This post comes with a disclaimer: we’re all still learning about social media. Everyone is; social media is constantly evolving, and new strategies are being developed every day. That being said, you don’t have to look like you’re new to the social media “game,” even if you are a rookie to social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. So how do you avoid walking around with a metaphorical “I’m new here” sign on your back? Avoid these common rookie social media faux pas:
You only share content about you
Don’t confuse social media marketing with traditional advertising. This is more than just a space that says, “buy, buy, buy!” Creating a valuable social media presence is all about giving value to your customers, and not just on selling. That means sharing content, graphics and information that your customers find valuable, including but not limited to information about your company. Use the 80/20 rule: 80% of your posts, tweets, etc. should be valuable (even fun depending on your company’s voice), and 20% should be about you.
Don’t be afraid to share content from other sources. If you are a pet store, share tips, articles, and memes that your customers find interesting. Add in pictures of pets that come into your store, fun pictures of your employees (with their permission), sales happening at your store, and notification of community events you’re involved in. The result is a social media presence that your customers find relevant and interesting, building their trust and bringing them in the door.
You have a million different social media pages, BUT…
The BUT is that you’re not good at any of them. A tell-tale sign of a rookie business is a mishmash of social media pages that don’t have relatable, regular and relevant posts specific to the social media site, the key to a solid social media presence. They’ve jumped in with good intentions, but 1) don’t have the knowledge of what to post to that specific social media channel or 2) tons of social media pages but no time to post to those pages.
What’s almost worse is when a business links two social media pages and automatically cross posts. The result is a long Facebook post that Twitter users can’t even read because it’s too long; a LinkedIn page with short Tweets that obviously weren’t intended for LinkedIn and don’t give LinkedIn users value. It’s disastrous. Every social media site is different; create posts and tweets for each platform, even if you’re sharing the same content.
How do you avoid this particular social media black eye? Plan ahead. Choose your social media channels strategically, and focus on those channels. Knowing what social media site fits your brand (check out this infographic to match your customer demographic with the right social media platform) is almost as important as what you put on those social media channels. Are you a bridal shop? Consider Pinterest, which is a visual social media channel with a strong female user demographic. A business focused on B2B marketing? Consider LinkedIn, one of the leading social media platforms among professionals.
You don’t have to confine your social media presence to one social media site, of course. But if you do have a presence on several sites, know your social media site and their audience or hire a social media marketing company that does. Finding your niche in the social media world is as wonderful as a compatible marriage. It’s a match made in heaven, where your business achieves results—and your audience gets the content they want.
Feast or famine social media presence
Ah, the famous “your eyes are bigger than your stomach” error. Or, in this case the “your intentions are bigger than the amount of time you have.” These rookie businesses post when they have time, post a lot, and then….post nothing. You’re not going to keep your audience’s interest with this fast or famine approach to social media. Be regular; the definition of regular is different on each social media platform. If you can’t give regular social media updates and blog posts, outsource to marketing experts. It’s better to have updated social media channels than irregular posts and dated information. We’ve said it before: there’s no shame or blame in outsourcing.
You don’t respond
This is one of the worst mistakes a business can make on social media: not responding to their customers in a timely fashion. Remember, social media is a two-way forum. If your customers ask a question, or leave a review, you need to respond quickly. Studies have shown that your customers’ expect a response on social media, and that they are responding a response within an hour (or two at the most). That doesn’t mean you need to stay awake all night responding to customers, especially if you put your business hours on Facebook. It does mean that you need to reply as quickly as possible, even if the review or inquiry has a negative tone.
If you get a negative review or comment, don’t ignore it. Instead, use this as a chance to listen and provide excellent customer service. Deleting a negative comment only angers your already angry customer and makes it look like you have something to hide. Your customers are taking the time to engage with you, now it’s your turn to return the favor. If you don’t have time to post and respond to your social media inquiries, hire help to make sure that you meet your customers’ (and potential customers’) expectations.
Remember, not to treat social media marketing like it’s an isolated effort. Integrate your social media marketing into your marketing plan so you have a clear, consistent voice in all your marketing efforts—and the excellent results of a well thought-out, strategic marketing plan. Don’t be afraid to ask if you have any questions about digital marketing; watching and learning are two sure ways to lose that rookie label.