Ever wonder why you even bother with social media? Does it seem as if your tweets, likes, status updates, and other online missives aren’t yielding any return? Don’t blame Twitter and Facebook. Instead, check your messages to see what they’re lacking.
Small-business owners typically make some common mistakes, says Lorrie Thomas Ross, CEO of Web Marketing Therapy. If you think your social media investment isn’t paying off, review your activity for these holes:
1. No strategy — Entrepreneurs tend to focus on social media tools but not how or why to use them, Ross says. That’s like starting a journey without a destination or a map. Determine what you want to accomplish and set a theme for content, so it will be valuable to your potential customers.
“Social media needs to be bigger than you or your organization,” Ross explains, so think broadly about the topics you will address. Determine who will be responsible for driving your company’s social media efforts. Neglected sites and pages create a poor impression of a business, just like an unkempt or abandoned storefront. Ensure designs are consistent across your sites, determine the right phrases for search engine optimization, and plan outreach, such as whether you will buy Facebook ads.
2. No conversation — When a customer walks into your store or office, the first words out of your mouth probably aren’t, “This is XYZ Company. Buy this. Buy that.” But that’s what many business social media postings sound like.
Introduce yourself and get to know your potential customers through social media. Talk with people, not at them, Ross advises. “People have to date us before they marry us.”
3. No education — Ross tells small-business owners to “serve and support on social media.” Think: “I need to help my customer and potential customers understand things,” she says. Use social media to answer frequently asked questions and to pre-qualify customers.
4. No connection — It’s called social “networking” for a reason. Mentioning other people and businesses in your posts and tagging and linking to them will expand the reach of your messages. For example, Ross says, an organic produce company that posts recipes could tag a particular juice brand in a recipe.
5. No fun — You don’t have to be funny, but you do need to be fun. People want to enjoy the social media experience. A law office, for example, could post a story about its employees’ volunteer activities.
“You don’t have to be a comic,” Ross says. Look for the opportunities to spread a smile, and post content that people will want to share. (Who thought blenders were fun before Blendtec founder Tom Dickson started its “Will It Blend?” series on YouTube in 2006?)
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