Social media offers all businesses the chance to have their voices heard online, and even reveal some personality behind what can often be a bland or faceless corporation – take a look at the Twitter feed for Iceland foods, for instance…
— Iceland Foods ❄️ (@IcelandFoods) June 16, 2018
And it can also be a great way to communicate with customers, to answer queries and even defend against negative feedback. And, arguably best of all, it’s completely free – there are paid options you can take up to promote your postings, which can be an effective way to generate leads, but the free platforms are perfectly suitable for the day-to-day needs of your business.
But, as with any customer-facing communications, social media is not without its pitfalls – make sure you avoid these three social media mistakes…
1. Ignoring complaints
No-one likes confrontation but, sadly, it’s an inevitable in the world of business. And, just like with face-to-face confrontations and complaints, ignoring the issue is the worst thing you can do.
So instead of seeing any complaints as a negative, treat them as an opportunity to interact with your customers and potentially resolve any issues – ignoring it will only serve to annoy the complainants even further, and leave a bad impression of your business.
Communicating on social media is not like having a quiet conversation in a pub; it’s like having a megaphone and sharing your thoughts and deeds with hundreds of thousands of people. Consider that and respond to complaints accordingly.”
It’s also an opportunity for organisations to take the initiative when things don’t quite go according to plan. As an example, if a business falls victim to a cyber attack, social media provides the fastest and arguably most effective way of communicating this to key stakeholders and customers – and it means the business can control the message.
2. Having no strategy
Don’t post content across the vast range of platforms in the hope something comes of it – while it might do, you’ll have soon become fatigued at the amount of time you’re spending on creating and publishing content with very little return. This can often lead to long absences on social media, which can be even further off-putting to your audience.
Once you understand this, think about what you can do to make your life easier. You’re a small business, not a social media manager, so you need to ensure you don’t spend more time undertaking this than you need to.
A lot of organisations will try to use the same message or content for Facebook as they would on LinkedIn, but the two audiences are hugely different.
Try not to promote your own services too often. A good ratio is to ensure no more than 30% of your posts promote your business. The clue is in the term ‘social media’ – your feed shouldn’t be a stream of promotional posts but should try and engage your audience with interesting content.
Social media isn’t a quick win in terms of generating traffic. You need to spend time refining your message and figuring out what works best for your audience
Being to corporate
So many small businesses dress themselves up in a corporate style on Twitter and Facebook because that’s what they feel they should do. They use a corporate voice and a corporate logo, with no personality or humanity behind them. On social media, people expect to be talking to a human – so make sure you give that to them.
Look at companies like Tesco: they’re a great example of where personality can be introduced into some of the largest corporate social media accounts. They sign off every tweet with the name of the person that’s written it and – most importantly – they actively engage with people using the platform.