When training many small to medium-sized businesses to effectively use social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, there are five critical mistakes that I come across consistently. There is no concrete answer on how to be successful in social media due because every business offers different products and services to different target audiences. However, there are best practices that companies should be aware of and work diligently to implement. Here are the top five mistakes that businesses make when leveraging social media.
1) There’s no plan or strategy. I have seen many businesses set up Facebook and Twitter accounts, and then let them sit dormant. A stale account will do nothing to help grow your business. In fact, it can harm your business. My suggestion is to create at least a six-month social media plan, and stick to it. Strategize with a local consultant, mentor or friend who specializes in social media, and remember to have fun with it. Social media is a way to show off your company and build lasting relationships with your customers.
2) Content is not prioritized. A business should always try to stick to the 80/20 rule. This rule states that content and messaging should be 80 percent informational and 20 percent promotional. Social media is a pull system, so stop pushing. Your customers do not want you to hound them every day to come into your store or buy your products. They want you to bring valuable information to them and prove you are a resource to them and a thought leader in your industry. You want to feed your fans and followers great content and create conversation on platforms that are relevant to your marketing plan. For example, do not set up an account on Pinterest just because everyone else is doing it. If the platform does not fit your model, excel in the platforms that do. Thanks to the Internet, there is a lot of great content at your disposal. Engagement is everything.
3) Automated posting by linking social media accounts. Linking Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts is a huge social media no-no. While it sounds contradictory because many social sites encourage it, you do not want to push the same message out across all sites simultaneously. Twitter enforces a message length requirement and encourages multiple tweets a day due to sheer volume of tweets. However, Facebook encourages a more in-depth message for less frequent posting. Each platform hosts a different audience in a different atmosphere. Speak with them appropriately.
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