Social media is an extremely powerful channel that businesses need to make use of but, despite all the benefits, there are still some that are not taking advantage of it. What’s more, there are an increasing number of businesses frequently making key mistakes that stunt their social media growth.
When you look at
I’ll admit that there is some crossover, but the way that we use social media for business and for personal use is completely different.
For example, when we use social media for personal use, the aim is to keep in touch with close friends, people we grew up with and family (that’s if we don’t see them very often). You don’t have the situation where you need to filter the topics you share all too much. Although keeping your updates positive usually goes down best.
On the other hand, when we use social media for business, the way we talk to people, the content we share and the way we share it completely changes.
The biggest difference between the two for me is that, when it comes to business, it’s not just about reaching your friends or your followers, it’s more about expanding your reach and broadcasting your message to the followers of your followers.
It isn’t enough to just sit back and think the audience that you have is enough.
#2. Lack of commitment
You can’t expect to attain social media success with your foot half in, half out. Social media requires time and commitment to ensure you share regular updates that your followers will love. Providing that you don’t go overboard and bombard your followers with updates at a rate that would be considered annoying, regular updates will work well for you.
It’s all about capturing mind share, similar to the effect that occurs to a business that has just appeared on 5 of the top industry blogs, it’s about constantly being visible to your followers. Sharing content once a month just isn’t going to cut it.
The resources in your business will, of course, have a bearing on your level of commitment so, if you’re concerned about the costs involved, I’d recommend reading Jamie Turner’s post on calculating the ROI of your next social media campaign.
Social media is a great channel that allows businesses to generate engagement, traffic and leads, but a lot of businesses make it difficult for people to even connect with them.
I understand that there are certain reasons why this might be the case, especially since a lot of sites that miss this off push email sign ups as an alternative. Sure, the lifetime value of an email subscriber could be higher than a social media follower, but what happens if that social media follower happens to be an influencer?
If you’re going to push email sign ups, then I wouldn’t say you should avoid it, because email is still a powerful channel. Granted, it’s not as successful as it used to be for particular reasons, but it’s still a big player. Just make sure that you don’t remove all evidence that your business is active on social, make them visible somewhere at least.
I’m quite fond of the way that Tweak Your Biz, and also Small Biz Trends display social profiles, here’s an example from Small Biz Trends:
All of the key social profiles are there and it makes it easy for people to follow and even find the RSS feed (yes, people still use RSS!).
For some more examples of how other business experts are making it easy for their followers to connect, take a look at some of the sites listed in my list of top business blogs.
#4. No presence or too much
Despite the digital age that we live in, and the insane usage statistics of social media websites, there is still a significant number of businesses that have no presence at all. It’s also important to go to where your audience is, but don’t cut out particular social platforms simply because it’s “not as good” as another.
For example, LinkedIn is more geared towards business and Google+ is more geared towards the tech savvy and creative types. However, with a business focus, you can still get some good results from Google+.
Be careful of going too much the other way as well, because sometimes people set up accounts on 15 different websites, then try to juggle them all and end up wanting to close the lot. The truth is, if you find that happening, you don’t have to close them all; certain profiles are worth just being there as another way to find your business, and then focus on regularly updating those that get you better results.
Also, think about which social networks may require more time to manage, or what’s more acceptable in terms of how often you update social profiles. For example, 20+ updates on Twitter spread out through the day wouldn’t be a problem, but posting that often on Facebook won’t go down as well.
#5. The wrong time and the wrong place
I’m straying slightly off topic now, but I want to illustrate an important point about what should be common sense. While the focus of this article is on business, there seem to be times when in business people sometimes do some very strange things. The temptation is often to use social media for personal use in business hours, and there is a level of trust that you must have with staff to know that they will do the right thing.
In the past, there have been situations where the personal use of social media in business hours has gone to extreme lengths. For example, in 2010 a Bulgarian City Councillor was fired due to consistent use of Facebook’s popular app ‘FarmVille’ during budget meetings.
#6. Sharing content people don’t care about
Around three years ago, Jeff Bullas published a blog post about 30 things you should not share on social media and it’s as relevant now as it was then.
The list featured a significant amount of security related things that people mention – things like hints about passwords, when you’re leaving on holiday, which day you’re planning to pull a sickie at work and all that sort of thing.
And then there are those things that people don’t actually want to know; for example, people don’t care whether you’re having a really nice roast beef dinner today. Depending on your audience, you may want to omit that from anything on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ … in most situations you may want to save that type of stuff for Instagram.
The truth is that it all comes down to your audience. In most cases, sharing updates about what you have had for tea isn’t a good idea, but if you are a food blogger or run your own restaurant, then showcasing some of the awesome food you cook to an audience who want to know more about it will definitely help.
So always ask yourself the question “would my target audience really find value in what I’m about to share?”
Over to you
This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means; the list of potential mistakes that both individuals and companies make on social media goes on and on.
Have you witnessed any excessive social media mistakes made by businesses or individuals? We would love to hear more in the comments below.
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