The social web has been with us for a while now, albeit it has continually evolved at an incredible rate during that period.
However, there have been many etiquettes, or ‘truisms’ if I can put it that way, that have more or less been established around social media that unfortunately still get thrown out the virtual window.
The reasons why this occurs are varied, but probably come down to a handful of issues and attitudes small business folk have, namely (a) a desire for quick fixes or short term results, and (b) an entrenched traditional view of marketing being around the broadcasting of promotional messages.
Time, or lack thereof, is also no doubt a contributory factor.
So without further ado, here are some key mistakes I see small businesses doing on social media, and some tips as to how to overcome them.
1. DON’T THINK STRATEGICALLY ENOUGH
(Issue = jumping on platforms without thinking too much beforehand – “everyone’s on Facebook, so we should be on it too”)
Have some goals in place, a purpose for doing what you’re doing.
Always ask yourself “why are we doing what we are doing?” (this helps stop you from defaulting to tactical execution straight away).
2. DON’T THINK ABOUT THEIR AUDIENCE ENOUGH
(Issue = many small businesses bang on too much about their products and services – it’s all about them)
When you don’t have a content strategy or plan, your default position will be to talk too much about yourself. Don’t do this!
Think about who you’re trying to reach on social media and tailor your content so that it addresses their needs – your mantra should be that it’s about them, your customers, not about you (sorry).
3. AREN’T ACTIVE ENOUGH/DON’T WHOLEHEARTEDLY EMBRACE SOCIAL
(Issue = not enough momentum is gained because social media isn’t given priority)
You might think tweeting once a day is an effort but if you want to start making inroads, you’re going to have tweet at least five, if not 15-20 times a day – add value along the way, engage in conversation with others and you will see results over the journey.
If you’re going to blog, one post a month is not going to cut it – in fact, it sends the wrong message: “What, haven’t you got anything to say?” – the goal should be to embrace less mediums and participate on them properly, with passion, purpose and regularity.
4. NOT PAYING ENOUGH RESPECT TO THE NUANCES OF EACH PLATFORM
(Issue = too much posting of the same content across multiple channels using automated tools, without thinking about the audience of each platform)
Again, employ less mediums – get to know how each platform ticks, how people use them and interact with each other; for example, Twitter is a really different ‘beast’ to Facebook – understand the differences and map out your approach accordingly.
5. DON’T USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO HUMANISE THEIR ORGANISATION
(Issue = businesses tend to hide behind logos, yet people do business with people, not logos!).
Take people ‘behind the velvet rope’ of your business, get into the habit of posting photos of things that are taking place at your office, show off your staff, show your people in your Twitter banner image, for example.