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6 Business-Damaging Social Media Mistakes to Avoid

Social Media Mistakes to Avoid

By now, it’s clear social media offers an unprecedented opportunity for businesses to engage with their current customer base, connect with potential new customers and greatly enhance brand awareness. At the same time, those without much experience in social media may encounter a landscape crowded with potential minefields that can—if you’re not careful—inflict significant damage on your brand.

Here are five social media mistakes your business should avoid:

1. Too many postings and too much self-promotion. Bombarding followers with an avalanche of daily postings is a surefire way to turn people off. Generally speaking, one or two posts a day (on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) is sufficient to maintain the interest of your followers.

Also, make sure to keep postings about the great products or services you offer to a strict minimum. Social media for business isn’t about self-promotion or a hard sell. The goal is to connect with and steadily build a community of loyal followers. (For service-oriented businesses like restaurants and the like, it’s OK to post more frequently and alert followers to special deals or limited-time offerings—just don’t overdo it.)

2. A lack of photos or videos. A cursory look at Twitter, Facebook and Instagram will alert you to the popularity of photos and videos designed to draw and hold attention. Don’t rely on text alone to get buzz going. Instead, think about posting “videos of your employees talking about the kind of work they do, customer testimonials, or your business helping out at a local charity or organization.” Just remember—keep these videos short, as in no more than 2-3 minutes.

3. Inconsistent brand messaging. For brand-building to succeed on social media, it’s critically important to ensure consistency in all of your messaging. Whatever brand standard guidelines you adhere to—with respect to logos, colors, imagery, etc.—trying something different on a social media platform will likely lead to confusion among followers and prospective customers. Keep the look and feel of your brand identity the same across different media.

And, while it may seem obvious, restrain yourself and others in the company who post online from sharing either their own political views or retweeting/reposting what others have to say. In these turbulent times, there’s no quicker way to alienate people than by using your social media platform to promote ideological messages.

4. Being all things to all people. All too often, small businesses jump on the bandwagon by attempting to reach out across every platform they can find. A more successful approach involves tailoring your content and messaging to your desired audience. PR and social media expert Kris Ruby advises businesses to “pick the [social platforms] that your target demographic uses” and to intelligently focus your resources in order to “target your customer more effectively.”

5. Wrong use of hashtags. On Twitter, hashtags are a key element in starting a conversation and building buzz around a given topic. The problem, says Kris Ruby, is that the “majority of business owners misuse hashtags” by targeting people within their own industry, rather than new prospects. Consider the words or phrases that would most likely appeal to prospective customers. Also, “hide the hashtags in the comment section instead of including all of them in the caption.” It makes for a stronger aesthetic look.

6. Know what you want your reader to do. Blogs posts can drive traffic to your website for many years. The last thing you want is your blog to attract traffic, have people read it and then disappear without sharing your article on their social channels or submitting an inquiry with your company about your products or services.

It is definitely acceptable to have a short 2–3 sentence pitch at the end of your article. For example, “If you liked this post on X, you might be interested in Y.” Another example might be, “If you enjoyed this post on X, download our whitepaper on Y here.” Blogs have many purposes including helping with your Search Engine Optimization goals, helping position you as an expert on a particular industry or subject, and  helping drive traffic to your site through organic search or social sharing so new visitors look at your company or brand further. But let’s be honest, you spent time writing the blog so you can raise awareness about your brand and to encourage inquiry or even sales from your website.

With the right approach and strategy, social media can dramatically increase brand awareness and spur sales. Here’s advice on how to use Twitter for prospecting and the best way to frame your LinkedIn profile.

Want to learn more about harnessing the power of social media? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!

 

 

6 Steps to Become a Leading Social Media Influencer

Become a social media influencer.

It’s likely you’re familiar with the term, but if not, here’s a definition provided by Simply Business. A social media influencer is “someone who uses a social network, such as LinkedIn or Facebook, to reach—and influence—an engaged online community.” Such influencers “create content that has value for their community, whether it’s written or audiovisual content.”

You may already generate content that fits this description, but not leveraging it sufficiently to position your business as an influencer or thought leader. Many prominent social media influencers are found in celebrity or other cultural circles, but there’s no reason your small business can’t strive for—and attain—a reputation as an influencer, with a significant social media following of your own.

Here are tips on becoming a leading social media influencer:

Decide on your goals. There are different reasons for pursuing the status of influencer, but simply trying to magnify the number of followers on a social media platform shouldn’t be one of them. Rather, key objectives should center around how this affects your growth as a business and new customer acquisition. Think carefully about what sets your business apart from the competition and begin creating based on that distinction.

Provide content tied to what’s happening in the news. One great way to attract attention is to tailor the content you provide so it links up with what’s going on in business, culture and other news. For example, a weather-proofing business might produce and distribute a blog post entitled, “5 Ways to Protect Your Home Against the Winter Storm Season.” Whatever’s happening in the news, there’s bound to be a way to leverage events and connect them to your areas of expertise.

Restrict your offerings to one or two platforms at most. Don’t make the mistake of spreading yourself and your business too thin. The overall impact of your content marketing efforts is diluted if you try to be active on a plethora of sites. It’s more efficient to concentrate on a single (or, at most, two) popular social media platforms and strive to build a strong, loyal following there.

Quality wins out over quantity, every time. Another common mistake among businesses and individuals striving for influencer status is to bombard their platforms with too much content. “Don’t just post for the sake of posting,” advises social media marketing expert Brandon Brown. A more effective strategy lies in offering content “that will bring true value to your followers,” and not appear as blatant self-promotion.

Grow and nurture your community. Becoming an influencer means actively engaging with your social media community on a daily basis. (Yes, this requires time and effort, but small businesses really can’t afford to ignore the reach and impact of social media.) Brandon Brown encourages ongoing interaction (commenting on and sharing other peoples’ posts, responding to what they say about your content, etc.).

Consistency is key. Getting involved in social media—whether or not you strive for influencer status—demands consistency. Your followers expect to see fresh content or retweets or other messages on a regular basis, or they’ll move on to another business with more reliable input. Again, this doesn’t mean you have to churn out “world-class” articles or blog posts every day, but you should put thought into what you post and what you want your audience to learn.

These efforts, when pursued with enthusiasm and diligence, won’t necessarily win you hundreds of thousands of social media followers (though it’s not beyond the realm of possibility). The effort will certainly increase awareness of your brand and your company, which can lead to any number of prospective customer possibilities, and new avenues for growth.

Want to learn more about using social media to grow your business? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!