A presence on social media is hugely important for new businesses. It’s one of the most effective, least costly ways to connect with fans and generate new leads. As a result, it makes sense to devise a social media strategy specific to the business’ niche. Plans advocate for consistency and clarity, which are two aspects of popular social media pages. Still, all this premeditation can result in missteps, including the common mistakes that businesses make on social media below:
Setting Unrealistic Expectations
Many businesses assume that a mere presence on social media is bound to result in a significant influx of leads and user engagement. In fact, there are social media business accounts that update daily and play it safe, yet fail to attain much of a following beyond their pre-existing fans. Social media plans should be designed to cater to new leads, not just pre-existent clients. Yet even with a solid plan for both audiences, businesses need to be patient and expect gradual results. Success will not happen overnight.
Hiring the Wrong Person
It’s common for businesses run by older, less tech-savvy individuals to consider hiring someone younger to handle social media. The thing is, a whiz kid who has thousands of Facebook fans isn’t necessarily equipped to handle a business social media account just based on his personal credentials alone. Business social media strategies are vastly different than how one behaves with friends on social media. When hiring someone to handle social media, be sure they have prior experience and success promoting a business, not just their friend’s band or their own profile.
Working on Social Media Sporadically
A shiny new Facebook page is great, but it’s of little use to a business if it’s not updated on a consistent basis. To ensure that your social media accounts are updated continually, set time aside each day to brainstorm and/or produce content for them. 10-20 minutes per day for each social media account – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. – is practical and realistic. For example, a direct lending and investing company like UB Solutions could devote different times to each social network, with lengthier finance reports posted on Facebook and quick industry blurbs posted on Twitter.
Spamming Other Social Media Pages
Do not bother posting about your business on a social media account that isn’t yours. It will come across as desperate spam, giving your business negative press as opposed to positive press. Negative press is worse than no press at all. Instead, rely on engaging social media posts to encourage word-of-mouth and viral forms of spreading brand recognition. As social media spam continues to increase, users are becoming even more aware of what it looks like.
Too Much Self-Promotion
Similar to spam, endless self-promotion – even on your own social media accounts – comes across as self-absorbed and boring. For every post or two about your own business, post an article or photo that is relevant to the industry, or even a local event. While it is true that users are following your business on social media because they interested in it, that doesn’t mean they want to hear about the business itself all the time, instead of the industry, in every single post.
Overall, a quality social media campaign for businesses involves setting realistic expectations, collaborating with experienced social media marketers, updating consistently and avoiding rampant spam and self-promotion. If businesses avoid the common mistakes above, they are already ahead of many other new businesses that make these mistakes over and over again. A successful social media plan is entirely possible; businesses just need to exercise patience and caution.
Scott Huntington is a writer, reporter, and social media marketer. Follow Scott at @SMHuntington