Bad Habits social media

It’s no secret that social media is a valuable tool at the forefront of online business and digital marketing. This can be used to great effect and with the right strategy and patience can bring your business a whole new audience or customer base.  From followers on Twitter or likes on Facebook, to Circle hopping on Google Plus, there is seemingly no end to the amount of ways you can connect with your peers, colleagues and customers.  Social media has seen the emergence of the QR code which can be scanned with almost any smartphone to give the customer more information, and Twitter and Facebook have all but revolutionised the way we connect with each other in the business community. Competitions are launched on Facebook and Twitter followers are rewarded with mentions, retweets and follows from their favourite organisations. 

While much of this is organic marketing in a digital environment, there is perhaps a more cynical element at play here represented by search engine optimisation and online presence.  High search engine rankings mean good business and social media is more of a factor in determining rankings than it ever has been.  Providing a whole new avenue for customers to click through to a business or in some cases buy direct from a social media site, it’s clear that digital marketing has changed forever.

For all its usefulness, there are one or two pitfalls and bad habits to watch out for when beginning a social media campaign.  Smaller businesses and startup campaigns are particularly vulnerable to a lot of these practices as they seek to get the ball rolling and get their social media campaigns off the ground.

1. Hard Selling

Once wielding social media with a great following at your disposal, it’s very easy to start ‘selling’ to people.  On the surface this may seem like common sense and perfectly harmless but the average doesn’t really want to be sold to. They don’t browse their Twitter or Facebook feeds to be bombarded with products and offers and doing this repeatedly will no doubt lose you a few customers.  That’s not to say you shouldn’t promote your business, but you should do so in an indirect manner.  For example, if a business is selling energy efficient electric heaters, don’t bombard people with prices or deals, instead try talking to them about the environment or the price of electricity.  This will encourage interaction, establish common ground and may lead to the reader clicking through to your website where they may stumble upon some solutions to a problem they’ve been having and buy one of your heaters.  It’s all about sharing information which is relevant and helpful, not hard selling your products.

2. Quality over Quantity

You should manage your social media campaigns like you manage the content on your website.  Keep it regular and keep it relevant.  Since the dawn of social media hundreds of various social media platforms have come and gone and it’s important to apply your business to right ones and stick with them.  Rather than set up a number of different accounts and try to keep up with them all, it’s far more advisable and advantageous to your business to focus on two or three with a good consumer base and offer quality updates, links and content.  It reflects badly on your business if a user stumbles upon an abandoned account on a social media platform that has been left without an update for months. 

3.  Less tweeting, more listening

Customer interaction is the cornerstone of social media in business.  You will not gain a following or a customer base without reaching out to customers, but do so often and you will sink into obscurity, becoming another grey company in a sea of tweets and likes.  For small business in particular, it’s advisable to respond to as many social interactions as you can and provide a platform for your customers (or potential customers) to speak. Rather than constantly pumping out updates and content, perhaps ask your customers what they think of your products or website.  Create a poll for them to interact with and create a talking point (while at the same time perhaps getting a bit of market research done).  The number one rule with social media and business marketing is to always respond to your customers regardless of whether it’s for something good or bad. That direct interaction with consumers will give your business a face and a personality and make people more inclined to want to give you their custom. 

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