There are no laws in social media, but there are norms that dictate how one should treat others and what sorts of interactions get rewarded with shares. If you want to do well in social media for your business, and you want to see interest in your company and sales increase, there are best practices to follow.
Below you’ll find some of the most common mistakes people who are new to social, or inexperienced in using the platforms, make. If you want to prosper on social media, you need to avoid this missteps:
Pulling a NapoleonThere are a lot of shiny objects out there on social media. It seems like there’s a new platform every week that “everybody is using.” But you shouldn’t care about everybody, just your current and prospective customers. Go where they are.
Too many businesses that take to social media to increase revenue, spread themselves too thin. They try to take on too much and aren’t able to effectively do any of it. Seth Godin, author and marketer extraordinaire, stayed off of Twitter for years. When he did join, he made it clear that his stream was only a source of his content. He didn’t plan on interacting on that forum. He understood his limits. Napoleon took on too much and spread himself too thin when he invaded Russia and look what happened there.
Not Taking the TimeMany businesses set up a bunch of profiles all at once, not taking the time to fill in any of them. Complete your business information on each platform before moving on. Fill in the About section and all of your contact information. Upload professional images. Post some content. Don’t go on a massive land grab, and make the accounts all active or visible with only a part of the information you need. It looks unprofessional.
Not Going on a Land GrabThis sounds counterintuitive to the information I just shared. The difference is you want to avoid creating an active profile with missing information, but if you can claim your company name, you should do so. If you do, make sure it is either hidden, until you’re ready to engage on that platform, or it provides additional ways to connect.
It is valuable to visit all of the major social media profiles and lay your claim to your business name so no one else can take it. Facebook, for instance, doesn’t require you to publish. If you’re not ready, keep it hidden. If the platform doesn’t allow for hidden profiles, add information about the social media profiles you are active on in the About section. For instance, in your Twitter bio you could write “We’re not here yet but please connect with us on Instagram.”
This keeps someone else from taking your handle, and if anyone searches on the platform, they’ll find something about you. In this case, don’t actively advertise you’re on Twitter because you’re not. Just let it be out there as a sign post should anyone come looking.
Remembering Only to PostYou must provide relevant and interesting content for your audience but that’s not all. Make time for interacting with others. Share their content. Ask meaningful questions. Compliment bloggers on pieces you enjoy. Everyone likes to be involved with someone who makes them feel good. Give and you shall receive.
A final tip about social media mistakes hurting your business: Social media is about building relationships and helping you establish know, like, and trust with your customers and potential customers. Blasting them with information about you is never a good way to build a connection. Be yourself. Provide inspiration, education, and entertainment for your audience. Be the kind of audience for others that you want for your own business. Share content, compliment and build people up. Social media karma and the golden rule are alive and well online.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog. She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.