So, you (or your boss) have decided to start a company Facebook page/Twitter stream/Pinterest board/LinkedIn Group. What are you waiting for – jump in and start putting stuff out there, right?
Hold that tweet. Do NOT “like” that post. And put down that pin. Read this. And save yourself from the most common mistakes that businesses make in social media.
1. Using Social Media as a Bullhorn
Have you ever been to a networking event with “that guy”? You know, the one who interrupts the nice conversation you are having with interesting people to say, “HEY LISTEN TO ME AND CHECK OUT MY BUSINESS”.
He’s pretty annoying, huh?
Treat social media the same as any other social event. Don’t be that guy. Think about what interests your audience. Engage them in conversations. Don’t just talk about yourself. And please don’t shout.
2. Fire, Ready, Aim
Maybe you know enough to not fall victim to Mistake #1. You share relevant, useful information with your audience. You answer your follower’s questions. You resist the urge to talk about your business 100% of the time. You even sound like a real person in your posts! Does this mean you are doing the best thing for your business?
Have you asked yourself why you are spending time on social media? It is important to set reasonable goals and create a strategic social media plan. What are your overall business objectives and how will social media help you reach them? Your strategy should be different if your goal is to generate leads or to improve customer service. The audience is important, but don’t forget to think about what is best for your business.
3. Expecting Instant Results
Unfortunately, social media is not a fast solution. Sure, you can buy fans or subscribe to an algorithm that will give you 8,497 followers in 68 seconds. But were you really trying to talk to a parrot trainer in Bahrain?
I didn’t think so.
The truth is, social media is hard work. There are no magic tricks. It’s about building relationships. And just like building relationships in the real world, it takes time and effort. You have to get to know your audience and talk to them on a regular basis. You need to establish yourself as an expert, resource, or friend (or whoever it is you are trying to be). But most of all, you need patience.
If you only remember one thing, remember that you are talking with real people. Social media is great. Many businesses have used it to reach new fans and to forge deeper connections with their most loyal customers.
Your business can succeed in social media. (And if you need a little help, I know a place.)