Social media offers business owners a cost-effective way to reach their customers and prospects that is both engaging and profitable. Public relations professionals use social media to help manage the public’s perception of a brand, and marketers understand that social media creates the perfect opportunity to develop brand awareness and remain top of mind so that people will remember you when they need you. The process of accomplishing your marketing and communications objectives through social media is not entirely complicated, but it does require a certain level of expertise and understanding of how to maximize the opportunity before you. Below are some mistakes that non-professionals tend to make with their social media marketing efforts. Are you guilty of doing any of these?
- Having unqualified people manage social media accounts:This one is a pet peeve of mine. Business owners who are not social media savvy, tend to think that their 18 year old niece is good enough for the job because she’s always on Snap Chat and Twitter. Ugh! Your social media accounts are the new face of your business and hold the opportunity to dramatically increase or decrease your business revenue. Having an untrained and inexperienced person make decisions around your marketing content and interact with your customers is a decision that could very well send your business into the mud.
In his book called, UNmarketing , Scott Stratten teaches readers to use social media platforms to engage in conversations, rather than to just blurt out one way messages. Social media provides businesses with tremendous reach and the ability to completely control the outgoing message. That relationship with the public is vital to business and needs to be managed professionally by someone who knows how to have influential conversations and how to manage reputations. Kids just can’t do that. I know your niece doesn’t cost much, but hey, you do get what you pay for, you know.
- Not having a content strategy: If you are going to commit to marketing your business through social media, then you need to have a plan with clear objectives, key messages, a content calendar and you also need to know which platforms will give you the most bang for your efforts. Additionally, it helps to know which platforms should receive which content and when to circulate it. The who, what, when, where and why of journalism is also an essential component of your social media planning.
- No long-term commitment to social media: Listen, if you are going to do this, then commit to doing it right. You don’t need to be on every platform available, but you do need to post regularly, share other relevant content, engage your audience and do it for the rest of your business life!
- Rarely posting: If you are going to commit to using social media to market your business, then you have to put an effort into writing posts (or having someone do it for you), sharing other people’s content, asking for followers and following others. It is social, after all, so you have to make a point of being engaged and present.
- Posting content that has no value and does not inspire interaction: Business owners do this when they only post sale or product information. Nobody really cares what you sell until they need it, but they will continue to have a relationship with you and respect you as a trusted advisor if you share important information, provide educational content (like this and all of my posts), and behave online in a way which is helpful and respectful. That means creating the opportunity to open discussions about your products and services and not just creating one-way communication pieces, because that’s not really effective communication at all.
- Fighting on social media: I realize that some people really need to be put in their place when they post inappropriate content, say rotten things, etc. Don’t make it your business to set people straight, ever! First of all, when you add a comment to a post that you find offensive, you give it life. All of your followers and that person’s followers will see it, and your mutual extended networks will see it as well. Think of that the next time you see a picture of a scantily clad woman on LinkedIn. By telling the poster that this is inappropriate for a business site, you are actually helping to spread the content further. Shh! Also, if you choose to argue on social media and hand out insults to people who offend you, then you are essentially making yourself look like an idiot in front of millions of people. Stay quiet, walk away, do something else.
- Ignoring customers’ inquiries and complaints: If a customer sends you a message or makes a comment on your post, then listen, and respond within 24 hours. Whether they have something nice to say or not doesn’t matter. Respond politely and quickly. If the public sees you do not respond to customer inquiries, they will not respect you, so don’t ever ignore them or leave people with the impression that you ignore your customers. A public response to an inquiry followed by a private message is a nice touch. Do it if the platform allows for it.
- Appearing on too many platforms: The rule of thumb here is to only appear on social media platforms your customers are using. It is also important that you avoid having too many social media accounts to effectively manage. Since the content needs to be appropriate for the platform you are using, consider only using platforms that make content distribution simple.
- Having no followers or the wrong followers: Having 28 friends on Facebook, means you have no influence or reach. Having 2 million friends on Facebook, means you have plenty of influence and reach, but it is only valuable if they are potential customers. You can buy Twitter followers through various services, but don’t bother if your followers are outside of your geographic business area or would never be interested in your products or services. It is much better to place targeted ads than to just gather followers for the heck of it, but that’s a lesson for another day.
I certainly hope you found this blog informative and helpful. I teach small business owners how to develop their own content and how to mange their social media in a time efficient manner. You don’t need to spend all your time doing this. There are many ways to leverage the power your good quality content to attract customers. Feel free to reach out to me via my website: www.reneecormier.com .
Renée Cormier is a certified coach who shows you how to move forward and achieve growth in business and all other areas of life. Renée happily shares her business and personal development expertise through a variety of training and coaching programs that create unsurpassed value for her clientele. Would you like some help setting goals and getting things done? Get access to unlimited coaching services for a flat fee! Contact Renée for details.
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