Putting the Social Back in Social Media for Business

— February 27, 2018

Putting the Social Back in Social Media for Business

One of the most important things any brand can remember is that while social media is a marketing tool, it really needs to remain social. It’s people talking to other people.

If you’re finding your engagement low on social media, before you get too frustrated and throw in the towel, have a look at some of the most common mistakes brands make on social media to see if you can turn things around.

Common mistake: Only selling

A one-sided conversation is pretty boring if you’re on the receiving end and, if you’re being honest, you’re more likely to run out of things to say if you’re not allowing a conversation to progress between two people. The same can be said for social media. If you are constantly talking about yourself through a continuous hard sell of your products/services, your target audience will quickly lose interest. It’s not very authentic if all you do is talk about yourself.

Solution: Develop your content strategy with engagement in mind. If you set out to engage people in a more meaningful way, you will find that your loyal brand community will grow as you make connections. Two things to consider are:

  • Initiatives that utilize user-generated content – your audience will appreciate that you are taking notice of them.
  • Using curated content from other sources other than your own blog and materials every-so-often – this also gives you a chance to connect with others on social media by tagging them in your posts.

Common mistake: Ignoring comments

Brands ignore a staggering 89% of inquiries on social media. That’s a lot of customer inquiries that are going unanswered. Often, with small business owners or small marketing teams (AKA one person who is running the show), it can be easy to let things slip through the cracks. But while you are busy running other aspects of your business, your community will go elsewhere if they feel you don’t value them. Studies show that 70% of people are more likely to stick with a brand if they respond on social media (and not with a copy and paste response!).

Solution: Social media is all about connection and dialogue, so connect and continue the dialogue. Whether on purpose or not, you should never leave a comment unanswered, even if it is just to react to it by liking it or responding with an emoji. If you’re having trouble keeping on top of it, schedule 15 minutes every day to sit down with your online community and answer any questions or comments that have come up. It will start to feel like a habit after a while.

Common mistake: Not providing value

When you’re tired, do you ever feel like you don’t accomplish quite as much as when you are refreshed and feeling 100%? Your social media content is the same. If you are just posting for the sake of posting because you need content up there with little regard for what that content is, then it’s likely not going to attract the audience you had intended. You’ll get a meh response.

Solution: Remember, you are on social media for the benefit of your customers, which means you should be posting about things they want to hear about. Keep up on the trends within your industry and listen for questions that come up frequently about your products/service. You should be addressing those topics to provide value to your community. You might even try asking them what they want to hear about.

Common mistake: Going for quantity over quality

You see other brands on social media that have thousands of followers and you want that for yourself. Before you know it, that becomes the most important thing about your social media strategy. You might even fall into the trap of buying your followers because having a large number is that important to you. Your number of followers means nothing if they aren’t converting into customers and if your overall engagement is low. More isn’t always better. If your goal is merely to gain more followers on social media, you’re doing it wrong.

Solution: Focus on building a community, not an audience. If you have a highly engaged community on social media, it’s not going to matter as much if the number fluctuates a bit. You will notice an upward steady growth trend in your following, your engagement, and your revenues. The more engaged your community is, the more likely they are to actually buy into what it is you’re selling. Focus on connecting with your individual community members to create meaningful dialogue. It will keep you top of mind when it comes referrals and purchasing products in your category.

Common mistake: Wrong place, wrong time

You set up your social media platforms based on their popularity and you are putting out content regularly, but the strategy just isn’t getting any traction… at all. Have you considered that your target audience doesn’t use the platforms you chose? If your target audience isn’t on a specific platform, why are you?

Solution: Do your research before starting any marketing strategy. In terms of your social media, figure out on which platforms your target audience likes to interact with brands. It can be as simple as looking at what your competitors are doing, but also just looking at general trends. If you are a B2B business, some of the more consumer-focused platforms likely don’t make sense, but LinkedIn is perfect.

As you are building or trouble-shooting your social media strategy, keep these common mistakes in the back of your head. Remember that you should be having fun with your social media strategy because it is all about building a brand community of people.

A version of this article was originally published to the SongBird Marketing Communications Blog.

Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community

Author: Candace Huntly

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