Having a social media presence is more and more important today for a business. The number of consumers who seek information about a company via social media continues to increase and it is almost expected that someone will be there waiting on Twitter or Facebook to answer a question. I believe this stems from the frustration many people feel searching a company’s website trying to find a way to contact someone or find information. On social media, the consumer is back in control. They know how to find things on your pages and profiles and they are already on these social platforms, so it’s just easier. So if your company is going to invest the time setting up shop on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or any of the other places your consumers are swarming, make sure you don’t make these mistakes and miss out on big connections and big business opportunities.
10 Mistakes To Avoid on Social Media
1. Poor Profile Picture or None At All
A profile picture is like signage on a building. You need to hang a sign out so people recognize you among the masses. There are a lot of posts that come flying by on social media, be sure your profile pic is clear, bold, and STOPS TRAFFIC! (see also- Your Face, Your Brand) If you need to resize a photo or logo, hop over to PicMonkey and use their easy resize tool.
2. Leaving Vital Information Blank
One of your goals on social media is to be FOUND. Each social media site gives you a spot to load up a description about you or your business. Adding a couple keywords here is important for people to find you. There is always a spot for you to add your website link and some social sites allow several links—use them up. Cross pollinate. Link from Twitter to your website. From Facebook to your website, blog and perhaps your Twitter account. From LinkedIn, add links to your website, your blog, a page on your website that shows more testimonials or clients you work with. Whatever you do, fill it out completely. Take the time to craft your bios and areas that hold key information. It will help your business be more FINDABLE!
3. Create Accounts & Don’t Monitor Comments
This is a BIG no-no! Imagine attending a networking event and someone approaches you to ask a question about your services or to say they enjoyed the information you shared last week, and you just stood there without acknowledging them or answering their question. You just turn and walk away. That is what it feels like when someone takes the time to answer a question you post or ask a question on your blog or social media site and never hears back from you. You should close the loop on all conversations that take place on your social media sites. (see also- Always Have the Last Word)
4. Not Using Great Visuals
One of the hottest trends in social, is visual social. Take a look at a couple of interesting facts that reinforce this fact. Facebook bought Instagram. Twitter allows photos to be loaded directly into the stream and displays them large and in charge. LinkedIn owns SlideShare and encourages people to add visual presentations into their text-heavy profiles and pages. Pinterest and Instagram rule the social scene right now and of course we consume more and more video every day on YouTube (100 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every MINUTE! That’s 16.4 years every DAY! You need to get your expertise uploaded.)
Your profile should be a visual wonderland, filled with beautiful images, illustrations, videos, infographics and more. Do not use corny, old and stale clipart. Take that smartphone out and start capturing the story of your business in photos. (see also-SHOW ME A STORY on Slideshare) If you are looking for a new smartphone and want one with a phenomenal camera, check out the Nokia Lumina Icon that Verizon carries. With a 20 megapixel camera, it takes INCREDIBLE photos.
5. Not Being Social
Social media is a platform for your to share what is going on in your business as well as helpful tips and information about your products, services and expertise, but it’s also a place to BE SOCIAL! After crafting the content that is all about YOU, take some time to wander around the platform and see what others are talking about. If you are connected to the right audience (your target market) you should be interested in what they are saying. Spend time liking, commenting, and sharing the content that others post. Show interest in others if you want them to show interest in you.
6. Sending Out Auto-Response Messages
Don’t even get me started on this one. Sending automated messages to people in a private or direct message to “WELCOME” them or to “THANK THEM” for connecting with you is a kin to sending a spam message. Everyone knows it is automated and that you probably haven’t even seen their profile yet or connected back. My favorite is when people also add a link for a free “gift.” The link is to one of their eBooks or other promotional item that is on a landing page so they can capture your email as well. Why not let people get to know you first. Better yet, why don’t you get to know them. Auto messages, whether sent on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, smell of spam and they don’t make anyone feel welcomed. Either send a real message to the person telling them you are happy to be connected and that you look forward to learning more about them, or send nothing at all. No impression is better than a negative impression right off the bat! (see also-Why Auto DMs On Twitter Say You’re a Liar)
7. Not Being Consistent
Many businesses jump into social marketing with great energy, creating their Facebook page, setting up a Twitter account and loading a few photos on Instagram. They may have someone in the office that seems to always have spare time and so they assign the task of social marketing to him. After a few weeks of sporadic posts, there are big lapses in time between posts and before long it becomes abandoned. The biggest challenge with inconsistent posts on Facebook is the algorithm is set up to reward the pages that not only post regularly, but that get regular engagement on those posts. The less frequent you post, the less opportunity a person has to like or comment on something and therefore your content is bumped by other, more frequent content. On Twitter , Pinterest, Instagram or Google Plus, the more you are “seen” on these social media sites, the more your community grows. One tweet a day will not grow a community of followers. Set specific time aside each day for social marketing activities.
8. Writing Boring Content
Social content is different from the copy you might find on that old brochure in your supply closet from 1995. It is also different from the copy on your website. Too many social media profiles are filled with text-heavy content that no one wants to take the time to read. Keep in mind, when you send an email that is more than a paragraph and it doesn’t include bullets or pictures, people are probably getting the same glazed-eyed look and “accidentally” hitting the delete key. Think of who your target market is….specifically. Are they men? Women? Teens? What do they like? What other pages and social media profiles are they active on? Go check them out. How is that content written?
Social content is more conversational. It is definitely shorter than typical website copy, and it’s usually more FUN! Even if you don’t consider your business to be fun, think of your social media pages and profiles as a little networking cocktail party. You’ve invited potential clients to come. Don’t stand at a podium and start droning on and on about your services. Walk around and have short conversations. Ask questions and be LIVELY! On your social media sites, also think about sharing complimentary content that can add value to the lives of your guests. If you are a hotel, you can share the concert schedule or the best places around your property to get out and hike while visiting. If you own a furniture or accessory business, you can share tips on cleaning lamp shades or paint colors that brighten a mood in the home. If you get to know your audience, you will know what other information they might find interesting and helpful.
9. Asking Rhetorical Questions or Questions Requiring Big Commitment
I find it amusing when I see a page that has a question like, “Is your business in financial ruin? Tell us how that happened.” First, I would have to admit publicly that my business was a wreck. Second, the writer of this crazy post is making an assumption that I was looking for a therapist. No one is going to take the time to answer that post. Questions that are complex or that require an essay to answer will usually sit with zero engagement as well. Strive for questions that require a simple YES or NO answer. Of course some will opt to write a novel and that is wonderful, but don’t require that kind of time commitment. Another type of post that does very well is the A or B post. Load two photos or describe two scenarios and ask which they’d prefer.
10. Not measuring progress or results
Like any sales or marketing activity in your business, you have to know what is working, what needs tweaking and what needs to be thrown in the trash. Use a social dashboard tool like Hootsuite or SproutSocial to measure click through rates, the types of posts that got the best traction with your audience and even which social media platforms are sending the most traffic to your website. If your community numbers aren’t growing that is telling you something as well. Your content might need to change to become more interesting to people finding you, or you are not spending enough time being social to draw the right people to your sites. If your target market includes people in California, but you seem to be getting lots of connections in Brazil, you need look at being more targeted geographically with your posts and people you connect with. Either that or check to see what language you’re posting in.
What other mistakes do you see organizations make on social media?
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