Today, we’re going to talk about social media.
Recently, I’ve had to look at a lot of wedding websites for a project I’m working on with a client. And while many of these websites are lovely — and reading about gorgeous wedding venues is kind of the best thing ever — I’ve seen a lot of these small businesses making a lot of social media mistakes. Specifically, I see the same silly, easy-to-avoid mistakes happening over and over.
And I get it, believe me.When dealing with a new marketing medium, it can be easy to let common sense go out the window.
You get overwhelmed. You get a little panicky. You assume things are more complicated than they are.
But here’s the thing: 8 out of 10 times, they’re not.
I’m not going to talk about “reaching out” and “sharing positively” and “creating buzz.” Because those are seriously unhelpful phrases that, to most of us, don’t mean anything. When it comes to leveraging your social media accounts, you don’t need more marketing babble, you need real, easy to understand, I’ve-seen-this-and-it’s-not-a-good-idea advice.
So that’s exactly what I’m going to share today.
There are a lot of nuances to using social media. But avoiding these mistakes can help every small business get the best possible results from their social accounts.
1. Not linking your social media accounts on your website
This one sounds like a no-brainer, I know. But do me a favor — check your website and see if you have buttons or links to all your business social media accounts. Because as I’ve discovered, a lot of websites don’t.
The most common reason that this happens is because business owners create new social media profiles, then forget to add them to the website. Which ends up meaning that, as far as your customers are concerned, you don’t have social media accounts at all. You are wasting your time and effort, and wasting time is the worst, amiright?
If you have social media accounts for your business, make sure all of them are linked from your website in easy-to-find places, like a header, a footer, or a contact page.
2. Choosing follower quantity over follower quality
You know those companies that promise to get you followers for less than a penny each? Me too. And you know what? I don’t like them.
I’ve worked with clients who used these companies and end up with thousands of followers. Then those same clients wonder why no one ever interacts with the things they post. The answer? It’s because they have thousands of followers who don’t care about their business or product. Probably a lot of them aren’t even real people.
Yes, having lots of followers looks impressive. But they need to be people who are actually interested in your products, services, ethos, or style. They need to care about your business. They need to be quality. Because 100 engaged, excited followers do a lot more for your brand than 1000 followers who never pay any attention to you.
If you are attempting to grow your social media following for your business accounts, focusing on attracting quality over quantity.
3. Making your business accounts private
These days, I see this the most with Twitter and Instagram. Yes, these accounts can be set to private. But that’s a feature intended for use on personal accounts, not business ones.
Picture a customer visiting your website and noticing that you have an Instagram button. Hey, they think, I love Instagram! I’m on there all the time. I’ll check it out. They click over, and what comes up? “This user is private. Request to follow.”
Do you think they’re going to click that button and ask to be added? Nope. They’re going to think, “That’s really annoying” and move on with their life. You just lost a follower and the chance to keep your business fresh in their minds. And yeah, that’s bad.
If you have social media accounts for your business, make sure they are open to the public and can be followed with a single click.
4. Not knowing how social media works
If social media is a foreign world to you, it’s a good idea to hire someone with more experience to handle your accounts. But that doesn’t mean you can skip learning about them altogether.
You still need to know how each platform works. You need to understand how to interact with customers there, and what types of content each account is for sharing.
You need to have a sense of how organic reach versus paid reach works and whether or not it’s worth spending money on promotional posts. You need to know what the home feed is, and how things are shared, and the difference between a like and a follow. (And if that all sounds like utter gibberish to you, let me know — I can catch you up to speed!)
Well, how else are you going to know if your social media manager is doing a good job? How are you going to talk about results? How else are you going to know which platforms are worth your time or money?
Heck, if you don’t know anything about your social media accounts, what are you going to do if the person you hired gets sick or leaves or closes up shop and you’re stuck running things on your own for a few days or weeks? Hiring someone to manage your social media accounts doesn’t mean you can forget about them entirely.
Like any part of your business, you need to have a working understanding of how your social media platforms work, even if you hire someone to manage them.
5. Not trusting your social media manager
On the flip side of that coin, if you hire someone to manage your social media, listen to what they have to say!
Hiring someone to manage part of your business shouldn’t just be about saving yourself the time and hassle of doing those things yourself. You should hire the person whose expertise and experience (or ability to figure new things out quickly) you trust. You aren’t just paying for time — you are paying for knowledge.
Take advantage of that knowledge. Learn why it’s important to do things certain ways. Explain your goals and ask how they think you can reach them. And if they do something a certain way, trust that there’s a reason behind it and that they know what they’re doing.
If you hire someone to manage social media for your business, it should be someone whose skill and experience you trust. Otherwise, why are you hiring them in the first place?
Have any questions about social media best practices? Let me know — I’m happy to answer!