These days, it is almost impossible for businesses to stay competitive without a social presence. However, jumping in head first can also have some serious consequences. When you’re putting together a social media strategy for your small business, increase your chances of success by avoiding these common mistakes.
1. Not Knowing Your Audience
Perhaps the biggest mistake you can make is not knowing your audience and understanding what resonates with them. The companies who do social media marketing the best are the ones that understand it isn’t random or luck. Spend some time creating detailed customer profiles, including the social platform where they spend more of their time.
2. Ignoring Comments and Conversations
Once your profile is up and running, you have to maintain it. Part of that is responding to customer comments and engaging in conversations as quickly as possible. This shows your company truly care about its customers and is interested in what they have to say. As soon as you stop responding, people will think you are only on social media to promote your business—and that’s a huge turn off to customers.
3. Using Too Many Platforms
How hard can it be to manage a few posts? Hard, very hard. Don’t be fooled into thinking managing social media is easy. Curating good content and communicating regularly with users to build and maintain a strong presence takes a lot of effort. Understand the limits of your internal resources and start with just one platform at a time.
4. Implementing a One-Size-Fits-All Strategy
Once you are ready to take on additional platforms, it is important to come up with unique strategies for each. First, social media users expect different things from different platforms. For instance, Twitter is better for announcing a new product launch or sharing a funny quote applicable to your business. Facebook is better for posting how-to videos or sharing picture of your product being used. Second, users who see the same posts across different platforms will quickly lose interest in our posts and maybe your company.
The majority of social media users don’t like to be sold to. In fact, that’s largely why native advertising is on the rise. Social media is meant to be just that, social. If you are constantly hawking your products, social media users will tune you out. Instead, use social platforms as a way to build a lasting relationship with potential customers who in turn will want to use your product because they feel a connection with the business.
6. Handing Social Accounts to an Intern
Most businesses look at social media as an extra, not a must-do marketing channel, and hand it over to an intern or entry level staffer. While they are likely perfectly capable of setting up accounts and scheduling posts, they lack the in depth knowledge senior staff members have about products, customers, and the industry. But that knowledge is what will attract people on social media. Failing to leverage it could turn people off, or worse, lead them to think your company is incompetent.
7. Not Gathering Metrics
Many companies set up social profiles and conduct marketing without ever measuring the success of their efforts. Metrics worth tracking include social shares of content you’ve posted, referral traffic from social media sites, brand mentions across platforms, and the number of engaged users you have. Tracking these will help you understand what is working, what isn’t, and adjust accordingly for better success.