Social media can really level the playing field for small businesses. It gives us the ability to do more with less and yet many companies claim that social media isn’t working. The fact of the matter is that it’s not social media that’s at fault, it’s you. Here’s why:
1. You’re not listening – and you are not alone – 40% of brands using social media don’t respond to comments, questions, replies or retweets. Guaranteed that by doing so you are ignoring inquiries and opportunities that could bring you business. Get in the habit of monitoring your feeds regularly and respond frequently.
2. You’re rude to your fans/followers – fans are like exotic hot house plants, if you care and nurture them they will grow abundant and spread but if you ignore them they will simply die off. Nurtured fans can become your marketing dept on steroids. So why are you ignoring it when they retweet or share your content? A simple thank you is all it takes to keep them happy. Why would anyone retweet your content if you ignore them for it?
3. You’re a headless chicken scratching around doing what you can but with absolutely no direction. You started out with a blog, then added a Facebook page because everyone’s one there, then Twitter because you saw it on TV, and now Pinterest, Google+…. The fact of the matter is that it takes you so long to do your social media that you don’t have enough time to do what you do best and make money. There are thousands of social networks out there. You can’t be on all of them effectively and still make money for your business so choose 2 or 3 (max) and do them really well. Choose the ones that your target audience is most like to use.
4. Your branding sucks – sounds harsh, but it is true. Before you embark on building your social media presence it is important to make sure that you you’ve done your homework and that your brand is ready, and that isn’t just your logo (but that’s important too). You should understand what your company stands for, how it is perceived, how your offering is different. If you know this then you will be more likely to succeed online and off.
5. Your customer service stinks – another hard thing to hear but if your offline customer service stinks then it’s just going to be amplified online, rolling out the red carpet for trolls. Fix your processes and make sure your customer service rocks before you start.
6. You like the sound of your own voice – sorry to tell you but this isn’t about you, my friend, it is about your audience. Stop mouthing off about you and your business all the time. Eighty percent of your posts should be focused on adding value for your audience and twenty percent should be about you (not the other way round). And save the photos of your coffee (yawn).
7. Your social media stands alone. – your presence on social media needs to reflect your real world activities. If you are having an open house or event, Tweet about it. Closed on Monday, then post it on your Facebook page. Consider social media as a component of your overall marketing, communications and business plan.
8. You’re an old school communicator – many small businesses fail on social media because they take the old approach to communicating and talk at their audience rather than with their audience. This isn’t about you pushing out your message, it is about building conversations centered around your customers.
9. You don’t know what social media is and you don’t care. For you, social media is a passing fad and not worthy of your attention. People said the same thing about the Internet 15 years ago and the telephone 100 years ago. The fact of the matter is that if you want to do business with the next generation of clients, you will have to use social media to some extent. If you’re not on there then they will rule you out and you’re business will suffer.
10. You delegated to the person in your office who has a thousand Facebook friends. Just because someone knows how to use social media socially, doesn’t mean they can use it effectively for business. Make sure that whoever is doing your social media understands your business, goals, audience and what to say or not to say before they start.