You are ignoring social media. Whether you are not making the time, or worse, only doing it “when you have the time” (sound familiar?), you are causing a lot of damage to your business.
Social media is the biggest boost for your company today. Everywhere you turn, there is another report showing how effective it is. It is the best way to generate higher profits, increase brand awareness, and has the best ROI of all advertising. So why are you neglecting it?
Here is a point-by point breakdown, and what you can do about it.
You don’t exist on social media
Nothing can destroy your business like ignoring social media. Sound harsh? Imagine you are on trial after every sale, but unable to say a single word in your defense. That’s what it is like when you ignore social media, and before you think your business is different, understand that regardless of industry, customer age, or target market, statistics are not in your favor.
• Figure out where your customers are talking about your company the most and join the conversation.
• Choose one social media site and focus on it at first, otherwise you will find yourself spread too thin.
• Work on getting to know your customers, not selling your product. The goal is to become a part of the conversation, not become a spammer, which brings me to the next point.
You don’t have a social media strategy
Not having a plan with social media is the same as running a business without a business plan. You might get things done, but it takes longer, is less likely to succeed, and makes you seem unfocused and unprofessional to your customers.
• Set concrete social media goals. This goes beyond just “make more money” or “get more customers”. Take time to figure out how you want your customers to engage with your brand. Decide what you consider to be an online success (sign up for newsletter, made a purchase, visit website, etc). Make a comprehensive list.
• Determine how you are going to respond to a crisis! Bad press happens and your company needs a response plan. Figure out who will handle the crisis, what department, how it will be handled, and what you tell your followers. (Tip: Be upfront, honest, take full responsibility, and let people know how you will prevent future occurrences.)
• Figure out how much time you will be able to dedicate to your followers. You need to be online at least once a day, but it should be more if you have the time.
You don’t spend enough time on it
Possibly the worst mistake you can do is only occasionally visit your social media followers. If you start a conversation and then do not follow up for days, or even weeks, then it appears that you only care when it suits you, which does not go over well with your customers.
• Set aside a block of time every day for your social media accounts, and allow some time through the day to respond. Aim for 1-3 interactions per day with the occasional longer conversation.
• Don’t let a complaint go unanswered longer than a couple hours, even if you need to direct the customer to contact you directly.
• Use automation software sparingly. This is a trap for small business owners just starting with social media. Customers will notice quickly if you misuse automation, and will react negatively.
You are emotionally involved in social media
Social media is a conversation, and like any good conversation it is easy to become emotionally involved when it turns ugly. It is hard to remain detached when you have strong feelings, but remember, this is business. Having en emotional attachment is a quick way to waste time, and destroy your company’s brand image.
• Walk away BEFORE there is a problem. The moment you feel even slightly upset, step away. Once something is said online, it becomes impossible to remove.
• While doing social media, remember that you are working. It seems obvious, but don’t get drawn into a conversation and forget your business purposes. Remember your goals.
• Stay out of conversations that are likely to lead to debate. Mixing your personal views on any subject is not the purpose of your company’s social media account. Save that for your personal account.
You think an employee can handle your social media
Your day-to-day employees are not social media experts, not even if they spend more time online than any other activity. Social media for business is not like personal social media. You would not see someone changing a tire and ask them to rebuild your engine, so why have someone that only knows the basics handle your business’ reputation?
• Decide how you are going to handle your social media, whether it is hiring a professional, paying a company, or educating yourself.
• Don’t allow untrained people to handle your company’s reputation. Social media is fragile and unforgiving.
• Choose someone with an interest in your company’s future.
Social media is work. You have to do research, figure out customer engagement, make strategies, and more. To make matters worse, NOT doing social media is damaging to your company.
So you have two options:
Do it yourself or hire someone else, because social media exists, whether you are involved or not.
It’s time to stop killing your company, and start connecting to more customers today!