Guest Post by Diana Smith
By now, most companies that want to connect with customers are on social media. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram etc. bring brands and their audience closer together in more ways than in the past. But it is all too easy to make social media mistakes when faced with what can be a very confusing online landscape to those that are new to it. Here is a roundup of social media mistakes small businesses can avoid.
1. Not having a clear strategy
Like with your business plan, your social media activities also need a well-defined strategy so that you know exactly what your goals are and work towards them. It is all too easy to get swallowed up in the flurry of tweets and Facebook posts without thinking your plan through. This leads to too much wasted time and resources. Instead, create a social media marketing plan at the outset, and ask yourself what you hope to achieve. Decide how much time and resources you want to spend on social media. Be very clear in your objectives, and you will find it easier to focus on them.
2. Trying to be on all the social media spaces
There are too many social media networks out there today, and not all will suit your business. It is important to find out which platforms suit your brand or you may end up wasting time and resources where they are not maximized or even useful. Do some research; find out what spaces your competitors use and the networks your customers are on. If you already have an established network of connections on a specific site, consider starting from there.
3. Talking only about yourself
Many businesses make the mistake of using social media as a space for hard sell and direct advertisements. Remember that your official website is already there for the purpose. In social spaces, your customers are most important, and you should aim at solving problems and reaching out to customers’ needs rather than promoting your products. It is wise to stick to an 80-20 rule, where only 20% of your posts should be about your products and 80% should be aimed at answering queries and connecting with customers at a deeper level.
4. Crudely posting about sensitive issues
Mistakes of posting untimely or insensitive comments about sensitive issues are unfortunately all too common on these platforms, sometimes from the biggest brands. This is the fastest way of committing social media suicide. Avoid ruining your brand credibility and reputation by staying away from political posts or those that can rouse great emotions.
5. Not measuring your performance
Since your time as well as your resources are limited as a small business, you want to be able to measure every activity to see if the investment is worth it. Monitoring your social media progress is easy today with the vast arsenal of tools that are available for each platform. Nearly every social media platform has analytics tools that you can use to monitor the results of your campaigns and presence on these platforms. Use them to your advantage, and change your strategies according to the results.
6. Not engaging enough
By its very nature, social media is meant for engaging. Do not make the mistake of posting too much and not listening to what your customers have to say or sharing their content when it is relevant. Take some time out to join new conversations or ask and answer questions. Also make sure to respond to any questions that people ask you or comments they make to you.
7. Underutilizing potential
Social media platforms offer many opportunities to strengthen branding, but these opportunities are often not utilized to their maximum potential. Leaving blanks in your profile is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Your brand logo, information and other relevant images and links are essential sales tools that make people aware of who you are and what you can offer. Never leave your profile incomplete, as it reflects negatively on your brand. Complete social profiles are also more likely to show up on search results, as search engines prefer content that is truly helpful to their users.
Learn from mistakes of others when you are starting out to build a social media presence as a small business. Take the right first steps with your social media business promotion and you will soon see results in your ROIs.
Diana Smith is a business coach and a part-time writer interested in topics related to marketing and advertising. She writes about new marketing strategies and low advertising possibilities. Useful information for this article has been kindly provided by Cubic Promote.