Do you own a small business? You probably realize the powerful impact of social media in our daily lives and its capacity to reach the global audience. Every day, billions of people around the world use these platforms to connect, share and communicate with one another. For many businesses, social media marketing is a top priority to ensure maximum brand exposure and for good reason.
Why social media?
The ability to connect with customers anytime and anywhere has increased the engagement level like never before. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram provide a direct, unfiltered and instant communication channel to both existing and potential customers.
Unlike traditional marketing strategies, social media marketing is a very cost-effective opportunity to build a massive following. Now small businesses are able to interact with a wide demographic and achieve high conversions rates thanks to these platforms. Also, research suggests that brand loyalty is increased through engagement on social media.
How to get it right?
Although 68.3 percent of all internet users use social media, there are many companies that still fail to get the most out of their social media accounts. In this article, we have laid down the common mistakes that small businesses should avoid at all costs while building their social media strategies.
Top 6 Social Media Mistakes Small Businesses Make Every Day
1. Don’t just create an account
Making an account on a social media site is a very simple process; it’s free and has no barrier to entry. However, building a great brand profile requires some serious time, effort and commitment. Your profile should highlight your brand in a manner that is very accessible and easy for users to grasp.
Make sure to explain your services in detail, all the content should be styled in a way that catches the customer’s attention. Netflix has done a great job at publishing exciting content that resonates with the customers.
Don’t make your brand’s profile page an “about us” for the company nor a personal page to vent out your ideological or political views. For example, Chick-fil-A set off a wave of protests after their CEO, Dan Cathy, made homophobic comments on social media.
Managing you social media account and publishing brand new content every day can be quite challenging due to time restrictions. However, there are a lot of software available to help automate social media management like Hootsuite.
2. Don’t sign up for every network
As a small business, you probably don’t have the resources to build a presence on every social media network. Every day a new social network comes into existence and the choices are unlimited. If you spread yourself too thin, you may fail to get results at all.
Your best bet is to pick the networks that are most commonly used by your target audience and stick to those. Focus your energy on the selected networks and keep them updated. Having a strong network of 1 or 2 social media sites will prove to be a lot more productive than having a fragile and unsustainable presence on all of them.
Remember that every positive engagement can lead to a possible sale. So the purpose of your profile is to improve customer engagement by regularly posting highly informative and appealing content.
3. Don’t ignore comments
Comments are great, even when they are negative. Having a social media profile means opening yourself to the public. If you want to engage with the customers effectively then you must reply to what they have to say. The reason people comment on social media is to get a quick response.
So responding quickly and respectfully to negative comments or complaints will help you retain customers and ensure brand loyalty. Nike has created a specific twitter account to address customer complaints and inquiries for better satisfaction.
Also, social media platforms give business owners an opportunity to receive unfiltered feedback from customers. So listen carefully to what they have to say and make an active effort to address all their concerns.
Always remain open to customer suggestions and use them to make positive improvements. For example, Domino’s used the social media as a listening tool to improve their pizza recipes. When an issue is resolved, make sure to mention it and thank the customer for providing valuable feedback. Ignoring your existing customers is likely to discourage new customers from following your brand.
Your social media account is not just an advertising platform, it is meant to connect with your customers in a personal way. Don’t ever delete negative comments as the customers will just keep on reporting more vigorously. If there is a discussion then allow it to flow freely, maintain active participation and don’t try to control it.
4. Don’t blame the customer
Whatever you do, don’t point a finger at the customer. Picking fights with your customers can be seriously detrimental to a business. Just like people, businesses are also prone to making mistakes. The only way to get out of a tacky situation is to acknowledge your mistake and make a sincere apology.
It is never ok to go after a customer. You want to show your business in the best possible light. When you post an apology, make sure it doesn’t sound scripted but rather give it an emotional touch. For example, Pizza Hut apologized on their Facebook page after describing a customer as a “Pink Fat Lady” on the sales receipt.
Taking ownership of your mistakes will prevent the issue from getting out of hand and circulating crazy on the internet. It is important to remember that acting fast will ensure an effective damage control strategy.
5. Don’t spam the customers
Being active on social media is necessary for building brand awareness and maintaining constant communication with your customers. However, posting too often is likely to annoy customers and drive them away.
Your posts should be precise, entertaining, informative and cater to the needs of your audience. All of the content published should be designed to attract your customer base, focusing on the quality rather than the quantity. People at Virgin know how to keep their audiences hooked. A company blog with excellent content and it tool’s performance reviews will help complement in social media strategy.
Just because your profile can serve as a free advertising channel doesn’t mean that you keep posting ad after ad. Make sure that you don’t plagiarize any of the material that you share and keep it original. Don’t be afraid to show off your creativity, let people see what makes your brand different from others.
6. Don’t forget the metrics
To reap maximum benefits of social media marketing, it is imperative for small businesses to identify and analyze the behavior of customers. Keeping track of useful metrics like clicks per platform, a number of comments and shares, web referrals and mentions will help you improve your campaign’s effectiveness. Moreover, this will give you a realistic idea of where your social media campaign is heading and whether you need to rethink your strategy. If you need a social media marketing tool that can help with your reporting and performance measurement, post scheduling and publishing, as well as a social listening tool, check out one of these top social media management tools.
See also: Best 10+ Pinterest Tips for Small Businesses