As with anything, there are bad habits when it comes to using social media for your small or midsize business. These habits could actually be hurting your chances for success and even worse, your brand. Below are the most common bad habits we see and attempt to correct when working with small or midsize businesses using social media to promote and support their business.
One of the biggest and most common habits we see among small and midsize businesses using social media is the thought that they need to be on EVERY network. Because of this idea they jump on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, and the list goes on and on and on. Then they don’t have the slightest idea what they are doing on any of the networks, don’t fully setup them up and then just leave them abandoned.
Not only does this waste time by having to setup each individual account, it can actually hurt your brand’s image online. Abandoned accounts can easily be mistaken for closed businesses. If a Facebook user comes across your abandoned Fan Page they don’t do research to see if you’re still in business, they assume you’re not and go to your competitors page who’s active instead. The solution to this is simple, start with a single network, educate yourself on how to use it to benefit your small or midsize business and then put your entire focus on that network.
Just Another Advertising Platform
It seems that all to often small or midsize businesses get excited about social media and see numbers like 1-billion users and translate that into dollar signs. Because of this we see small and midsize businesses that all they are doing is throwing out sales pitch after sales pitch. Usually they will do this for roughly 2-4 weeks and then stop using the networks all together claiming that social media doesn’t work. In this case, it’s not social media that isn’t working, it’s the techniques.
Social media isn’t called sales media, or advertising platforms, its SOCIAL media. In order for your small or midsize business to see results on any social network you must be social. You’re able to do this by asking questions getting your Fans or Followers engaging with you. As your engagement increases and relationships develop your able to direct them to your website and turn them into paying customers. If you just focus on sales, you will fail on social media.
The excitement that social media can create for small and midsize businesses can be extraordinary. This can translate to businesses over posting on their profiles, which can be counterproductive. Not only does over posting take additional time from the social media account manager, it also can hurt your brand rather than help it. When you’re over posting, Fans and Followers start to see your brand as spam and will unFollow your profiles. This is a potentially lost customer. Also, on Facebook if you’re over posting Facebook will see you as spam and start showing your posts to less Fans, decreasing the number of customers you’re reaching.
When it comes to updating your accounts in most cases 1-3 times daily is going to be right for your small or midsize business, especially on Facebook. Twitter is a slightly different story, we recommend 7-10 Tweets daily. The reason for this difference with Twitter is the fact that Tweets are shown in the News Feed in real time. If you share a Tweet now and a Follower logs in two hours from now, that Tweet will be buried in their News Feed. The solution to this is posting more frequently.
Just like over posting, we see several small or midsize business that are under posting. After reading how dangerous over posting can be you might think about cutting back your posts, don’t over do it. Many businesses (possibly because they are over extended or they used the platform as another advertising source) have accounts that they are posting less than daily. This can be extremely harmful to any business. When a user finds your profile and sees that there hasn’t been an update shared for days, weeks or even months they automatically assume the business is closed. They will not visit your website or pick up the phone and call, they will move on to your competitors page that is being used on a regular basis and spend their money there.
If you’re not going to be using a network on a daily basis, it’s better to close that account completely. That way you’re not giving the impression that your doors have been closed. You can always start a new profile, you cannot win back a customer that had a bad first impression.
When small or midsize businesses share valued based posts they will naturally start getting comments from their Fans and Followers, this does not guarantee success. When a user shares a comment on your profile or asks a question they expect an answer and usually within hours or even minutes. When that comment is left unanswered the customer starts to feel they are not being heard and that the brand doesn’t care. Not only does that one customer start to have these negative opinions of the business, but so do all the users that see that comment left unanswered. When you’re not responding to comments on social networks, it’s like ignoring a customer in front of potentially millions of people.
If you’re going to use social media for your small or midsize business make sure you have someone monitoring the account on a daily basis to ensure all comments and questions are getting answered in a timely manner. Don’t leave any questions or comments unanswered, even if you respond with a simple, “Thanks for the comment!”
These are just a few bad habits that we see small and midsize businesses making, the list could realistically go on and on. Want to find out what your social media habits are that suck? Request your complimentary Online Presence Report to find out.