Social media has made marketing in today’s business world a much easier proposition for small businesses.
Social media is cheap, effective and easy to use, which is why it is changing the way businesses market themselves to customers. These days, every business should have a strong social media presence.
But even businesses that have a strong presence in social media can make mistakes in the way they use it.
Because the world of social media is ever-evolving, there are very few hard and fast rules when it comes to its application but common sense dictates that there are a number of pitfalls to avoid and possibilities to accentuate, if you know what you’re doing.
So how can you avoid failure while employing the proper tools to gain experience?
You can do it by avoiding big mistakes and learning as you go. Here are some of the biggest mistakes business owners make when it comes to Social Media and how to avoid them.
- THEY INCLUDE TOO MUCH PERSONAL INFORMATION
It is important to note the difference between a business website and a business page on a social media site like Facebook or Twitter. A company website is normally static and shows what a given company does and sells, while giving some information about the company. Ideally there are squeeze pages, crawlers and other lead capture generators on the site, as well as places customers can actually purchase products. On a company website, for the most part, interaction with the customer is limited to purchases and basic question.
That is a far cry from social media sites.
A company page on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIN and Instagram is more of a way to interact with customers and leads. It is also a great way to generate buzz about your company, offer value and build referrals.
Social media is all of these things because it is a dynamic way of looking at marketing.
Businesses don’t go in search of customers in the world of social media. Businesses create a message that can be found by potential customers. Today, social media marketing means businesses make it easy for customers to find them.
That is why businesses that use social media are walking a fine line between business and personal.
Social media is a great way to connect with old friends, make new ones and show the world what you did last Saturday night.
But that is personal social media. Your personal profile on Facebook or Twitter can have that kind of information, but your business page CAN’T.
Small businesses can be especially vulnerable because the owner is often somebody who everybody recognizes.
If you own a small business and you are constantly posting information on your company’s Facebook page, you have to always consider what is appropriate and inappropriate.
You may have strong political leanings, have had a great weekend with old friends or be the biggest Melbourne Storm fan in the world, but your customers don’t want to know about that kind of thing.
More importantly, you don’t ever want to say anything that might offend a customer, and it’s impossible to know what might offend someone else.
One rule of thumb business owners can follow when it comes to what is and isn’t appropriate for their company’s social media is “The Mom Rule”. If you wouldn’t want your Mom to see it or hear you talking about it, don’t post it.
If you had a particularly difficult day and one customer was the reason, don’t post about it. If the contractor that was remodeling your office has been slacking, don’t post about it.
Don’t air your dirty laundry, ever, on your company’s social media sites.
That’s why, in addition to The Mom Rule, always wait a few minutes before posting something to your social media wall.
It’s like that old rule about writing an angry letter and then waiting a day before mailing, but for the information age.
Information is sent too quickly at times, and that can be very dangerous for small businesses, especially if the owner doesn’t constantly filter the message.
Social media is like fire. It can be the most powerful tool your business has ever had if used correctly, but used improperly, it can burn you.
2. THEIR MESSAGE IS BORING.
While you don’t want to have a social media presence that is all drunken pictures and stripper poles, you also don’t want to bore potential customers to death. You want to give customers something interesting so they keep coming back. Remember, social media isn’t a one-time visit thing.
You want your customers to follow you, watch what you do and give you feedback. You want them to be an active part of your social media presence and the only way to do that is to keep your presence interesting and relevant.
The best way to avoid boring posts is to always think – How does this product/focus/offering/service HELP my audience?
3.THERE ISN’T ENOUGH FRESH CONTENT
In the world of social media, content is king. Do you know why FOX SPORTS comes up at the top anytime you search for anything related to sports? The thousands of pages of content on the site certainly have to do with it.
There are many different criteria that go into Search Engine Optimization, but content on a given website is one of the most important.
If you have hundreds of pages of content about your Earthmoving business, but your competition only has two or three, your site is sure to rate better with search engines.
The person on the other end has to be someone that customers like and want to interact with and showing them as a person, enjoying work is a great way to do it.
You might post pictures of your team having fun, interesting things that happen during the workday or anything interactive and interesting that customers and leads might want to know about.
It’s also important to remember the days of internet browsing are long in the past and this is a very important reason to keep your online presence fun and vibrant.
Have you ever wanted to buy a product, but the website looked like it hadn’t been updated in weeks or months? What was your impression of that business? Did you buy from them?
With more content, your site also has more information. You should answer questions that customers might have in your content, as well as telling customers about exciting new things coming up.
The content doesn’t have to be literary in nature, but it does have to be up to date, useful and interesting for the reader. And never stop updating it.
4.THEY SPAM THEIR CUSTOMERS
Whether it’s in the virtual world or the real world, nobody likes a pushy salesman. Th ere are words for salesman that don’t take no for answer in the real world. In the virtual world, it can be known as Spam.
Spam filters have made the world safer for internet browsers, but filters don’t mean spam doesn’t exist.
It’s everywhere and with the plethora of mailing lists and squeeze pages, it has never been easier to get constantly spammed. For example, put your name on the wrong list and you’re getting Viagra ads in your inbox five times a day.
That is why it is vitally important that businesses treat their customer list like gold and don’t start spamming.
Obviously, the customer already feels a level of trust with any business they’ve given their contact information to, so why would businesses disregard that trust by paying customers back with useless emails?
Since they already buy from you, it isn’t necessary to bombard them with information. Personal notes, thank you cards and special offers are all great to send to customers. Customers should be happy to get those things, but generic spam can have the opposite effect.
Spamming can cause customers and leads to get upset and not buy from you based on principle.
If your emails are jamming up their inbox with the same offers hour after hour, day after day, they are far more likely to be turned off than turned on.
Instead of spamming, find other ways to reach customers and leads, but be sure to not come off as pushy. Friendly and professional always works in these situations.
5.THEY LACK A CONSISTENT MESSAGE AND IMAGE
What is the image your business portrays to the world? Is it consistent or scattered? When you check your social media sites, are you portraying the same image throughout or is your image all over the place? In many ways, business success is based on success in marketing and one of the cardinal rules of marketing is to portray a consistent image in all marketing materials.
For instance, websites that have different logos but are featuring the same company are not only confusing but unprofessional as well.
Articles that convey one message but are at odds with other articles on your site can cause confusion and lose customers.
Remember, one of the basic rules of the new social media age is that businesses want to make themselves as easy to find as possible for customers.
That includes having a crystal clear image and message that tells customers who they are buying from.
If your image is convoluted and confusing, it will certainly have a negative impact on your bottom line.
6.THEY DIDN’T TEST AND MEASURE
Testing and measuring is the most important aspect of marketing, no matter the campaign or the business. If you don’t test and measure, you’ll never know what really works and what doesn’t. You’ll always be guessing and guessing in the rigid, real information world of business is a recipe for disaster.
Like any marketing campaign, any work that you do in social media to grow your customer base should be tested and measured. Many businesses just assume because they are using social media, it must be effective, but they couldn’t be more wrong.
The one difference between traditional marketing and social media marketing is social media marketing shouldn’t cost you a lot of money, so it is far easier to have an effective campaign. At the same time, you don’t want to waste time on campaigns that aren’t as effective as others and the only way to know what works best is by testing and measuring.
Keep every lead you get from your social marketing campaign separate from your other leads.
For instance, if you have both a website and a company Facebook page, measure which brings in more customers and focus your energies on that method.
If you have multiple pages and sites, figure out why some do better than others. Maybe the message is different or maybe one has a better offer or better copy.
Whatever the answer is, without testing and measuring you’ll never know, which is why it is always so important.
If you’re unsure about how Social Media fits within your Lead Generation activities, give me a call on 0421 063 900 and I’ll be happy to have a quick chat about the best possible platforms for you!