The 5 Most Common Mistakes New Business Owners Make with Social Media
by Tim Hands
If there is one thing we know, it is that brand new small business owners are usually very enthusiastic when it comes to getting the word out. At least in the beginning. They look forward to setting everything up — the Contact page, images of staff, the company logo…you name it, small business owners are pumped to do it.
And that includes starting up their social media accounts, specifically for Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is no longer a social network. Not even close. For billions of people across the globe, Facebook is practically a lifestyle. It is where an increasingly large number of folks are not only connecting to friends and family, but also,engaging with content.
Twitter is a little bit of a different animal. The ultra-short yet (mostly) straight-to-the-point method that is “tweeting” can give business owners the ability to reach audiences with rapid fire messages. Of course, both platforms offer tons of opportunities to entice users with promotions, contests, and other avenues of consistent engagement.
So where are the pitfalls? There are almost too many to count. Despite the fact that there are kids who operate on all social media platforms with nary an issue, the going is decidedly tougher for those venturing out in small business. After all, there are plenty of other concerns which require attention and often, these businesses are short-staffed, meaning they don’t have a designated social media manager to tackle the responsibility.
If this is the case for you, chances are you might be in danger of making the same mistakes other emerging entities do. In order to guard against that happening, let’s look at the five most common errors new businesses need to avoid with social media.
5. Doing the same thing over and over again
Sending out posts with important messages or announcements is one thing. Making a habit out of constantly badgering users with fruitless material is another. People differ in their online behavior, so it isn’t a guarantee they will hide you in their feeds, but why take the chance?
Keep users interested by keeping them on their toes. Automation has become a powerful tool, but it isn’t everything. The same posting style at the same time every day might be reliable, but it isn’t exciting, either. On top of that, it pays to actually do the research necessary to know when users are most likely to see your posts in the first place.
Mix it up. Share relevant content that you feel users and potential customers need to be aware of but don’t limit that to just articles from your website. Images, infographics, and some timely quotes can drum up the kind of engagement that users look forward to.
4. Not reading the fine print
Both Facebook and Twitter, the two most popular social media networks, often feature a parade of promotional contests. You’ve seen these before no doubt. Brands love hosting contests on social media because not only does this tactic offer a vast increase in engagement, but it also keeps them on the map by attracting new users. However, there is a catch.
Each platform has its own rules when it comes to how businesses can orchestrate contests and believe it or not, they aren’t as clear-cut as you might imagine. Red tape is everywhere and if you aren’t prepared, you could be violating that platform’s guidelines — something you don’t want to do, especially if you are a new business trying to gain a following.
3. Failing to put the time in
This part was alluded to before. Let’s face facts — running a small business is an all-encompassing proposition that often doesn’t lend the time to delve into other facets which require attention, like most notably, digital media marketing. Whether it is business owners or customer service staffers who get put in charge of social, one mistake they continuously make is believing all that is required is posting (or scheduling) and then walking away. It isn’t that simple.
If you do not invest enough time in staying on your pages and witnessing what is going on, how can you expect to understand what it is users are responding to? Even if there is a low rate of engagement (which is common in the beginning), it still pays to look around and see how things are running. What if you miss a comment a user makes? What if a competitor in your industry breaks news? There are a whole lot of “what if’s” you’ll be missing out on if you think posting and tweeting are a one-way street.
2. Ignoring the metrics
While high-powered social media firms employ a variety of software programs geared towards honing in on user behaviors, the truth is that Facebook and Twitter provide their own useful analytical tools for page-owners to play around with. Obviously, if you are altogether new to social media marketing, figuring out the metrics probably isn’t a priority — yet. But it will be, just as soon as you notice posts garner some attention.
What can you learn from Facebook’s native insight tools? Everything from when posts receive the most engagement, to the most impressions, and what type of content is “liked” the most. Twitter’s insights are a bit more crude, though nevertheless valuable. Here, you can find important info such as profile clicks, likes, retweets, impressions, and “detail expands”.
The key is taking the data gleaned from these metrics and applying it towards improving on engagement. Just a slight tweak here and there could mean the difference between 400 people seeing a post and 4,000. But you won’t find this information out any other way if you don’t perform what is actually very little digging. Be sure to do so, you won’t regret it.
1. Expecting users to share
Although there is a thought process that says if content is intriguing enough, sharing will happen on its own, that is not always how it happens. Sometimes, a little prodding is in order. There are ways to go about this without it coming off “needy”, and you will need to leverage those.
Brands that are established are typically not shy about trying to motivate the user-base to share. But it is something that they can get away with a little more easily given the number of followers who are on board. That’s why it makes much more sense to provide incentives.
- Turn shares into promotional opportunities by offering free or discounted items. You will want to observe all platform guidelines ahead of time (naturally), but in the early stages of a social media campaign, one surefire way to increase that reach is to give something away.
- Focus on quick and easy shareable content. Quotes inserted into high-quality, interesting images are a steady favorite, as are re-purposed graphics and popular articles.
Sharing doesn’t happen on its own, certainly not when you are new to the game. So make it easy at first by setting logical goals. And make sure you account for the small successes as well as any perceived failures. Try again and again until you get the formula right because if you stick with it, odds are you’ll eventually break through.
March 2, 2017
March 13, 2017