Often times it can be pretty clear to me what went wrong with a business’ social media marketing strategy (or lack thereof) – including why they aren’t seeing responses to their updates and why people have stopped liking or following them altogether. I could easily written this list to include 20 social media mistakes. Are you making these 10 social media mistakes?
1. Not listening or responding – I can’t stress this point enough; social media is all about two-way conversations and participation. If someone says something about your brand, good or bad, you need to respond. Imagine a customer saying they enjoyed dinner at your restaurant. A simple response to thank them for their patronage will go a very long way. On the other hand, if a diner had a bad experience, you can make it right with them immediately before they tell others. Word-of-mouth can spread like wildfire. Wouldn’t it be better to have it be positive word-of-mouth? Social media is about listening; messages are not conversations. Listen to what your fans are saying, and better yet, ask them for advice on your next product name or event, ask questions, engage them
2. Not following your customers and potential customers back on Twitter – Many times businesses create a Twitter identity and only update it with their Facebook feeds without ever interacting with their followers on Twitter. If you’re a business on Twitter and follow 10 people with 300 followers, there’s something wrong. Twitter is all about engaging with your audience and creating a two-way conversation. Customers like to feel like they know you, whether they do personally or not. The least you can do is follow them back.
3. Stopped updating Social media can take a lot of time to build up relationships. The cold hard truth is that you aren’t going to see results right away, but please, please don’t abandon your profiles. What kind of a message does this send to your fans? It says that you don’t care. I have seen way too many abandoned Facebook fan pages and Twitter accounts. It’s a huge missed opportunity!
4. Using social media only to promote yourself Social media isn’t all about “me, me, me”. Have you ever been on a first date where your date only talks about him or herself? It’s not fun and you lose interest quickly. You probably won’t want to talk to them again. Your status updates shouldn’t always be about you. Find content that complements your brand. Help promote others. It’ll go a lot farther with your followers. No one likes a schmoozer with a big ego online or off.
5. Lack of providing useful information – Nobody wants to read 5 updates about you per day. Find information or blog about things that are interesting and helpful to them. It’s so important to discover communities and participate. By building relationships, learning and becoming a figure in your field, others will respect you. They will engage with you and eventually you can help influence their decisions. Remember to relinquish control of the conversation. Your goal of being a member of the social media community is to enable, inspire, influence and engage. It should be a dialogue, not a monologue.
6. Lack of consistency – Social media is an extension of your brand. It’s important to show your personality through the networks and always use a consistent voice. Even if you have several people updating your accounts, the tone, personality and voice should be consistent. Stay consistent with your number and frequency of updates. Remember to keep your name and avatar consistent across the networks.
7. Lack of design – Again, your social media profile is an extension of your brand. Too many businesses settle with the basic generic profile. Give your profile personality, add dimension and have it match your logo, website, promotional materials, etc. Add some spice!
8. An “if I build it, they will come” mentality I‘m sorry to tell you, but social media sites won’t do the work for you. Social media is all about communication and building relationships. Too many small businesses think that all they need to do is join Facebook and Twitter and leave the rest up to their customers. A brand needs to stay active and interact if they ever want to see results in social media. And, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. It will take more than a day and a few tweets to see results. Remember not to focus on short-term wins; social media is a long-term engagement.
9. Not being transparent – Social media fans don’t like businesses that aren’t transparent or authentic. Lying or deceiving your followers on false promotions or not following through on promises will only burn bridges. Every social media account you create (business or personal) needs to be seen as a brand. You should always consider how visible you are. Things you say may come back to haunt you down the road.
10. Lack of planning and objectives – Number 10 is possibly the biggest what NOT to do. Why did your business join Facebook? If you say because everyone else is, you may have a problem. With any type of marketing, you need to have specific goals, planning and thought. With no strategy, failing is inevitable. Going in as a bull-in-a-china-shop is the worst idea if you don’t know why you are there or what to do with it. You need a clear purpose and a plan. Some say, “what’s the worst that could happen?” You could easily damage the image of your brand if you don’t have a clear and well thought out plan-of-action.