Social media is a must for any business, big or small. Social media is free, it reaches a large audience, and it’s a great way to connect with your current and future customers. The problem is, if you’re not correctly executing your social media strategy on social then you could actually be damaging your image, not building it. Here are ten mistakes you must avoid while using social in order to make the most of it’s awesome potential:
Expecting too much, too fast
Setting out to market through social media is a long-term goal, nothing happens overnight. A common mistake that companies make is setting up a Twitter, creating a Facebook profile, and posting a few photos on Instagram and expecting big changes… Fast. As appealing as overnight viral success can sound, it simply isn’t realistic. Don’t give up! Keep going and you will start to see the success you’re looking for.
Not responding to comments, tweets, and questions
Customers today expect immediate responses from their favorite brands with any issues, comments, or questions they have. Whether it be a tweet asking if you’re open on Memorial Day or a Facebook review describing a negative experience, respond as soon as you receive the feedback. Now, Facebook even features a “very responsive to messages” icon on your business page making it more important than ever to be timely in your responses.
Doing the same tricks… Over and over… And Over
Imagine if your favorite TV channel played the same shows with the same commercials hour after hour, day after day. You’d probably find a new network to watch… Right? The same thing happens on social media. When you fall under the rut of posting the same kinds of content over and over, with little variation, it becomes automated feeling and your audience will unfollow, unfriend, and disconnect. Be careful to keep it fresh and always change up what you’re sharing with your followers.
Keeping it strictly social
Okay, so let’s say you’re doing a great job at building a solid following, and your fans are engaging, liking, retweeting, and commenting. Don’t forget what the point of your social efforts are- finding new customers and connections! Find ways to move those fans off your social networks and onto your email list, phone contacts, and even (hopefully) client book.
Being ‘brand-y’ and not human
Look, people (at least not ALL people) aren’t naÏve… They know that a small business doesn’t have hundreds of employees with a full marketing team running their social efforts. An account that is clearly a human, maybe even the owner of the business, has a lot more appeal to customers than a manufactured ‘brand’ voice spewing out insincere phrases and stiff answers to questions. Be real! But, of course, be careful to continue to keep it professional. A simple way to monitor what you say? Keep your conversations online the same as you would an in-store interaction with a customer.
Being a megaphone and not a telephone
We're taking this tip from social media influencer Mike Kawula, who recently told us this advice in an interview... Instead of shouting to your audience, whisper. What does this mean? Stop blindly yelling about your brand, share valuable things that your customers would want to read… Not just more noise. Don’t tweet things like “Follow us on Facebook!” “Buy our new product!” “Call us now!”... Who wants to read that?
Not focusing on relationships
Knowing that you care is all your customers want. They don’t willingly follow a company to be tricked into buying into, promoting, or growing your business. The truth is, they want to be loved. Well, maybe not loved, but at least valued. So value them! If you notice the same person keeps sharing your posts, send them a thank you. Two of our favorite social media moments came when, twice in one week, we received gifts (offline) from online brands. One company sent a hand-written card along with some stickers for their brand thanking us for participating in one of their sponsored Twitter chats, and the other sent us a hat with their logo along with a message on Twitter. How cool is that? Making it personal makes people care.
It’s all about you
There are many ways someone can be annoying online. Posting too much, sending the much despised automated inbox thank you, and spamming walls, chats, and blogs with your own self-promotion and links. Be sure to monitor what you’re sending out. Constantly posting things on social media about your business, your new products, your or your new blog posts isn't engaging. Would it bug YOU if you followed yourself? Then don’t post it.
Losing sight of the target
Think before you post. It’s like looking before you cross the street. Is this something my target customer really wants to know? Is it something that will better their experience with my company? If it doesn’t follow these cues, then it probably shouldn’t be sent out. It’s much easier to stop something from being sent than it is to take back something already done.
Being afraid of change
Social media is always changing. Remember Myspace…? My point exactly. Imagine if you resisted switching over to Facebook years back, where would you be today? Don’t be afraid of jumping on ‘the next big thing’ and embracing innovation! To stay up on the latest social media trends, read sites like Social Media Examiner and Social Media Today.