1. If you build it, they will come, right?
Get real. This obviously isn’t the case. 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. I’ve run across too many abandoned Facebook and Twitter business pages that are just wasted opportunities to engage with loyal customers. A brand needs to stay active and interact if they ever want to see results in social media. But, 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.
2. Not listening.
I can’t stress this point enough; social media is all about two-way conversation 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.
3. Talking only about yourself.
Me, me, me! Who wants to hear someone only talk about themselves? 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. With social media, 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. No one likes a schmoozer with a big ego online or off.
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.
4. Avoid spamming.
Ads don’t get attention on social media sites. In fact, it comes across looking like spam and they are simply ignored or blocked. It’s much more effective to engage your audience and create positive thoughts and ideas around your brand. And, please don’t send update after update to Facebook. Trust me, you will lose fans. Spam will only degrade your brand and could possibly get you thrown from the social media networks altogether.
5. Be 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 seen as a brand. You should always consider how visible you are. Things you say may come back to haunt you down the road.
A final thought: It’s so important to approach all new social media campaigns the correct way. If your goal is only to push your own messages to people, you will be headed down a quick road toward failure. However, if your goal is to build stronger and more loyal relationships, please keep these tips in mind and you will be on the right road to a happy and effective social media experience.
photo credit: ktpupp via photopin cc