By Dawn Papandrea
You’ve probably heard all of the success stories by now. Their message? You need to get on board with social media to grow your business. But for every company that achieves success, there are thousands that aren’t leveraging the power of social media in quite the right way. Here are the top seven things they’re doing wrong, that you want to do right.
1. Boycotting social media
If you’ve avoided setting up a Facebook page or a Twitter profile for your small business, using the excuse that social media is a passing fad, it’s time to join the crowd. These platforms, and others such as Google+, are here to stay (or at least they’re here until the next big thing comes along), and they’re where your customers and clients are spending a lot of time.
2. Expecting immediate results
Sorry, but you can’t assume that once you announce to the world that you’re on Facebook, you’ll triple your sales. Social media is all about brand awareness, engaging your customers, and building a community–and that takes time!
3. Sounding like a commercial
People will lose interest in your stream pretty quickly if you use your pages to promote, promote, promote. Instead, think of what value you can give to your audience. Perhaps it’s a special discount code for your fans or followers, or a tip of the day that’s related to your product or service. Once you become a trusted authority, people will stay connected, and you’ll be top of mind when they’re ready to purchase.
4. Not engaging or responding
If you aren’t actively conversing with your network, you’re wasting your time. Make it a point to answer questions about your business, or address customer service issues, in a timely manner. Even something as simple as sending out a happy birthday message to your users will let them know you care about them.
5. Letting an intern run your social media
Don’t pass the responsibility of your social media efforts off to someone else, unless you’re sure that person is a good representative of your business. While it’s true that social media can take up time, it’s vital that it’s done properly.
6. Being all business, all the time
As relationships develop, it’s great to let your hair down. Let your clients get to know the person behind the brand. For example, many companies on Twitter make it a point to use an employee’s photo, instead of the company logo.
7. Not targeting the right people
When you’re starting up your pages, it’s great to add your friends and family, to get your numbers up. Ultimately, though, you want to attract your target market. Do this by letting your customers and clients know that you’re on social sites. Add the links to your email signature and to your business cards. Put up a poster in your storefront. And give people an incentive to connect, by offering something of value, like a contest or coupon.
By avoiding these social media mistakes, you’ll reach more new people, and strengthen relationships with your existing customers. And those are results that you’re sure to “like.”