Using social media when you are a small business owner can be time-consuming. Social media fails are bound to happen from time to time.
There are so many pieces of software that are designed to save you time. Conflicting advice comes from every angle regarding best practice. It is hard to keep up.
Small business owners with limited time and resources can be seduced by the promises of ‘time-saving’ practices. And while a few are useful, many will result in your feed being filled with automated ‘thank-you for following’ messages and content that is not relevant to your brand or audience.
Whether you are the 26% of businesses already using social media marketing, or the 74% of companies who plan to do so 2016 (ReachLocal 2016), be wary of making the social media fails we have outlined below:
9 Social Media Fails:
1. Selling Too Much
Social media 101. The 20/80 rule. The fact of the matter is the more sales focused you are, the less human you become. People will engage with your brand more online if you are seen to be having conversations with people and not trying to sell to them every waking moment of the day. After all, that is the name of the game. Interaction and engagement will result in your content being seen by more people without you having to pay for it. Fancy that!
Stop broadcasting how great your business is. Encourage the consumers who have already bought from you to become your brand advocates. Only 15% of consumers trust posts from brands in social, while 70% of people trust brand or product recommendations from friends and family (Kapost, 2015). Read more about how to get customers to write a review on our blog and tips on how to utilise it on social media by clicking here.
2. Finding The Balance Between Personal and Professional
This is an easy mistake to make. While it is great that you are starting a business, depending on your service or product, some clients may be put off by photos of your family holiday, what you ate and your latest trip the doctors. Keep it professional with a hint of personality. The more human you are, the less business-like you are perceived. Have private/other accounts for your private life to share the ins and outs of your day. Think for a moment before posting a photo/update about it could impact your brand.
3. You Are What You Share
It is all about common sense!
What you put out there could be seen across the world. It becomes a representation of you or your business in the social media landscape. Don’t let it stop you from making yourself known on topics that matter. However we do recommend avoiding getting involved in celebrity feuds and anything to do with religion or politics.
On the flip side, having no voice about your business and industry could be worse than a few people disagreeing with you. Be proud of what you represent as a business while staying aware of the image you are crafting as a result.
4. DM’s and Auto Responses = NO NO NO
In most circles, automation is a dirty word, and to an extent it is. There are ways that it can be used tactfully, however, automated updates to say ‘thanks for following’ or ‘thanks for the like/retweet’ is more or less a crime against humanity. With auto DM’s being much worse! Don’t do it. Social media is supposed to be SOCIAL, and sending an auto-DM or thank-you is anything but! Say it in person if you truly mean it or just don’t say it at all, it is not required.
5. While We Are On Automation
Most social media fails happen with automation. If you are not going to be present for a period, or can’t make the weekly networking hour DO NOT AUTOMATE UPDATES TO GO OUT! For the love of all things irritating, if you are busy, on holiday or simply decided to watch EastEnders instead of participating please feel free to do so, you probably deserve it.
There is nothing worse – bar the auto responses & DM’s mentioned above – than a person or business sending out scheduled updates and not being present, but it is amusing when it goes wrong and they get slammed!
6. Follow Then Unfollow
There used to be a (shoddy) practice back in the early days of Twitter. Consisting of mass following people, then 3 – 5 days later, unfollowing those that don’t follow you back, or everyone! This was done to try and grow followers quickly. It was adopted by many businesses and is still happening today.
While we understand that growing a following is a long, laborious process, taking short cuts with bad practices like this does not stand you in good stead for the future. Usually, people doing this are following people that follow or are followed by a competitor or influencer without checking to see if they are relevant to their business. As mentioned in a previous blog covering social media trends in 2016, today’s social media game has completely changed, and audiences have different expectations than they did three years ago.
It is safe to say that even though you may have an audience of 5000 follower’s V your 25, your tweets or Instagram updates will not get seen. Why? Because none of your ‘quick win’ audience interacts with you!
Simple really. Take your time to grow an audience that cares about your brand and are fully engaged. We would take 100 engaged followers over 10000 unengaged ones.
7. No Interaction with your Audience
Providing content is great, but it is not all social media has to offer. Interacting with your followers is key.
- Are there questions or comments on Twitter that you can answer?
- Why not comment on another person’s Instagram post?
- You could share a Facebook update from an influencer or client
- Send a snap back to a Snapchat ‘friend.’
Whatever you do, always respond to comments made on your business’s social media accounts and where possible send a reply (not an automated one). Build connections online just like you would be in person.
8. Constant Updates
Social media can be a 24/7 job. The fear is that you are going to ‘miss out’ on something if you are not glued to a device 24/7. This could not be further from the truth. Posting too many updates can be seen as spam. It gives false expectations to your audience of your availability.
Stick to a limit of 1-2 quality and engaging updates a day on networks such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and G+; that way you are still posting content daily, but not annoying your followers! Twitter is more of a conversational tool, so you can end up doing more updates on this platform. Whatever you end up doing on twitter make sure it is not just broadcasting about yourself, that the ‘actions’ taken are a variety of updates, RT’s, conversations, videos and more.
9. Been In Control
Make sure you or someone on your team is responsible for monitoring your social channels for interactions, and engaging with users who reach out. If you get a high volume of interactions every day, it helps to start an assessment system to see which ones need an immediate response, and which ones can wait for a little while.
How to immediately turn your social media fails into wins:
Turn off auto responders and DM’s IMMEDIATELY and be human while growing your audience.
Social media has the power to transform your business. It’s important to follow proper etiquette when you engage or express on a social platform. From dodging all-embracing self-centered promotion to preserving a respectful sense of humour, the social media world changes drastically. It’s critical to think about what effect your words, pictures, and videos could have before sharing them with the world.
In a perfect world, you would make room in the budget to hire someone to run your social media campaigns or to attend a social media training course. This will ensure that you are getting the most out of your precious time and reduce the chances of carrying out one of these social media fails.
Unlike how social media was originally intended, it’s no longer based entirely on human interaction. Click to read about the virtual influencer take over.