There’s no shame in getting confused by social media – there are so many platforms, everything moves quickly and it can seem more like fun than work (and often more like work than fun!). A lot of businesses have the sense they should have a social media presence, but then don’t know what to do with it. And, without wanting to worry you, it is easy to get things wrong.
Here are some common pitfalls that we see companies falling into, and how to avoid them.
Not doing it
There’s a small chance you can get away without using social media at all. Maybe if you’re in a niche market and your target audience don’t go online. If that’s your type of business, maybe you can put social media on the backburner for now but if not, it’s time to get on with it. Social media’s not going away – the networks and platforms are growing, fast. So you need to be there. Your customers are. If you don’t feel you have the time or experience to do it, buy in someone who can.
Doing everything all at once
On the other hand, trying to do too much too soon is damaging. Social media’s not just for fun, it’s a genuine business tool. So you need to take it seriously. If you’ve got limited resources you need to think about how to deploy them. Rather than cover all the available platforms badly, just focus on one and make that the best it can be. Then use the language appropriate for that platform and provide informative, educational and entertaining content. Doing something really well is a far better investment than spreading yourself too thinly.
Social media’s all about building an active following. If you post 5 times a day then disappear for a month, people are likely to lose interest. If you have lots of content ideas, use a scheduling tool to avoid overwhelming your followers and switching them off, or going silent when you’ve run out of inspiration. Treat your social media responsibilities as just that – a business responsibility just like admin or finance tasks. Schedule into your own calendar and make it an appointment you can’t miss.
The beauty of social media is that it’s interactive. If people see a dead profile – either one that you’ve not posted to for a while or one where you’ve not interacted, they’ll go elsewhere. If someone takes the time to comment or connect with you, take the time to respond and get a conversation going. It builds connection and trust.
Not being themselves
Social media is less formal than other business communication channels. You’re looking to sell your brand and message at least as much as your products. So, get personal. Use your own voice. It’s fine to share stories, insider snippets or mistakes. People expect it and will like you for it. If you get negative feedback, respond to it, quickly and respectfully. Social media is the way for your followers, leads and customers to see a little bit of your business heart and soul – and ultimately that’s what will have them choosing you rather than your competition.
My other top tip – do your social media planning and scheduling in a coffee shop. I find that getting out from the office and into an environment where there’s lots of people helps me to focus on the task in hand more than if I’m next to the office phone and being interrupted.
Russell Davies is a marketing expert, speaker and director of Lobster Digital Marketing. To Find out more about Russell and to contact him, visit his profile here.