In today’s business world, there is no question that social media plays an important part in customer interaction. When handled properly, social media can be used to improve customer service, discover the products and services your customers really want, promote your business and boost sales. Unfortunately, if your social media is mismanaged, it could result in the exact opposite. With that being said, let’s take a few moments to look at five areas where many business owners tend to fail in the world of social marketing interactions.
1. The Forgetful Entrepreneur
We all know this guy. The odds are, we have probably been this guy. He jumped on the social marketing bandwagon with two feet and big ideals about massive overnight returns. He created Twitter, Google+, Facebook, MySpace and Pinterest accounts. He has a blog and a Facebook fan page. What he doesn’t have is a post more recent than three weeks ago. He seems to have forgotten that he even has all of these social platforms waiting to be used. Why? Maybe all of this social presence created a boost in business that left this guy too busy to post regularly? Maybe he didn’t see the immediate influx of customers he anticipated and lost interest? Maybe he just hasn’t found time to post on all of these profiles? Whatever the reason the social platform is being mismanaged, it is hurting the companies marketing. After all, if your company’s marketing isn’t important enough for you to keep it up to date, why should anyone else pay attention?
FIX IT: This problem is fairly simple to fix. Simply find the time and motivation to start posting on a regular basis again…
Okay, that isn’t always so simple. If your social marketing is suffering due to lack of time because business has picked up, then maybe it is time to consider hiring a social media person to handle marketing or use one of the many programs designed to make pre-written posts at preset times. By doing so, you take a lot of the burden off yourself but still use social platforms to your best interest. If you find you still have too many social platforms to work with, it might be time to eliminate a few of them from the roster and focus on the ones most of your customer base is using. After-all, isn’t it better to have one or two social media campaigns that are getting good results than to have ten that aren’t performing at all?
2. Getting Too Personal
A few years ago, some business owners thought it would be wise to feature their children and other family members in their advertising. It was novel. It was cute. Then it became cliche. Now, it’s just annoying. After-all, when was the last time you bought a car because a blue eyed, blond haired, four year old said “My grandpa sells the best cars at the best prices.”?
Unfortunately, a lot of folks handle their social media campaigns in the same way. When you visit Facebook, you see people sharing intimate details of their lives that most of us really don’t care to know about and that trend has spilled over into some business accounts as well, especially in the case of small, privately owned businesses. We want our customers to trust us so we try to share our lives with them and show them we are people too. This is a good theory but the problem is sometimes we share too much and then we are just posting things our customers don’t really care about. Do this too often and your followers will either quit following you or they will ignore the notification that you have shared something, meaning they miss your posts that actually apply to them.
FIX IT: Recognize a few basic principles of human behavior. People make purchases based on need and want. It has nothing to do with how cute your baby is or what you are eating for breakfast. They buy products and services from people they trust. Again, that has nothing to do with your baby or your meal. The deciding factors ( Need – Want – Trust) are the factors your social media campaigns should focus on. Post stories related to your product or service, showing your customers why they need your service or want your product. Then, build trust in your company by showing testimonials from happy customers, professional certifications and other accolades that relate to your business. Save the personal stuff for your personal accounts.
3. Don’t Beat Me Over The Head With It
Another error that is common in social media marketing is the tendency to spam your followers with links to your products and services. We have all been the unfortunate follower of this guy. He sends out the links to each of his products twice an hour and the lineup never changes. Sometimes, it’s even the same wording. It finally reaches the point where you want to scream ,”If I didn’t want this at 10 A.M., why do you think I want to hear about it again at noon?” If you are this guy, you can expect to see your social media post wind up in the same place as spam emails and junk mail. It simply becomes ignored and forgotten.
FIX IT: While you definitely want to market your company through the platform, social media is more than just advertising. Use social media to promote, build trust and communicate with your customers rather than just advertising products or services to them. Think of it this way. If you took a client to a business dinner, would you talk explicitly about your products and services the entire time? No, you would socialize and find out what your clients needs and interests were to try and better match your services to their needs. Treat social platforms in the manner.
4. Bad Timing
Have you seen the postings of the insomniac business owner? He is awake all night, posting great things on Google+, Twitter and Facebook. His posts are always on target. Oh, you haven’t seen them? Maybe you were asleep…
Sometimes as entrepreneurs, we forget that the rest of the world doesn’t operate on our schedule. Just because we are awake at 3 A.M. trying to figure out the best ways to drive sales, it doesn’t mean our clients are awake and checking their social media notifications.
FIX IT: Timing is important to effective social media. Unless you are marketing to a global audience or specifically to night shift workers, there isn’t much need for posting around the clock. If you are staying up to post items at 3 A.M. and your customers all went to bed at 10 P.M., most of them will never see your posts because the other people who communicate with them will have your messages buried under their own post by the time your customers get around to checking their notifications the next day. Use your time more efficiently. Schedule tweets and posts to happen when your clients are awake and considering purchases.
5. We Don’t Discuss That
Do you know one of those people who always wants to argue about everything? Sometimes it seems like they say the most insane things just to stir up controversy. Those same people are on social sites and many of them are using controversy in their marketing campaigns. They post links to their favorite political candidates, religious debates and other things that seem to stir up arguments and get people talking. If you are one of these people, then you may be alienating your customers, rather than winning new business.
FIX IT: Controversy for the sake of conversation has no place in social media marketing. While it’s perfectly alright to have your own views, it isn’t going to help you grow your business if you offend your target market. Unless you are a campaigning politician or a pastor promoting your ministry on your churches Facebook page, step back from the soap box. Save religious, political and other incendiary comments for your personal profiles.
By avoiding these common pitfalls or fixing them, if they are already an issue, you can make your social media more effective and build a stronger customer base for your company.