It’s 2017 - Social Media isn’t an option for your business.
Like many other people before making a first purchase at a new eCommerce store, I have a good look over their social media. Why? Because it shows me how they handle their existing customer base, how easy it is to get in touch with customer service and their reviews. Not to mention I can see the community and ethos that they have built through their marketing.
Some of these mistakes come from our own experiences here at Khaos Control, others are based on what we've seen other companies do (or not do).
1. Be on the right channel(s) for you
Being in the 'right place' for your brand is vital; there’s no point launching handmade jewellery aimed at teenagers on LinkedIn when Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat exist. Examing your demographics and users seems obvious but is frequently passed by.
Stretching yourself over too many channels is a common mistake, especially if you’re starting out for the first time. Covering six or seven channels badly will not reflect well on you or your business. Getting established on one or two before branching out will be more effective both with regards to immediate results and in the long term.
Once processes have been established to take care of your initial channels, you’ll be able to explore others. Be wary of joining newly launched channels, without the audience there you may be putting out quality content to no one.
Being on the right channels doesn’t just mean being in the right place, but also in the right amount of places that you can sustainably manage.
2. Automation isn’t a dirty word
When you use social media yourself, you don’t think of automating it. You get good responses and everything feels organic and natural - so automating is cheating, right? Wrong.
Those same posts can be set up ahead of time in applications like Buffer, Tweetdeck and Hootsuit to fill in the majority of your content. These applications make sure that your different channels are posted to as frequently as your presence requires.
It means that if a meeting’s run late, you’ve lost track of time, or just can’t write something pithy at a moment’s notice this is already taken of. Creating a bank of posts means that you can structure what and when you post, and get the majority of posts prepared and on the channels quickly. However, it doesn’t mean you can switch off from you channels completely.
Automation is a key way of using social media channels effectively - but it doesn’t mean you can ignore them completely.
3. Interactions and how they reflect on you
On Twitter - and other platforms - following back always looks to be a guaranteed way of developing your reach, but it doesn’t always work out. It’s not uncommon for people to unfollow once you’ve reciprocated, I’ve experienced both on Twitter and Instagram. It’s annoying and can ruin the networking aspect of many of the channels. There are many applications that help monitor these, personally I prefer using Twitter itself, by reviewing your ‘Following’ page. By looking at Twitter directly you get a better overview of the relationship.
A frequently missed part of following people is that who you follow reflects on you, and who you’ll be suggested to. Following back a sketchy user, who’s entire timeline is filled with spam posts really isn’t worth it. Instead cultivate like minded people to build yourself up, and follow my next point.
Part of being on social media for a business is showing that you’re human by interacting with the public. Whether it’s gracefully accepting and acting on criticism or handling genuine enquiries, you can change customers' (and potential customers') perception of you. It may be tempting to try and join the Clapback Queen ranks of accounts like @Wendys on Twitter but unless you’re a giant fast food restaurant you may not survive the burns.
As in the real world, your actions will reflect on you.
4. Sugar can rot your social media teeth
I recently read a blog post about how a Social Media Manager was over looked for a job for a cheaper alternative. A month later she decided to see how the social media of a drug rehabilitation centre was being run, and if she could pick up any tips with how they were doing it. The feed was full of irrelevant vague positive self-help phases, most of which couldn’t be applied to drug rehabilitation. Her point, which I agree with, is simply that sharing positive message should be a supplementary part of a social media plan - not all of it.
If your stream is dominated by saccharine sweet vague statements, what are you actually conveying? Candy floss? Instead use quotes from relevant people.
Don’t be afraid to diversify what you are sharing, from GIFs to polls. The worst that will happen is deleting something that really didn’t hit the right cord. Having a social media plan, that is under periodical review, is essential.
Like your diet, your social media needs to be varied and not full of sugar!
5. The social marmite – hashtags
You either love them or hate them, it’s hard to find someone in the middle ground.
No matter your opinion, you need to use them. Unless you're MailChimp.
They’re one of the few things on the internet that have stuck to the purpose that they were created for. Hashtags sort and help pick out posts from the masses which is why they’re invaluable, both to you and who you’re aiming to contact.
But like Marmite you need to use it sparingly. Spreading lashings of hashtags on a post makes it sickly and unbearable. Anything with more than three hashtags needs to be re-examined, better it be missed by a few people than avoided by more because it looks spammy.
It’s easier to add more marmite than remove it.
6. Don’t 404 your (potential) customers
By putting non-functioning links to or from your social media you are driving away generations of potential customers.
Earlier this year I did an audit of our clients’ social media profiles, so that we can communicate better with our user-base. I was surprised about the number of links from professional websites that either 404’d (ie went nowhere) or just linked around to the website’s front page. It was one of the major factors that inspired me to write this piece.
To a lesser extent this applies to links from social media to your products or blog posts, using a simple link shortener like bit.ly or goo.gl. Not only do these help you make shorter easier to use links (great for Twitter) but they keep track of their usage and allow you to update them going forward and avoid 404s.
Put simply- CHECK YOUR LINKS!!!
7. Keep it up to date
If the last post on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter was back in 2009 then you’re not going to be impressing anyone. If anything you’ll be turning them away. It’s the internet equivalent of having an old, rusty, car as an ornament in your front garden. The same goes for seasonal graphics and images, you wouldn’t still have your Christmas tree up in March so why is there one on your company’s LinkedIn profile picture?
Like most things, you start off starry eyed with good intentions - but in order to sustain your output you need to be organised. Work out what you can realistically do. There’s a wide array of templates and applications that help you plan ahead and automate the posts. If you are going to change profile and banner images for a seasonal event, put a reminder down to change the back.
Don’t be the house with Christmas lights still up in March with a decomposing car in the front garden.
It boils down to communication and being organised- both are major features of business life. If your social media isn’t the only place that could do with a hand maybe your next step should be your business management systems?
In our Cloud ERP, not only can you organise things like your customer communications within a CRM, but also actions and reminders to remind you when things need posting, updating or removing.
All this linked in with stock levels and reports that can map out potential campaigns. Being a Cloud ERP it also looks after the other aspects of business life, meaning your business has a central wealth of knowledge.
Sounds like something you need? Sign up for a FREE DEMO of our ERP on the Go today.
Header Image with thanks to Deadly Thought (www.deadlythought.com).
Please Note: This article was edited on 21/02/2018 to reflect Khaos Control Cloud's updated process re: trials.