, and actively interacting with your audience, you can increase your visibility and grow your business on Instagram. Additionally, using Instagram’s features such as stories, reels, and Live can also help attract more followers and engagement:

  • Stories allow you to share more casual, behind-the-scenes content that can create a more personal connection with your audience. You can also use this space to share content from other creators that aligns with your own or share your own posts to bring additional attention to them.
  • Reels are a great way to showcase your creativity and personality through short, videos.
  • Instagram Live is another powerful tool for engaging with your audience in real-time, allowing you to answer questions, host Q&A sessions, or even collaborate with other influencers or brands.

By diversifying the types of content you share on Instagram, and using all of the platform’s features, you can attract a wider audience and keep them engaged with your brand.

Essential Features for Business Success

Instagram offers a wealth of features specifically designed to empower businesses. Here are a few key ones:

  • Instagram Shop: Turn your profile into a mini online store, allowing customers to browse and purchase products directly within the app.
  • Shoppable Posts: Tag products within your posts so viewers can seamlessly click through to purchase.
  • Insights: Analyze your posts’ performance to see what’s resonating with your audience and tailor your content accordingly.

Enhancing Your Instagram Strategy with Professional Support

Although mastering Instagram requires time and dedication, there are resources to support you in navigating the platform effectively. Consider exploring social media management tools or brushing up on your marketing skills with online courses. Remember, a thriving online presence is an essential part of running a successful business today. If you have any questions about getting started or need assistance with your online marketing strategy, feel free to reach out to us for guidance.

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger

Why Your Small Business Needs a Facebook Page

Why Your Small Business Needs a Facebook Page

Imagine this: There’s an amazing bakery down the street that used to have lines out the door for their cakes and cookies. They were all the rage a few years ago, but lately, it seems a little quieter over there. What has changed for them? It could come down to one thing: either a lackluster or zero social media presence.

Having an active Facebook page to display their delicious treats, interact with customers, and advertise special offers could help them reach a broader audience and revive their busy days. Social media is a valuable tool for small businesses to remain relevant and engaged with their local community.

Indeed, managing social media can be tough for small business owners because of its rapid pace. Yet, by putting in some effort and creativity, you can recapture customers’ interest and revive excitement around your business.

Now, you might be thinking, “Isn’t Facebook a dying platform? Don’t the algorithms make it impossible for businesses to get seen?” Indeed, there is some truth to that. Organic reach, the number of people who view your posts without paid promotion, has declined. Yet, this doesn’t mean Facebook is useless for small businesses. In fact, it can be a powerful tool if you use it strategically. Here’s why:

Standing Out from the Crowd: Algorithms and Searchability

Facebook’s algorithms might favour personal connections, but that doesn’t mean business pages are invisible. Here’s the secret: business pages have different algorithms than personal profiles. This means you can optimize your content specifically for business goals, like driving website traffic or increasing brand awareness.

Additionally, Facebook’s searchability can work in your favour as a small business. By using keywords and relevant hashtags in your posts, you can help more people find your content. This can help you reach a wider audience and attract new followers who may be interested in your products or services. By staying active on the platform and engaging with your audience, you can build a strong online presence and establish credibility in your industry. Overall, with the right strategy and consistent effort, Facebook can still be a valuable marketing tool for small businesses looking to grow their online presence.

Plus, a Facebook page enhances the online visibility of your business. It functions as a digital storefront, including your bio, contact information, and a prominent link to your website. This information pops up in Google searches too, making it easier for potential customers to discover you.

Remember the imaginary small bakery I used as an example above? They could update their approach and use their Facebook page to showcase their daily specials, new menu items, and customer testimonials. By consistently updating their page with mouthwatering photos and engaging posts, they can attract more foot traffic. Additionally, by responding promptly to messages and reviews on their page, they can build trust with customers and improve their reputation both online and offline.

Public vs. Private Groups: Fostering Your Community

Facebook groups are a fantastic way to build a community around your brand. But should you go public or private? Here’s the breakdown:

Private groups: These offer a more intimate space for discussions and member interaction. Think of it as a loyalty club where you can share exclusive content, company news, links to your blog, and even host Q&A sessions. When members join using their personal Facebook pages, it creates an opportunity to share your business page within the group, encouraging interaction and promotion among members. However, keep in mind that referrals within private groups may not always send a notification to the tagged business due to privacy settings.

Public groups: While they offer a wider reach, public groups are also more susceptible to spam and negativity. Despite the potential drawbacks, public groups can be a valuable tool for reaching a larger audience and gaining exposure for your business. By sharing valuable content and engaging with members in a positive way, you can create a thriving community that supports your brand. Just be sure to monitor the group closely and enforce rules to support a positive and welcoming environment for all members.

Ultimately, whether you choose a private or public group, both can be effective in building relationships with customers and growing your business.

The Power of Paid Advertising (But Not Always)

Organic reach on Facebook has declined, and in some cases, paid advertising is necessary to effectively reach your target audience. While paid advertising can be a powerful tool for reaching a larger audience, it is important to consider the cost and effectiveness of each campaign.

Sometimes, organic reach can still be effective, especially if you have a strong community and engaging content. It’s important to test different strategies and measure the results to determine the best approach for your business. In the end, a combination of both paid advertising and organic reach may be the most effective way to grow your brand and reach your target audience.

So, should you revive your Facebook page or, if you don’t have one, should you create a new one? Definitely! There’s a whole community waiting to be discovered, and your small business has something unique to offer.

Over to You!

So, does your small business need a Facebook page? Without a doubt! But remember, strategic planning is key. Customize your content, use groups, and evaluate paid advertising based on your goals.

MYOB can assist you in navigating the dynamic landscape of Facebook for business by providing customized strategies and expert guidance. We provide resources and ongoing support to help you get started and continue growing. So, what are you waiting for? Jump in and start building those connections today!

Stop the Spam! Why Unsolicited Messages Hurt Your Brand’s Reputation

Stop the Spam! Why Unsolicited Messages Hurt Your Brand’s Reputation

Have you ever scrolled through your inbox, excited about a potential customer inquiry, only to find a generic message from an unfamiliar company asking for a follow?  We’ve all been there. It’s annoying, feels impersonal, and, frankly, reflects poorly on the sender. However, for many small businesses struggling to gain visibility and engagement, unsolicited messages may appear as a tempting shortcut to boost their follower counts.

Here’s the truth: it’s a recipe for disaster. Let’s explore the reasons why spammy tactics can harm your brand image, lead to legal issues, and discover alternative strategies to cultivate an authentic social media following.

The Impact of Bots: Understanding Their Detrimental Effects

Imagine this: you own a bakery and have spent hours crafting engaging content for your bakery’s Instagram. You post a mouth-watering picture of your latest creation—a decadent chocolate cake. Suddenly, your comments section explodes with generic messages like “OMG, love this cake! Follow for more deliciousness!” When you start seeing dozens of comments like these out of the blue, they are likely from “bots,” which are automated accounts used to inflate follower counts. However, this poses a significant issue: bots lack the ability to become genuine customers and actually detract from authentic interactions. They won’t buy your products, engage with your content, or join valuable conversations.

A recent study found that up to 71% of US and UK consumers will unfollow influencers if they find out they have bought fake followers. Having fake followers can damage your credibility and authenticity as an influencer or brand.

Quality over quantity is key for building your audience. Engage with genuine followers instead of prioritizing high numbers for a loyal and valuable audience in the long term. This will create a dedicated community that will help your brand overall. Keep in mind, authenticity is crucial in marketing.

Laws of the Land: CASL and CAN-SPAM

Canada has strict regulations regarding unsolicited electronic communications, known as CASL (Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation), which went into effect July 1, 2014. Essentially, you can’t just blast out emails or messages to anyone with a pulse. Recipients need to explicitly opt-in to receive communications from your business. Violating CASL can result in hefty fines, up to $10M per violation for companies and up to $1M per violation for individuals. It is essential for your business (and wallet!) to ensure that all electronic communications follow the guidelines established by CASL.

In addition to obtaining consent from recipients, businesses must also include a clear and easy way for individuals to unsubscribe from their communications. This ensures recipients have control over the messages they receive and helps businesses maintain compliance with CASL regulations. Regularly staying informed about the latest updates and changes to CASL is crucial to avoiding potential fines and penalties. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) website provides valuable resources and guidelines to help businesses navigate the CASL maze and ensure their electronic communications are in compliance with Canadian law.

The U.S. has similar regulations under the Federal Communications Commission’s CAN-SPAM Act. The CAN-SPAM Act requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to issue rules with regard to commercial e-mail and some text messages sent to wireless devices such as cell phones—not just email in general. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces the CAN-SPAM Act.

You or your business may be subject to fines and penalties totalling up to $51,744 for each email sent if found to be in violation. Moreover, ignoring CAN-SPAM compliance undermines the reputation and image of your brand overall and leaves it unprotected.

Following these guidelines and staying informed about regulations can protect businesses from costly fines and maintain a positive image with customers. It is crucial for organizations to have a clear understanding of the rules and regulations surrounding electronic communications in order to avoid potential legal issues. Additionally, implementing strong internal policies and procedures for email marketing can help businesses ensure compliance with both CASL and CAN-SPAM regulations. Taking proactive steps to stay informed and compliant with these laws will ultimately help your business.

Instagram Guidelines: Adhering to the Platform’s Rules

Similar to CASL, Instagram has clear guidelines on acceptable messaging practices. Remember that frustrating “action blocked” message you may have received after mass-tagging irrelevant accounts? That’s Instagram flexing its muscles. Repeated offenses could lead to account suspension or even termination. So, ditch the automated follow requests and generic DMs.

Instead, focus on creating engaging and personalized content that will resonate with your followers. Building a strong and authentic presence on Instagram takes time and effort, but it will ultimately lead to better results than spamming tactics. Take the time to understand the platform’s rules and regulations, and make sure your messaging aligns with them. For instance, avoiding mass-tagging irrelevant accounts can help you adhere to Instagram’s guidelines and prevent potential penalties. By following these guidelines, you can steer clear of potential penalties and uphold a positive reputation on Instagram.

Newsletters and Eblasts: Building Trust, Not Spam Folders

Newsletters and e-blasts are valuable tools for interacting with customers and promoting your business. But here’s the key: focus on permission-based marketing, which involves obtaining consent from subscribers before sending them marketing communications. This approach ensures that your messages are well-received and compliant with privacy regulations. Encourage visitors to your website to subscribe to your mailing list by offering valuable content, like exclusive discounts or early access to new products. Make sure your sign-up form clearly outlines the types of messages subscribers will receive and how often they will receive them.

While there’s no hard-and-fast rule on when to segment your e-blasts, industry standards suggest sending them in batches based on subscriber behaviour or demographics. This way, your messages stay relevant and personalized, standing out from the clutter in their inbox.

Beyond Spam: Building a Thriving Social Media Presence

So, what steps can you take to build a genuine social media following and foster authentic connections with your audience? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Prioritize creating high-quality content. Share photos, videos, and stories that reflect your brand and resonate with your audience.
  • Be authentic. Let your brand voice shine through!
  • Engage with your followers. Respond to comments and messages, provide answers to inquiries, and organize interactive challenges to boost engagement.
  • Run targeted ads: Paid advertising can be a great way to reach a wider audience while ensuring your message gets in front of the right people.

Over to You!

Building a thriving social media presence takes time and effort. But by prioritizing authentic connections and valuable content over spam tactics, you’ll attract a loyal following of genuine customers. Keep in mind that genuine followers hold more value than a large number of inactive accounts. Avoid spammy messages and concentrate on creating social media experiences that truly resonate with your audience.

What strategies have you found most effective for increasing engagement on social media platforms?

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger