- by Trish
The use of social media can be extremely beneficial for many businesses. In fact, sales can increase to about 55% by marketing on social media (1). Your business has this potential too, if you use the right strategies and advice.
Using social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram can not only give you a bigger online presence, but it can also bring you more website visitors and a larger customer base.
Using social media can be an attractive and highly effective marketing portal. However, the problem is that many businesses fail to use the appropriate methods … or fall short of their potential on social media.
There are hundreds of blogs and threads on social media advertising, and many of them offer terrible advice that simply doesn’t work. Even worse, you don’t want to waste your own time, money or reputation following these misleads and misguided recommendations.
The Bad Advice, and What you Should Really Do
Here is a list of 7 common tips to avoid on using social media, with legitimate advice on what you should actually do instead.
1. You, the business owner, should run your Facebook, Twitter, etc. account.
Social media comes in all shapes and sizes. From Facebook and Twitter, to LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram, there are various social media platforms with entirely different atmospheres, per say. Having an account on a range of platforms can be beneficial, yet very time consuming. It is vital to learn the ropes of each account and truly know how to appropriately appeal to the audience.
It takes time to do all of this and keep up with it. Although you, the business owner can indeed run the accounts, it would probably be in your best interest to designate a virtual assistant to do this job for you.
2. Only use social media for your business if you have a young customer base.
Sure, it is always important to evaluate your customer base. Dependent upon your client base, you may or may not find social media a necessary outlet. One thing to acknowledge though, is that social media is not just used by young people. In fact, 79% of adults aged 30-49, and 61% of adults aged 50-64 actively use Facebook (2).
3. There is no need to really interact on your accounts, just post your advertisements.
Social media is social. It is optimized for interaction. People seek interaction. Whether your followers comment on your page or post, or they send you messages, it can benefit greatly to respond within a timely and professional manner.
View your social media account as both an advertising and customer service portal. Yes, you can post promotional links, pictures and blurbs, but you should also acknowledge your followers when they have a question or concern. People are much more likely to do business with you if they feel a valid, human connection.
4. Post as frequently as possible, there is no such thing as too much posting.
No. Please do not do this. You don’t like to be spammed, right? Neither do your followers and potential customers. The Entrepreneur elaborates well on this topic.
Different social media networks accompany different tendencies. For example, on Twitter, it is more permissible and common to post a few times a day. Meanwhile, on Facebook, two posts a day is usually the maximum before people feel annoyed and start to tune you out (3).
5. Add anyone and everyone, the more followers and the more friends you have, the more business you will do.
The problem with social media and adding a bunch of random people is that quantity isn’t necessarily quality. The best practice is to let the followers come to you. This way, you know that you have at least peaked their interest in some way.
A great way to start is by encouraging current customers to follow or like your pages. Further, you can encourage shares, likes and retweets of your posts to get your followers to virtually promote your business.
After you have established your company on social media, you can evaluate your progress by comparing your number of followers to your number of customers – hence why you want quality followers over quantity.
6. Social media advertising can use the same material as other advertising.
Social media is a creature of its own. You must cater to the audience here. People on social media tend to gravitate towards entertainment. They do not want to feel sold, and they tend to block out the typical banner formatted ads. Appeal to your audience, keep things versatile. Switch between videos, pictures and links. Keep your followers interested and enthused.
One other thing you will realize is that having an account or a page will already do some advertising for you. Many people will see their friends “like” your page or their friends will tag you in a post when friends seek recommendations. Keeping a generally positive, friendly and professional personality on your social media will also bring in customers and followers.
7. Ignore the critics and those pointing out your downfalls online.
As with most businesses, there will be unsatisfied customers. On social media, people see every move, comment, or post that others make. There are times to ignore certain commentary, but for the most part, it is best to handle every business encounter online as if it were in person.
Respond professionally and respectfully.
For example, if a customer makes a negative post about your business, you can respond politely. It is best to apologize, offer a point of contact and keep any other comments brief and friendly. This not only acts as a mending response between that particular person, but it also shows other viewers that you are a professional business who truly cares about customer satisfaction. You want to maintain the best reputation possible, after all.
Now that you know a few things to avoid with social media, you can confidently build your online presence. Just keep your followers in mind, as they are your potential customers. Maintain a professional and personable tone, and you will be on your way to greater success.
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