Social media is one of the best, most cost-effective outlets for small businesses to promote their brand. Couple that with the traction social media has gained as a customer service channel, and it's obvious that small businesses can’t afford to ignore their social media strategy. Here are 10 social media mistakes to avoid as you refine your strategy.
1. You Sing the Same Song, Second Verse
Readers expect variety on their timelines and news feeds. They don’t want to see the same (or similar) content posted in the same way on multiple platforms. Gone are the days when consumers only frequent one social platform. It’s important to mix up your content on each site to keep readers engaged and to make sure you look like an expert with a never-ending stream of thoughtful content.
2. You Mix Business with…Not Business
Don’t make one of the biggest rookie social media mistakes of mixing your personal and business accounts. It’s easy to create a new account with the appropriate branding and messaging. Take that extra step, and your readers will find your organization to be much more credible.
3. You Don’t Pay it Forward
One of the worst social media mistakes is to hoard followers without following in return. It’s important to follow your fellow thought-leaders, customers and business contacts, and repost their content. It keeps readers engaged, builds and expands your audience, and shows that you are well connected and collaborative.
4. You Aren’t Talking Back
If your customers and prospects are engaging with you on social media, for goodness’ sake—be responsive. Many organizations long for a hint of engagement on their social platforms. If you’re fortunate enough to have an audience that engages with you (even if it isn’t always the most positive engagement), make sure you reply. There is no quicker way to leave a bad impression than to ignore a post or comment from your audience. Be prompt and polite—for every post.
5. Your Rhythm is Wrong
When it comes to social media, there is a fine line between feast and famine. If you post too much, you run the risk of losing followers. Too little and you run the same risk, as followers forget you exist, frankly. Do some experimenting. Start with a posting cadence of a few times a week and see what kind of engagement you get. Adjust it up and down and then take stock again. It’s also important to pay attention to the times of day that you are posting and tweak them as needed.
6. You’re Spreading Yourself Too Thin
One of the most common corporate social media mistakes is to try to master all platforms all at once. Pick a couple of platforms where you think engagement will be best and perfect your content and cadence. After you’ve conquered them, pick another one. If you find that one platform consistently falls flat, don’t spend your valuable time and resources on it. Go where the results are and hone your message on the platforms that provide the most engagement.
7. You Don’t Make it Worthwhile
Your followers are going to expect a little something special for the time they give your business. Whether it’s a discount code or a free piece of content, find something “exclusive” to give them. It builds trust and keeps them coming back for more.
8. You’re Rushing It
A great social media strategy takes time and patience. Don’t expect to build a huge audience in your first week (or month). Give yourself a few months to build up an audience and earn their trust.
9. You Don’t Have the Right Tools
With all of the free and subscription tools on the market, there is no sense in trying to maintain your social media platforms manually. There are tools like Buffer and Hootsuite to help you schedule posts. Canva and Stencil help create great imagery. Hiplay is a great re-sharing tool. Experiment with a few tools to see what works best for your needs and then sit back and enjoy the helping hand they provide.
10. You’re All Sales, All the Time
Selling on social media is possible, but it’s not simple. If all of your content is sales-related, your audience will get bored fast. Mix up your sales posts with some thought leadership and give-a-way content and your followers will stay interested in what you have to say.
As you build your social media empire, the bottom line is to listen to your audience and know your buyer personas. Don’t be afraid to have fun and show your creative side. If you avoid these social media mistakes, you’ll have a loyal social media tribe in no time.