Social Media Marketing is not as easy as your nephew makes it look.
I met Nikki at a conference where we were discussing social media marketing and she approached me with a very defeated look on her face and said, “I have been trying to figure out this whole social media thing for almost a year. I try to post regularly, but it’s usually pretty off and on, and I even brought in an intern to help one day a week, but I think we are doing several things wrong.”
Many businesses, like Nikki, use social media haphazardly, without a plan and wonder why they can’t seem to get it right.
Here are 10 tragic mistakes that businesses make on social media (perhaps you are making a few of these) and ways to tweak your process to get on track.
Posting all promotional content.
While it’s true that you are spending time using social media tools to market your business and actually make sales, it is that salesy behavior that will repel your social media audience from getting close enough to ever buy. Unless you are a very well known brand that people will come to just to buy, (Starbucks, Hershey’s chocolate, or Louboutin Shoes) you have to build relationships using social media and show your audience you are there to be helpful, to provide valuable resources to them and yes, to get them to buy from you once they like you.
Many companies start off with a bang. You see two and three posts a day on their social media sites and then suddenly, a week or two later, it’s nothing…..a week goes by, a month goes by…nothing. Each social media site has an optimal time and frequency to post (here’s a great infographic that can help you figure your optimal times). There are a lot of factors, like who is your target audience? What time of day are they most likely to be online? How much valuable content do you have available to post? 2-5 times a day on Facebook or Google+ has been proven to work well, as long as you are not just posting cat pictures and asking people to name the kitty. (I see so much of that type of useless post that just pollutes the news stream.) 10 posts on Twitter is fine for a personal account, but you can post 20-30 from a business throughout the day and you will see a continuous growth in followers because your byte-sized nuggets are reaching more people. LinkedIn has the fewest number of posts per day with one being a good way to stay in front of your audience and prove that you are a thought leader in your industry.
Posting personal info on a business account.
If your community manager is not business savvy or is lacking in business experience, they may not understand the best way to ensure the voice of your brand is carried out. I saw a business Facebook page that had a photo of one of the employees’ daughters and a post that discussed her difficult behavior that day. If you are a small business and you want to create that family feel, there is a better way to do that. Share helpful information, always keeping your audience. Personal information on a business page can include things such as, work anniversaries, meet the team members posts with fun facts about each person, photos from a conference you or your team attended with some helpful nuggets that you took away from it. Let your audience see behind the curtain of your business, but leave the front door of your house CLOSED!
Sharing too much business content on your personal accounts.
Friends and family members connected with you on Facebook, Instagram or other sites to learn about YOU, not about your recent real estate listing or free webinar every day. Don’t make your friends and family mute you. Trust me… they want to hear about your latest “opportunity” as much as you are looking forward to that next telemarketing call coming into your home while you relax at night. You may not want to share anything personal with those you have connected with, and that’s okay. Simply connect with people there and remind them that you have great business resources on your business profiles and share that link with them.
Being on the wrong social media platform.
Just because everyone is on Facebook or Instagram, doesn’t necessarily mean it is the right place for you to spend time reaching out to potential customers. Spend some time asking your current clients which social media sites they are most active on. Do some research on each social media site to see if your competitors are there and if there is an active community there. (Do they have a lot of Twitter followers, or do they have 45? How many fans have liked their Facebook page and how many posts actually have comments, likes, shares?) You can buy fans and followers, but you can’t buy real engagement. Look for clues to see if there is life on that social site for you to pursue! You may find that LinkedIn, Google Plus, or Pinterest are your best bet.
Neglecting the visual element of social media.
Visual is one of the biggest trends in social right now. Instagram and Pinterest have us glued to those fabulous photos and even LinkedIn is putting more focus on Slideshare. If you scan your Facebook, Google+ or Twitter profiles and don’t see loads of visual content, you are missing out on the opportunity to have your content read. With the sheer volume of content that comes across our screens each day, text becomes the blurry filler in-between great photos and quotes written on interesting backdrops. You have a great camera on your mobile device…use it. Try snapping a photo of a flower or something in your office. Now get the app, “A Beautiful Mess” and open your picture in that app (it’s available on iOS and Android platforms). You can add text to the photo or create a simple collage to share with your social audience. Your text is putting people to sleep on its own….add interest with visual content.
Thinking social media is FREE.
Sure it costs nothing to create your accounts, but to get any return on your activity, you will most likely want to set aside a budget for running custom ads on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and even Instagram. One of the biggest reasons to have a Facebook account for your business is to be able to customize and run very targeted ads that are seen, not on the right side of the page where no one dares to click, but to run promoted posts that appear right inside the newsfeed of those very specific people you want to see them. When I hear people whining that Facebook is always trying to get them to pay for their posts to be seen, I ask how much it costs to put up a billboard, a Yellow Pages ad, or a TV commercial. Marketing costs should be built into your business plan.
Deleting negative comments or not allowing comments or connections at all.
It always baffles me when I come across a Twitter account that is “PRIVATE” and it is for a business. That’s like making your website private and someone needing your permission to view your products and resources. It’s CRAY CRAY (as my daughter would say)! Facebook has a setting that basically silences your community. Fans are not able to post a question or comment. Why even have an account on SOCIAL media if you don’t want people to be SOCIAL? If you are so worried that people will write something negative about you or your brand, don’t create an account in the first place. Fix the problem that has you so worried. People will talk with you and about you, you just have to decide whether or not you are going to join the conversation. If someone does post a negative comment, your initial reaction might be to quickly delete it before anyone else sees it. Beware, a consumer who is a bit upset and posts it on your page might simply want to see if you will respond and help fix their situation. (see post, “Someone’s talking about you on Social Media”) That same consumer will become enraged when they discover they are being silenced. See my last post on how to handle feedback on social review sites.
Ignoring your community.
You spend a lot of effort trying to get people to follow you on Twitter or like your Facebook page, but what about following your fans back on Twitter, adding them to your circles on Google+ and accepting their invitations to connect on LinkedIn. Quit ignoring the very people who are showing an interest in YOU. That doesn’t mean you should auto-follow or connect with everyone but look at their profiles. If it is someone who could either be a potential customer, add value to your network, or someone who could influence others to become a customer…connect! When I see a company that has 4,000 Twitter followers and they are following 7 people, that says they are not interested in having conversations, but only in broadcasting to the world. Quit ignoring people.
Giving up too soon.
I will say it again, Social Media is a tool to build relationships. It’s like a telephone or computer. How you use it to connect and build relationships can take time. Don’t jump onto a social media site expecting customers to come walking in your door the next week (although that can certainly happen). Commit to learning how to provide value to your social community. Commit to being present, at least for a period of time each day, and be willing to change things up as you learn more and become more in tune with your social community. You will have weeks when it seems like everyone is talking about your brand and sharing your great content, and there will be weeks when you will wonder if you broke the internet…all you hear is crickets. Stay committed and stay consistent. It will pay off. Just like that telephone. It will ring more often when you use it to reach out to others and provide value.
Have you seen (or committed) other mistakes in your social media journey? Please share with us what you have experienced. Let’s learn together.
You are jolted out of bed at 11:30pm by a call from your sales manager, telling you to log onto your Facebook account, FAST, and see what’s happening on the company’s Facebook Page. With your heart pounding, you jump up and try to login. You can’t remember the password for the business page and you never created a personal account for yourself. After several attempts to login, Facebook tells you to try again in 30 minutes.
We all know that prevention is the best medicine, but like backing up our computers, or putting a lock code on our mobile devices to prevent theft, we do AFTER we have experienced a crash or theft the first time. Our agency has heard excuses like:
We have had several interns working on our social media over the years and we don’t know who set up what.
The person handling our social media got a little heated when they read the negative comment and thought they would just handle it on their own.
I created the 7 accounts because when I couldn’t remember the login info, I just created new ones.
One of our former employees set up the account but I don’t think they added anyone else on before they left.
So let’s heed the warning BEFORE something happens on your social media accounts. Here are a few preventative measures to take TODAY that will save you a trip to the cardiologist:
Have a central password document for your social media accounts, that the leadership team has access to.
This document can be kept in a private Dropbox folder, an encrypted Evernote file or an internal file that you, and the other carefully selected team members, can get to from home, office or on the road, quickly. While this seems obvious, most people do not have a central location with all the login information on their social media accounts, even for their personal accounts. Be sure to commit to keeping this document current.
Have more than one admin added to social media accounts to prevent being “locked out.”
Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus, are all set up to allow you to create a BUSINESS page and then add others to manage it. If you are the only person on an account and you get locked out, forget your password, or get hacked, there is no one else to get in and resolve the issue. Another important feature that most of these accounts have is protected access levels. ADMIN status allows you to add or remove people, whereas an EDITOR on Facebook can only add, or edit content. They could not remove you from the page. Too many companies give everyone equal access and then have an employee go rogue and remove everyone from having access to the page. On tools like Twitter where there is only a single login, you can protect yourself by using a third party app like SproutSocial or Hootsuite. You can assign specific roles to your team members from that app without them having to have the specific Twitter login.
Plan BEFORE, on who will be involved (more than one person) if a negative situation arises on your social media channels.
Discussion around how to handle negative comments is always helpful, but a written plan on who will be contacted in specific cases is even better. Can one person make the call on how to respond to a slanderous comment? Do you have a few preformatted responses to use as guides when things go wrong? If your account gets lots of customer interaction, you may want to consider customer service training for the staff handling your social media, and if you are open 24/7, be sure that social channel is also monitored round the clock. Nothing like coming in at 8:00am to a storm that started at 9pm and grew into an inferno!
Do you have a written plan? What will you do to protect your accounts? We’d love to hear your ideas, thoughts and questions in the comments below! If you need assistance managing the chaos of social marketing, contact us today.
Perhaps you have seen a tweet begin with a period and thought it was simply a slip of the finger that was not caught on Twitter.
Maybe you’ve asked, “Why do people place a period at the beginning of a tweet? Does it change who sees the content?”
Well that little dot, or other intentionally placed character, in front of a tweet play a very important role in Twitter town. Let me explain.
If I want to send a PRIVATE message to someone on Twitter, I simply hit the DIRECT MESSAGE icon (They have to be following you in order to send a DM to them).
But when I reply to someone or send a message to someone in my public Twitter stream, who sees that message depends on how the message is set up. Example:
Jana has these folks following her:
I have these folks following me:
If I want to reply to my friend Jana Axline and don’t mind if others see the message I could simply reply:
The only people who will see this tweet in their Twitter stream are those who are following BOTH me AND Jana, so only Ernie and Bert see that reply. Of course anyone who goes to my Twitter profile directly and clicks on TWEETS AND REPLIES will find it there, but it will not be in my main Twitter stream.
If I start a tweet with “RT” or a word or even a period, it moves it from the TWEETS and REPLIES into my main TWEETS and Kathleen, Mark, Tommy, Mary, Carol, Jeff AND Ernie and Bert will all see that message in their stream when they log in.
Want even more Twitter Tips for your business? Check out our helpful Twitter guidebook here:
When running the social media marketing race, it’s important to keep your head down and not compare yourself to others.
I love being in the mountains. Actually, I love being on the top of the mountains. I live in Colorado and climb the 14K foot peaks as often as I can. Unfortunately it’s a lot of work getting to the top. Sure it’s beautiful and we all know it’s the journey, not the destination that matters….or so they say!
Last weekend I did something I hadn’t done before. I completed one of those insane mud, obstacle course races where you jump over muddy walls, crawl under barbed wire through mud, pull your body through muddy dark tunnels, leap over fire (the mud coating your body prevents you from burning), and all kinds of other crazy obstacles that somehow all involved mud. Aside from the massive bruises I have all over my body this morning, I was reminded of an important lesson that applies to our work in social media management. I first learned the lesson last year as I was climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. I would be trekking along feeling great, enjoying the beautiful African scenery and then look up at the summit and feel overwhelmed with how much work we still had to do before reaching the summit (It took 5 days to reach the summit).
During this weekend’s mud race, there were several big hills in the 5k running part, and if there was one thing I wasn’t prepared for, it was running uphill. (If there were two things I wasn’t prepared for, it was running uphill and doing obstacles in mud!). My husband (who had signed us up for this crazy race) and the Schrecklet (the youngest of our four Schrecklets) were ahead of me on the hills, but I was trudging my way up feeling pretty good. Suddenly, the Schrecklet yelled, “We’re almost there. Come on” and I looked up to see that she was LYING! I wasn’t even half way to the top of the first hill. I looked at the people who were already at the top and suddenly everything became harder.
Comparing ourselves to others who are at different stages on this social marketing journey, will bring that same feeling of doom and overwhelm. Perhaps you have just started out on this social media marketing path and you are feeling strong and encouraged. Then you look up and see that person with 200,000 Twitter followers or a Facebook page with 1 million fans on it, and you become discouraged and things seem hard. We have to stop comparing ourselves to others, especially when they have brands that are completely different from our own, or they’ve been running this race a lot longer or started at a different trail head.
Here are a few tips for social marketing that will help you get to that mountaintop (and enjoy the journey a bit more as well):
Know your goals for social marketing, but keep your eyes focused on the present.
Know why you are on each social media site and who you are wanting to connect with. Each platform has can have a slightly different audience. What is your goal on each and what do you have to accomplish today to reach that goal? What specific activities will get you there? When you get distracted, put your head down and focus on these activities to stop comparing.
Understand that you will have high points and you will have low, muddy points!
Some weeks you will have more time to engage and it seems that everyone loves the content you post and they are sharing it across the web, and other times you will wonder if you broke the internet because no one has read anything you post. Keep moving forward.
Find a group of others, either in your same industry or at least in marketing, to meet regularly with and encourage one another. Even if you have to meet up virtually, you need to hear from others that you share the same challenges and successes. There are associations that meet in person monthly and there are groups that meet up via Tweet Chats or Google Hangouts. You might even start one with a group of associates you have connected with.
Stop occasionally and celebrate your successes!
It’s one thing to look up and see how far you still have to go, but when you stop and look back at how far you have come, you will feel energized. You need to remind yourself of the accomplishments you have achieved. Whether you throw a Facebook party when you hit a milestone, like 1,000 fans, you bring party hats into the office for your team to celebrate, or you call someone in your networking group to tell them that you just had to celebrate with someone over a big milestone that you have worked hard on…you need to celebrate! You will then see others who are starting where you did and you will want to high five them and shout “Have fun…don’t look up and watch out for the mud!”
I’d love to hear from you in the comments here. What do you do to keep your motivation high in this crazy social marketing business? Do you have special ways you celebrate your milestones?