Avoid These 12 Social Media Mistakes
Originally published: 04.01.11 by Nadia Romeo
Make a commitment and know your limits to get back on track.
Social media continues to earn its place in the marketing plans of many contractors. We often hear how Facebook or Twitter helped our customers sell a large commercial job to a company that they wouldn’t even have known about if they weren’t active on social media. They tell us their residential replacement business is growing because their clients are praising their employees and equipment online to friends.
And even though social media is an excellent way to grow your business by gaining new leads ad promoting your brand, it’s only powerful if it’s used correctly. Many businesses are failing to take full advantage of the benefits that social media has to offer due to some of the following common mistakes:
1. Lack of clear, measurable goals. Many small businesses fail to determine the goals of their social media campaign and then track the results. If you want to succeed with social media, you must define relevant success metrics: increases in the number of followers, a boost in the number of leads generated through social media, positive feedback gathered from customers, etc.
Once the campaign is running, you must measure the results regularly so you can eliminate the strategies that don’t work and then refocus the campaign with those that do. If you are not meeting your goals, then there is really no reason to pursue social media marketing.
2. No commitment to provide new content. Businesses get into social media without realizing the time commitment that is required to succeed. Take the time to put together a social media schedule that will give a framework to creating valuable content. If you fail to provide your followers fresh content on a regular basis, they will probably wonder why they decided to follow you to begin with and will most likely delete you from their “friends” list.
3. Spamming the social media sites. On the other hand, don’t post too many automated or unnecessary messages that can only annoy your followers and give you the reputation of a spammer. The right amount of content really depends on how much your customers know and care about your business, the importance of the content that you post, the value of your offers, etc. You must know your audience to determine the amount of new information they require.
4. Creating too many social media profiles. We see small businesses creating profiles with too many social media sites. Because social media requires time, most of these profiles are either abandoned or have so few followers due to lack of commitment to regular updates. Pick one or two sites and really pledge yourself to making them a success. You can’t be successful by spreading yourself too thin.
5. Not interacting with your followers. Social media is all about interaction. If you are out there just posting your offers and ignoring your audience, you will essentially end up with very few followers. Make sure to respond to any new comment that was posted in a timely manner. 6. Making too many sales pitches. Social media is about relationships and friendships. Although direct marketing has its place within this media outlet, you have to earn the trust of your audience before you can make a sales pitch. People could ignore — or worse, ridicule — your brand if you take the wrong approach. That is something you don’t want since social media has the power to spread news (both positive and negative) with just a few clicks.
7. Giving up on social media without putting in effort. Some businesses think that just by creating a profile and making a few posts, they should have people following them or calling them for information about their products and services. You have to work hard on building your follower base. Begin by asking or even enticing your customers to join you in the social media world. Make it easy for customers to see which social sites you are a member of by integrating the logos into your website. You have to be patient.
8. Ignoring the power of social media. Businesses don’t want to use social media as a marketing strategy either because they don’t see the importance of it or they are afraid of the negative comments that people can leave on their sites. If social media is used properly it can help you generate more traffic to your website by connecting with people. It not only allows you to create brand awareness, but it also lets you manage your brand by responding to negative comments and show that you care. And of course, it does help you generate more leads and increase your sales.
Whether you are active in social media or not, other people are and they might be already talking and sharing comments about you. You can’t control that. What you can control is how engaged you want to be in managing your brand online.
9. Sharing information that is irrelevant to the business. Do not use your personal profiles as your business social media profiles. You must separate them due to the nature of a dialog that takes place on each account. You don’t want to talk about your kids’ sports events or the date that you and your spouse had. You want to post information that will be of value to your future or existing customers. Make sure to avoid sharing or taking stands on anything that has a potential to offend your followers.
10. Not completing profiles. Make sure to complete profiles by adding images, information about your business, what makes you unique, etc. It helps to attract like-minded followers or followers that care about what you do. It also shows people that you are committed to the social media world and are not just there to sell or spam them.
11. Using the same strategy on every social media site. Every social media site is different. You must understand the details of each and employ the right strategy for each. A one size fits all approach will not generate much success.
12. Not incorporating social media into your website. Some businesses have a social media profile, but don’t advertise it on their website. Adding an icon for, let’s say, Facebook or Twitter will allow the visitors to immediately connect with you. The same goes for your blog. If your visitor liked your blog post, with a click of a button they can share that article with their entire group of friends and therefore promote your business and potentially help you increase the number of followers.
Social media is one of the many marketing strategies that you should use in your business. Social media is and will continue to be a critical factor in the success or failure of many businesses. So use it, but do it right.
Nadia Romeo is President of iMarket Solutions (www.imarketsolutions.com), which specializes in professionally designed, search-engine-optimized websites for plumbing and HVACR contractors.