The emergence of social media as a marketing tool has been a game changer for small businesses. Suddenly you don’t need a massive budget to connect with an audience, promote your brand, and advertise your product. You also don’t need to employ a fancy marketing team, you can do it all yourself with a few simple skills and the sheer willpower.
If you are a small business with a presence on social media, you need to make sure that your social media game is good for business, not detrimental. To avoid the pitfalls here’s a handy little list of what not to do on social media if you’re a small business.
1. Sell, sell, sell
Social media marketing is not like traditional marketing. It’s a branch of content marketing. It’s like marketing without marketing – you want to suggest and showcase, rather than drive home a sales message. Small businesses who use their social media pages purely to push their product or service do themselves a disservice.
Spamming your followers with direct sales messages is the quickest way to lose followers and put people off completely.
You need to strike a balance with your business social media pages. The content you post should be frequent enough to maintain a presence on the platform, without driving your followers nuts by clogging their news feed.
3. Don’t engage
Don’t forget the “social” in social media. It’s about the interaction! If your social media is a one-way street with you just posting and not ever liking, commenting or sharing yourself, you’re only using the medium to half its potential.
Not only does engaging with your audience and your community build a larger network and following, it gives you greater online reach to potential customers.
4. Ignore or delete comments
Social media, whether we like it or not, is now a huge avenue for customer service. People will turn to Facebook or Twitter to communicate with a company, whether it’s through a direct comment on your page, a private message, a tweet, or a review.
Good or bad, you need to read and respond to these comments. Ignoring direct contact by your customers is not an option. Each of these interactions is a chance to show the entire online community how good your customer service skills are…
5. Be rude, divisive, or lash out
And everyone is watching to see how you handle the grumpy customer. Unfortunately, it’s often the disgruntled customers who will engage with you on social media, rather than the happy ones. It’s absolutely essential that you keep your cool and handle it with tact and care. You’re a small business – this is a chance for you to show dazzling customer service and turn this lemon into lemonade!
Similarly, don’t post or share divisive, inflammatory or sensitive content. You may personally believe it, but if it doesn’t align with your branding, you’re just going to alienate potential customers and drive customers away who don’t agree with you.
6. Create accounts you don’t use
You’re not a social media manager, you’re a small business owner. You don’t have time to run a solid presence on 10 different social platforms. If you’re going to manage your own social media, pick the few platforms you can manage.
Starting an account that you then don’t use goes to create a messy online presence for your business. If potential customers come across a skeleton social media account for your business that is neither set up properly nor maintained, it’s poor branding for your business.
7. Neglect your metrics
You don’t have to be a social media guru to read and understand the most basic metrics. Each platform breaks them down quite simply. To put it in basic terms: check what people like and give them more of that. See what times of day most people engage with your content, see what type of content does best, and give the people what they want.
Ignoring metrics is like ignoring free market research that tells you exactly what your audience prefers. You don’t have to delve too deep, just use the basic ones to improve your posting power.