At this point you already know you need to be present on social media. You’ve heard of Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Pinterest, etc. You’ve tried to do it yourself, and you’ve already discovered that there is more to social media marketing than you thought. You’ve also read tons of articles on what to do and how to do it. So I want to give you now a list of what not to do. Inspired by a list posted by Mashable, I created my own guide, and I’m happy to share it with you. Here is my top 10 list of what not to do on social networks:
1. Do NOT think social media is free: Whoever stated that social media is free does not live in this world. Anything that consumes your time is not free. Especially when it comes to marketing to your customers. Social media might have a lower cost compared to other marketing strategies, but you still need to monitor it 24/7, interact with your fans and share interesting content. All those things are time-consuming, and you know what they say: “Time is money.”
2. Do NOT be everywhere: Running a business is already a hard task, so you don’t want to worry about monitoring another 100 social media channels you are in. Plus, it is always better to be good at one thing than so-so in everything. Not all social media channels will be right for you, so be where your customers are. Pick the best social network for your business and work hard on it to keep it fresh and interesting.
3. Do NOT hard sell: You probably have heard it a million times, but I need to say it again: Social media is all about building relationships. When you use it only to sell your business, you pass the impression that you don’t care about your customers or you have no clue about the social platform. Either way, you can end up driving customers away instead of attracting them to your business.
4. Do NOT try to be cool: There are a lot of cool social media tools and strategies out there. But if something worked for other businesses, it doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. The first thing you have to ask before trying anything new is “how is this going to bring me more business?” If you were able to answer it well, go ahead and try it. If not, keep your strategies as simple as you can. In social media, less is always more.
5. Do NOT post in capital letters: I know, it sounds silly, but I still see tons of business owners posting only in capital letters. If you don’t know, when you use one word in capitals, it means you want to highlight that word. But when it is the whole sentence, it means you are yelling – and customers don’t like seeing it. Also, it’ll show that you don’t have a clue about online talk – why would you be yelling at people otherwise?
6. Do NOT self-promote: If a customer “likes” you on Facebook or follows you on Twitter, he already knows and appreciate your business – so there is absolutely no reason for self-promotion. Use your social media channels to give away useful information about what is going on with your business and the community around you. Existing customers don’t want to hear about how great your business is, they want to talk to you as they’d do in person, so talk about everyday life – you’ll reach more people.
7. Do NOT discuss with unhappy customers: Your mom was right: Know how to lose. If a customer leaves you a bad review, apologize and try to fix the situation, but if he insists and keeps going on and on about the situation, the best thing to do is to recognize your mistake and stop the conversation. It is not worth hurting the reputation of your business for only one person – you can’t please everyone. The longer you keep the conversation going, the bigger the chances of you committing a bigger mistake. See here an example of what will happen to your business’ reputation if you don’t learn how to let it go: Boners BBQ
8. Do NOT make up excuses: Small business owners are usually very passionate about their business, so when they get a bad review, they get very upset and tend to make up excuses for what happened. There is nothing wrong about getting upset, but when the bad reviews keep coming in, it is time to face the problem and realize that your customers may be right. It is hard to admit that your business has issues, but it is even worse if you don’t correct them. If your customers keep complaining about your services, print the reviews and take it to your employees. Show them that the customers are unhappy and work with them to make your business better. Stopping the excuses will only make you improve.
9. Do NOT think you can do social media in only 1 hour a day: That is the biggest misunderstanding when it comes to social media. Keeping a great online presence is time-consuming, and one hour a day is not enough time to monitor all your accounts, interact with your customers and research interesting content. Plus, if you are online from 2p-3p and someone asks you a question at 4p, they will only get a reply on the next day? This is unacceptable for online users. Business should reply to questions and reviews ASAP and interact with people all the time. Plus, if someone is trying to ruin your reputation, would you like to know about it only 24 hours later?
10. Do NOT ignore opportunities: Every time a customer posts on one of your social media pages is an opportunity for you to talk back to him and build up a relationship. Every time someone posts a bad review, it is an opportunity to make things right and win the customer back. Having an online presence gives you the opportunity to interact with your customers and grow your exposure (top of mind awareness). So instead of just “being there,” use everything as an opportunity to get closer to your customers and keep them for life.
If you have any questions about social media, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org