Many small businesses who know little or nothing about the world of the internet dive in to social media in the belief that they can build their business opportunities on the hoof. In other words – they can fudge their way paying no attention to the key mistakes often made by such organisations.
Social media (ie two way communication in an open manner) builds trust, confidence and relationships. It is worth the time and commitment but it can also be detrimental to your business if not handled in the right way.
Here are some ideas of how you can mess it all up:
1. Social media etiquette – there is a recognised etiquette in social engagement in the differing social media platforms. Each one has its own individual idiosyncracies and to get the best out of the time invested in your chosen social media platform you should learn and observe these rules as quickly as possible. Overlook this and you could cause offence. Remember your manners!
2. Not updating regularly – not updating your social media presence on a regular basis is a real turn off to your followers. Since the deluge of information on the internet is so constant it is easy for them to forget about you in a blink of an eye. Alternatively, they will lose interest and click you have lost a member of your audience. Equally, you do not want to swamp them with so much information in a small time window that they feel overwhelmed.
3. Sign up to everything – there are so many social media platforms out there to choose from and it can be overwhelming to see which ones to join. Too many join everything without any thought to the audience they are trying to reach. Time spent on LinkedIn is wasted for certain industries. I personally advocate that LinkedIn is your personal on line CV and it doesn’t hurt for us all to at least have that minimum presence. However, it is my view that certain occupations/businesses could waste their time here – ie if you are an electrician or plumber you would probably not gain very much (if anything at all) to use it to promote your business to targeted customers. Such usage of this platform is best left to professional white collar workers.
4. Get your message right – a regular and consistent message is important. Providing business updates that will be of interest to your clients is a key part of social media. By all means be personable to set you apart from the crowd but stay focussed on what you are about. Although industry focussed news is critical to build trust in your brand, personal content is also important to convey who you are as a person so keep a good balance.
5. Reply – reply – reply – if social media users engage, comment or join your conversations then respond to them. There is nothing worse than being ignored – if you reach out to others don’t you want to get a reaction? Of course you do. It helps build relationships which go on to grow opportunities – both personal and business related.
6. Invest your time – to get on board with social media it takes time to get your head around the right approach – once you get it day to day operations do not have to tie you up for very long if you manage it right. You can stumble around and learn by doing or you can get help from others who have broken the ground before you. Equally you can pay someone to take on the job on your behalf. Do you have the time to spend on it or would you rather save your precious time and engage professional support? Your choice.
7. Remember you are talking to the world – whilst privacy settings are available on platforms such as Facebook do not rely on these. Your followers will not necessarily have the same concern for privacy as you do. Always be mindful that what you post on social media is there for all to see so behave accordingly as if all eyes are on you.
Above all when doing social media enjoy yourself AND be yourself – social interaction after all is fun!