Like us! Become our Tweep and we’ll promise to “love you long time!” Every small business is navigating the social media space – some more successfully than others. Social media isn’t an exact science.
Admittedly, at one time or another, we’ve all made rookie mistakes while building a social media presence. But if you want to grow your small business, social media marketing is a viable and essential tool.
The Power of Purpose Driven Social Media
“When I launched my business, I made the decision to rely mainly on social media as my advertising platform,” said Mari Luangrath, founder of Foiled Cupcakes, a Chicago based exclusive online cupcake order and personal delivery service.
“Doing so was a huge risk that definitely paid off. A year ago, no one had heard of us and we have spent zero dollars on advertising or brand awareness campaigns. We’ve surpassed our initial revenue target numbers by over 600 percent,” said Luangrath. Social media is an experiment that can build or bust a brand.
Eight Reasons Why We Love to Unlike Your Brand
While some small businesses rely heavily on social media performance, others utilize it as a testing environment to supplement various marketing efforts. Whatever the case may be, we can all learn from the success and mistakes of others, shorten learning curves and master our social acumen.
Every entrepreneur’s goal should be to get it right when it comes to social media, as soon as possible. With this in mind, we’ve curated some insights and perspectives from social media experts, entrepreneurs and industry specialists on the key mistakes your small business makes and why we haven’t liked you lately.
1. Create relationships, not spam
I tweet a lot, sometimes up to 40 times in one day. I say hello, I thank people. I tweet about events and introduce people. One of the biggest mistakes that small businesses make when undertaking their own social media campaign is to spam. You have to make yourself and your product relevant by creating relationships.
You can politely find ways to “invade” conversations that interest you. A lot of times, I’ll be chatting about shoes and eventually, someone might comment or ask about the avatar I use of Foiled Cupcakes. It gives me a way in to promote myself and my business, without pushing it in their faces, which will likely turn them off immediately.
–– Mari Luangrath, Founder of @FoiledCupcakes
2. Broadcasting is for radio, not social media
As a 14-year-old social media speaker and consultant, I feel that the biggest mistake entrepreneurs make when using social media is a lack of engagement. They talk one-way, and simply broadcast.
They don’t engage with two-way conversations, and use the 80/20 rule – 80% of social media is engagement, no self-promotion and while 20% is all for you, whether that be some sort of promotion or with helpful relevant, useful content to post.
–– Lane Sutton, Founder of @KidCritic
3. Type less, and listen more
Most small business owners jump into social media without a complete understanding and no plan. Most importantly, they disregard the power of listening in social media.
Do preliminary keyword research and set up a listening dashboard with Google Reader or Netvibes. Monitor brand terms and industry related terms. This will allow you to keep track of conversations that are happening about your brand directly and indirectly (audience or industry related).
Pay attention to needs and fulfill them by jumping into the conversation at the right moment.
–– Nick Robinson, Director of Client Services for @Social_Media_HQ
4. Create experiences people will appreciate
Don’t overly post on Facebook. It’s annoying. Don’t send multiple DMs on Twitter. Don’t just blast announcements about your product on a daily basis, without new information.
Don’t invite me to one of your events if there’s nothing in it for me.
–– Dwayne W. Waite Jr., President and Principal at @CharlotteAgency
5. Develop a strategy and learn from the best
It’s important to develop your strategy and learn some best practices so that you can begin to build followers and engage your customers right away. If you decide to target your customers through Twitter, come up with your strategy and study how the best brands do it.
Will your Twitter account be used primarily as a discount venue? Check out @DellOutlet. Will you use it to expand your customer service? See @BlackBerryHelp. Will you use Twitter for brand awareness to remind your customers of your brand through entertainment? Follow @Skittles.
–– Emily Widle Pegasus, Founder of @PegasusLighting
6. Provide value, not gimmicks
One of the largest mistakes, I see repeatedly, is what I call the “sales push.” Sure, social media is a great—not to mention free— way to promote your company. However, it should never be used to directly sell products or services.
Social media is not a space for free advertisement, it’s more than that. It is a place to develop business relationships organically. Business social media should be used to provide value to your clients, not sell them on your latest gimmick.
–– Alexandra Guzik at @OneSocialMedia
7. Stop directing people to your website
Stop trying to get people off of Facebook and on to your web site. Facebook users don’t generally want to leave Facebook to visit another site.
There’s an increasing amount of functionality and activity that can happen on a brand’s FB page. Let it happen there, and give people the opportunity to share what they’ve done with their friends inside of Facebook.
–– Andy Smith, Principal of Vonavona Ventures, Co-author of The Dragon Fly Effect, @kabbenbock
8. Think before you tweet
A common social media flaw amongst young entrepreneurs is not taking into consideration the outside perception they create through their own personal social media presence.
Entrepreneurs need to be mindful of and aware of how a tweet or status updates look from an outside perspective. Entrepreneurs act as ambassadors for their brands.
It is important to realize that every piece of content you project online may not always be perceived in the way which you intended that content to be understood.
–– Lauren Poeta, @MaidenMedia
What have you learned while navigating your favorite social media platforms? Share your best practices and lessons learned with us in the comments section below.
© YFS Magazine. All Rights Reserved. Copying prohibited. All material is protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this material is prohibited. Sharing of this material under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International terms, listed here, is permitted.