While February 2nd is the day we find out if we’ll get 6 more weeks of winter or see warmer days ahead (we can’t believe it’s just around the corner!), it’s also a good day to watch the classic Bill Murray film of the same name, Groundhog Day. A day he repeats over and over again until he finally gets it right.
If only digital marketing could be the same way, especially when it comes to the fast-paced world of social media. For a professional service business, just getting on social media can seem like a stretch (though we guarantee it’s not), but making sure you’re doing everything right can feel overwhelming.
So you don’t have to live your Groundhog Day mistakes over and over again until you can figure out how to do it right, we’ve laid out the most common professional services social media marketing mistakes and how to correct them – so even if the groundhog sees it’s shadow, it won’t be leaving you out in the cold with no engagement on social.
Mistake #1: Not getting in the game
When it comes to professional services, many businesses have trouble understanding how social media can work to grow their business, but avoiding social media entirely can be a costly mistake. You’re letting your business miss out on finding and engaging with potential customers by not creating a strong digital presence where your audience is spending time online.
So, while Snapchat may not be a great fit for a tax firm, there are networks that work well to support social media marketing for professional services. Twitter, for example, can be a great place to share #taxtips and connect with people who need help. The best way to begin your social media strategy is to focus on the top networks that your potential customers are already using: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Mistake #2: Not considering your audience
It might seem obvious, but the only way to have engagement on social media is to actually go ahead and interact with your audience. Similar to going to a cocktail party, if you sit in a corner and don’t try to talk to people, you most likely won’t end up talking to anyone. If you talk to someone and dominate the conversation, never ask a question (or, let them get a word in edgewise!), people won’t want to talk to you. But if you play the crowd, ask questions, have a host of topics up your sleeve, you can be the life of the party. Your social profiles need to reflect this cocktail party persona. It takes more than just signing up and creating a profile – you have to go out there and engage – in the right way.
However… you need to do this in a genuine and natural way – authenticity is the name of the game on social media. If you try to take shortcuts to being the “social butterfly” online right away, you end up hurting yourself in the long run.
One example of this is buying Twitter followers. While building a following takes time – be patient. Buying followers can leave you with an unengaged audience that reflects poorly on you. The best route is to slowly and organically grow an audience of people interested in your business.
Another factor to consider is the content of your posts. Be sure to consider your audience and what they would find value in, and how that post reflects on your company. If a law office is regularly posting crazy memes and comics, people may not want to trust them with their important legal matters. The best advice is to test posts with your audience and see how they react and engage. You may find that a lawyer comic would be welcome every now and then, but it will likely do better for your brand when it is mixed in with more informative content on which your company is an expert.
Mistake #3: Not considering reposts and retweets
Quickly sharing and retweeting content is an easy way to make sure your social profiles are active, but the easiest or fastest route isn’t always the best one.
We’re not saying that all of your content on social needs to be original content – retweets, reposts and shares are an important component of a robust professional services business’ social media strategy – but you need to know what you’re sharing. Don’t fall into the trap of retweeting or sharing an article based on its title, only to find out later that it was written by a competitor, or emphasizes a point that you’re business doesn’t agree with or doesn’t want to be associated with.
We recommend reading the content you share and pulling out some key takeaways to append to your post. This way you are sure of what you’re sharing and are adding unique value to a retweet that’s relevant for your audience.
Mistake #4: Not switching up your strategy
Once again, the easiest option is not necessarily the best option and, in this case, having a one-size-fits-all posting plan across all networks is not the best way to execute your social media posting strategy. While it’s certainly a greater level of effort to break down historical posts to determine unique successes on each platform, it will serve you best to have a clear and separate plan for managing your profiles on different platforms. What you do and say (and how frequently) will be quite different from your actions on LinkedIn.
However, if you don’t have the time or the history to find how your specific business should differentiate your social messaging, here are some quick rules to follow:
- Don’t use hashtags on LinkedIn
- Don’t automatically post from one social network to another
- Don’t use Twitter for long messages, 140 characters is your max!
- Don’t over post on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+
- Don’t post too infrequently on Twitter
While these rules don’t cover every potential blunder of not having a specific strategy for each platform, they will help you from making the most common mistakes.
Mistake #5: Not establishing metrics
You wouldn’t pay for traditional advertising and then not expect to receive analytics on how well your ads performed, so don’t treat social media that way! Digital marketing technology has made excellent tools available to help you measure the return on your marketing investment. You may not be paying to have profiles on the different networks (although, we highly recommend that you invest in paid social media tactics), but you are spending your time to manage the accounts and time is money.
Useful metrics to track include mentions, social shares, social media traffic to your website, number of followers/fans, number of comments/direct messages and number of likes. These may not be the most specific to every business strategy, but they can get you to see what’s working and not for your professional services social media efforts. Most top social media networks include insights and analytics, but the best way to monitor the success of your professional services social media marketing is to use a robust platform such as Vivial.
Stop repeating these professional services social media mistakes and move past groundhog day with a successful strategy. You don’t need to take Bill Murray’s route and repeat your days over again to start connecting with potential clients quickly and easily on social media, start making the most of a chilly season, today.
Make social media management easy by using Vivial, where you can schedule social posts to major networks and monitor the engagement you get so you never miss a potential conversation with a client! Check it out today.