The social web has been with us for a while now, albeit it has continually evolved at an incredible rate during that period. However, there have been many etiquettes, or ‘truisms’ if I can put it that way, that have more or less been established around social media that unfortunately still get thrown out the virtual window.
The reasons why this occurs are varied, but probably come down to a handful of issues and attitudes small business folk have, namely (a) a desire for quick fixes or short term results, and (b) an entrenched traditional view of marketing being around the broadcasting of promotional messages.
Time, or lack thereof, is also no doubt a contributory factor.
So without further ado, here are some key mistakes I see small businesses doing on social media, and some tips as to how to overcome them.
- Businesses don’t think strategically enough: “everyone’s on Facebook, so we should be on it too”. Don’t just jump onto a platform without thinking it through first.
- Have some goals in place, a purpose for doing what you’re doing.
- Always ask yourself “why are we doing what we are doing?” (this helps stop you from defaulting to tactical execution straight away).
- Businesses don’t think about their audience enough. Stop detailing your products and services, it’s all about them!
- When you don’t have a content strategy or plan, your default position will be to talk too much about yourself. Don’t do this!
- Think about who you’re trying to reach on social media and tailor your content so that it addresses their needs – your mantra should be that it’s about them, your customers, not about you.
- Businesses aren’t active enough. No momentum is gained when social media isn’t given priority.
- You might think tweeting once a day is an effort but if you want to start making inroads, you’re going to have tweet multiple times per day – add value along the way, engage in conversation with others and you will see results over the journey.
- If you’re going to blog, one post a month is not going to cut it – in fact, it sends the wrong message: “What, haven’t you got anything to say?” – the goal should be to embrace less mediums and participate on them properly, with passion, purpose and regularity.
- Businesses don’t pay respect to the nuances of the particular social media platform.
- Again, employ less mediums – get to know how each platform ticks, how people use them and interact with each other; for example, Twitter is a really different ‘beast’ to Facebook – understand the differences and map out your approach accordingly.
- Businesses don’t use social media as an opportunity to humanise themselves. Stop hiding behind a logo and reveal the faces and personalities behind it.
- Take people ‘behind the velvet rope’ of your business, get into the habit of posting photos of things that are taking place at your office, show off your staff, show your people in your Twitter banner image, for example.
Try making some changes to your social media efforts – it will be worth it in the long run!
By Trevor Young