There are tons of advantages for businesses with social media. These sites allow you to connect and engage with current and potential customers—and promote your brand—quickly and easily.
But, there are many ways businesses can miss the mark with their social media strategy.
Here are social media mistakes businesses make too often (and ways to avoid them!):
1. No Strategy
Social media makes it easy to pop off posts and tweets. But you shouldn’t put just anything out there. You have to remember that you have an image to maintain and a brand you want people to know and recognize.
So before you go jump headfirst into social media, you’ve got to have a plan. You’ll want to set the goals you wish to achieve with each platform you use, as well as how much time and resources you plan to spend on it. Even though social media is free, your time isn’t. You want to maximize the time you spend utilizing social media—not waste it.
You also need to have concrete ideas about the types of content you want to deliver to your audience. Take time to think through and write out the characteristics of your core audience. What type of information would be most helpful to them? What solutions can you address in your posts that will establish you as a go-to resource? You want to make sure that your content is meaningful and well thought out.
2. Not Paying Attention To Metrics
Some small businesses don’t take the time to analyze the metrics associated with their social media profiles, and that’s a big mistake. Data is an important way to measure what is working or not working in your social media strategy.
If you don’t look at analytics, you won’t be able to judge how well certain posts or social media campaigns you’ve launched are performing. Perhaps one of your goals is to create a hashtag campaign on Twitter to bring attention to a new product you have on the market—and ignite sales. Sales numbers certainly can give you a good idea about how effective your campaign was, but the metrics should also be analyzed.
Use metrics tools to track and measure whether or not your content is increasing your social media engagement.
3. Jumping Into Every Social Media Outlet
If you’re just starting out with social media for your small business, “go big or go home” is not the way to go about it. There are so many platforms out there: from Facebook, to Twitter, to LinkedIn, to Instagram, to Pinterest and more!
You don’t have to be on everything, at least not until you’re really in the social media groove. You’ll become overwhelmed and not know where to place most of your attention, so may throw up your hands and say, “Forget it!”
Instead, start slow. Facebook and Twitter are good ones to start with. You can keep your focus on longer, more informative posts on Facebook, and real-time dialogue on Twitter. Engage your audience and build a following there.
Then, as your audience increases, you can look at being more creative with platforms Instagram and Pinterest, which are image-based, and LinkedIn, which is more about networking.
4. Overlooking Branding Opportunities
Social media platforms provide multiple fields for you to insert your brand messages and images. Don’t leave these important fields blank.
Information about your company, your logo, and any other company links (e.g. to your website) and images are your sales tools on social media. You need to use the fields to your advantage to grab potential customers’ interest. Leaving aspects of your profile blank reflects poorly on you.
If you don’t provide complete information about your company on your profiles, people may think you aren’t legit. Also, the more complete your profiles are, the more likely you are to be found in search results.
5. Blowing Off Negative Comments
The are many positives to using social media for your small business. But you have to remember that you’re still dealing with the public…and that might mean disgruntled customers or clients may leave negative comments about your business on your posts or page.
Your knee-jerk reaction—as it would be for most of us—may be to delete the comment and ban or block the person. This might be the best way to handle your personal page, but for your small business, you want your social media to remain authentic and transparent.
Deleting a negative comment on your post (people see them quickly!) indicates a level of discomfort with what your company is doing. Handling the comment head on and addressing the concern shows that you are confident in your brand and your company’s service.
You don’t want to start a flame war or argument with the commenter. Be rational and patient. Address the comment, but if the person is looking for an argument you can walk about. Trust that the audience will see the comment for what it is and they’ll respect you for your response.
Everyone makes mistakes and that’s okay. We learn from them and move on. You don’t want the fear of mistakes to keep you from trying something new like social media.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from mistakes of the past – our own and those of others. The mistakes above have already been made. They’ll be repeated, but you can avoid that by learning from them and getting started with your social media effort the right way.
Social media marketing—done the right way—can be amazing for brand awareness. Using the tools properly helps leverage your company’s online presence!