Social media is everywhere these days – and as a business owner you simply can’t avoid it. But it’s essential to make sure that you’re doing the right things in order to help build your brand online, engage existing and prospective customers, and showcase your products or services in a way that’s beneficial to your business.
To give you a helping hand, we’ve compiled the 5 most common social media mistakes small businesses make, along with tips on how you can avoid falling into those traps…
1. Not Having a Clear Strategy
Although social media sounds like it should be a pretty straightforward part of your business, the truth is that you’ll require a rock solid strategy in order to get any use out of it. The biggest mistake that small business make is approaching their social media accounts without a clear plan.
Typically, this leads to a wide range of issues, and some of them can be potentially devastating to a company’s online brand! Not understanding which social platforms your customers are most engaged on, and how they use them, can lead to wasted resources, ill-advised messaging, and an overall lack of engagement and effectiveness, rendering your efforts pointless.
How to Avoid It
It’s essential that you know exactly who you’re targeting, which social networks will be most effective, and how you’re going to engage users before you kickstart your social campaigns. There are only so many hours in a day, so wasting time on a social network that you’re not equipped to get the most out of, or that doesn’t lend itself to the kind of content you’re creating, can be disastrous. Not every business needs to be active on every platform, so choose yours wisely, and base your decision on the networks your customers are actually using! Make plans for what you’ll post, and where and when you’ll post it, and you’ll see much better results.
2. Buying Followers/Likes
We run into this with surprising frequency: small businesses who thought it would be a great idea to give their socials a boost by buying cheap likes or followers. On paper, it seems a great idea. Spend a small amount to boost your numbers and make your brand look more popular. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, most of those “users” you buy aren’t users at all. They’re “ghost” profiles set up specifically to like pages. You’ll get absolutely no benefit from having them. Even worse, your posts’ visibility is based on the level of engagement your page receives, so these bought followers actually decrease the likelihood of legitimate users seeing your content appear on their timelines.
How to Avoid It
This is actually pretty easy: don’t buy followers. The idea of giving yourself a quick head start sounds tempting, but ultimately it’s going to damage your brand, your social strategy, and your impact on real users.
If you’re finding it difficult to grow your social media numbers organically, then there’s a good chance you’re not approaching things correctly. Are you offering valuable content on your social profiles? Are you linking to them from your website? Do your customers even use social media regularly?
3. Promoting Yourself Too Much
You’re using social media in order to help grow your business, attract new customers and showcase your products and services, right? So it makes perfect sense that everything you post should be about showing off how awesome your company is! Well… no. That’s actually a pretty terrible idea. You know those people who do nothing but talk about themselves? That’s how you’ll be seen!
Social media should be just that… Social. You obviously need to push your offerings, but a profile that contains nothing but shameless self-promotion isn’t going to be seen as particularly useful or valuable to customers. It’s not all about you. In fact, it’s not about you at all, it’s about your customers!
How to Avoid It
Self-promotion is fine, but you need to make sure it’s not the only thing you do on social media. The most successful small business pages are the ones that offer strong, engaging content of value to their followers. Ask them questions. Find out what their pain points are and address them. Build your knowledge base by learning about what they like, and what they dislike.
By all means promote your business, but do it in a way that doesn’t make you sound like a self-obsessed Valley Girl at a trendy bar!
If you’ve gone to the effort of setting up social media pages for your brand, it’s important that you maintain a level of consistency across the board. This means that you need to actually stick to a posting schedule, ensure that each network’s page looks and feels the same, and that your tone and messaging is consistent across the board.
Nothing reflects as poorly on a small business as a dead social media account with zero activity for months, or even years, at a time. Even though your website is your main online presence, potential customers are always going to be checking you out on social media – so make sure they know you’re still in business!
How to Avoid It
It’s essential to keep a list of the social media accounts you’ve set up for your business. Avoid having multiple accounts on the same networks, and make sure that they all feature the same (or similar) imagery, use the same logos and contain the latest, most up-to-date, contact information and opening hours for your business. Create a posting schedule as part of your overall social media strategy and stick to it as closely as possible. Additionally, be very careful about who has administrator access to your business’ social media profiles! You don’t ever want to find yourself locked out after a disgruntled employee has quit!
5. Not Engaging
The whole point of social media is to engage and interact with your customers in a way that’s convenient and easy for them. This means that when a customer asks you a question, either via a direct message or on your timeline, you need to respond as quickly as possible. This is one case where standard business hours definitely don’t apply!
The real value offered by social media, both to you and your customers, is the ability to build strong, meaningful relationships in a way that’s convenient to everyone. Don’t waste this great opportunity!
How to Avoid It
Essentially, you’ve got to be ready, willing and able to engage with your followers on their schedule, not yours. If you’re not comfortable with adding your business’ social media accounts to your smart device, then make sure you’ve got a staff member who’s trained in what to say and how to say it with round-the-clock access to your profiles
It’s not a one-way street, either. Always look for new ways to add actionable content and encourage your followers to contribute as much as possible.
Social media can be a great source of inbound traffic for your website, as well as an invaluable tool to connect with potential customers and showcase the goods or services you provide. Getting it wrong, however, can prove disastrous! If you’re unsure of how to best use social media for your business, the Pixel Durham team is here to help! Contact us today to schedule a call with our team, and identify how you can use the power of social media to enrich your digital marketing!