There is a right and a wrong way to use social media for your business, and learning the difference can dramatically influence your success. While there are many mistakes you could make with social media, some are more common (and more damaging) than others. Here are four common mistakes you’ll definitely want to avoid:
Overly Promotional Content
One of the biggest mistakes you can make with social media is being too promotional–just trying to sell, sell, sell. If most of the links you share go to your own website and most of your posts promote your products and services, your social media strategy is overly promotional.
Focus instead on engaging with others and sharing content, hints and tips that you get elsewhere. But make sure everything you share is relevant and of real value to your audience. This will help you capture and keep the interest of your audience, and others will appreciate that you took interest in their content, and in turn, take interest in you.
Not Engaging Enough
Have you ever had a one-sided conversation with someone? That person talks, and talks, and talks, and you can’t get a word in edgewise. After a while, you get pretty bored and if it goes on for too long, you probably get annoyed as well. The same thing goes for social media. If all you do is post and you don’t engage in conversation or respond frequently enough, you can pretty much expect to lose the interest of your followers.
Be the most active commenter on your pages. Respond to questions and comments quickly, and make sure each response shows that you are not only present but also truly interested in others’ lives, interests, needs and desires. Congratulate your followers and friends on their wins and express regret for their losses. Be personable and act as a friend rather than developing an image of yourself as a salesperson. And be sure to comment on other pages as well. Remember the big Social in social media.
Providing Unsharable Content
You never want the content you provide to just stop on your page. This does you no good. But if your content is boring, irrelevant, overly lengthy or always focused on trying to make that next big sale, it won’t go anywhere. It will just lie on your page totally limp and a complete waste of your valuable time. Remember that your audience members care most about information that is valuable to them and a lot less about hearing all about you.
No matter what you post, make sure it is relevent to your audience. Step out of your marketer’s shoes for a few minutes. Step into your audience’s shoes and look at it from their perspective. Is your content not only relevent but also interesting? You don’t want your audience snoozing after the first few lines. And don’t be afraid to take a different approach to your content from time to time. Humor is often a good way to grab attention. Finally, keep your content short and easy to share.
Racing to the Finish
Social media isn’t something to get done and over with. You should not expect to create a few profiles, make a few posts and move on to something else. It is the complete opposite of set it and forget it. Social media requires regular, frequent attention because it’s all about interaction and long-term commitment.
Begin your social media efforts with a commitment to long-term posting, sharing, commenting, answering and interacting. And continue your efforts with the goal of building your community gradually. Don’t give up if you don’t see obvious results right away. Commit to at least six months of effort before you worry about trackable results. But don’t stop at six months! Remember, you have to keep going to get the continued results you seek.
What do you consider the hardest part of social media? What do you see as the biggest mistake small business owners make in their social media efforts?