Being a business owner requires a lot of expertise in a lot of different areas. And if things weren’t hard enough, to market your business successfully these days, social media is one of those areas.
The good news?
Vivial is always trying to find ways to make your life easier. Below you’ll find a collection of the top social media mistakes that small businesses make — and how you can avoid them.
If you read these mistakes and realize you are guilty of a few, don’t be upset! Social media is constantly evolving and so are the audiences who use it; your faux pas will most likely be forgotten once you hit your stride on social media. Not to mention the fact that the social media mistakes you made in the past can help you refine your strategy moving forward.
- Social Media Mistake #1: One-way conversations
- Solution: Go to the cocktail party
- Social Media Mistake #2: Not posting consistently
- Solution: Create a posting plan
- Social Media Mistake #3: Not having a strategy for social media
- Solution: Spend 15 minutes on a strategy
- Social Media Mistake #4: Not responding kindly to negative reviews/posts
- Solution: Create a review response guide
- Social Media Mistake #5: Ignoring hashtag trends
- Solution: Do some (quick) hashtag research
Social Media Mistake #1: One-way conversations
Many social media novices see networks as just another way to broadcast their sales promotions, products and services to customers. They don’t have two-way conversations that social media audiences are accustomed to, rather they replicate what would be a headline in an ad and speak at the customer.
Social media users don’t engage with businesses who speak at them, they engage with ones that have a conversation with them.
Solution: Go to the cocktail party
Social media gives you the opportunity to connect in real-time with potential consumers or current customers. If one of these people came up to you at your business you wouldn’t just talk to them about current sales and offerings, you would try to understand their needs so you can provide the best product and service for them. You should replicate this same mindset on social media.
Treat social networks as a cocktail party: connect with people in an easy-going manner where you talk more informally (and can subtly brag about your amazing business, too).
Social Media Mistake #2: Not posting consistently
Posting and monitoring social networks when it comes across your mind – which could be daily, weekly or once a month – is a surefire way not to gain any traction through social media.
Solution: Create a posting plan
Like most other things, social media needs a plan if you don’t want it to turn into an out-of-control mess.
Creating a posting plan will keep your social accounts active, your business open to conversations with consumers, and remind you to monitor your social accounts.
With Vivial’s Social Inbox, included in the Vivial Marketing Platform, it’s incredibly easy. In addition to letting you schedule social posts to all the major social networks, it also helps you monitor engagement and reviews in an easy-to-use “to-do” list — so you always know what needs to be tackled.
Not sure how often to post?
We have the best practices for small business to give you a place to start.
Creating social media profiles without tactics or goals that support your larger marketing strategy is akin to getting into a car and hitting the gas without knowing where you’re going.
Solution: Spend 15 minutes on a strategy
You know your small business should be on social media, great start!
The next step is to create a social media strategy, which consists of:
- A mission
- Tactics to fulfill your strategy
You already have an idea of what you want to accomplish on social media or you wouldn’t have created profiles at all. In just 15 minutes you can establish your mission, goals and tactics to create an actionable social media strategy. If you need extra guidance, check out our article How to Create a Social Media Strategy Template.
Social Media Mistake #4: Not responding kindly to negative reviews/posts
When negative reviews/posts show up about your business online, most people either choose to ignore them or respond with the same negativity and emotion as the original poster.
Solution: Create a review response guide
When negative comments are said about your small business it’s easy to react in kind, using that same emotion to defend your business as it was seemingly attacked with. However, negative emotion doesn’t help attract more people to your business in a good way — it simply triggers a ripple effect and increases the likelihood that others will share them.
While positive reviews are essential, customers actually trust businesses that have a few negative reviews more because it brings credibility to the reviews. After all, nobody’s perfect.
There is no winner if you choose to argue with the reviewer. Knowing how to handle negative reviews and posts before they occur is key. Reading negative comments with a rational mindset will help you respond in a respectful manner and minimize any damage that the reviewer has done.
We recommend our review response formula which walks through the actions you need to take to have a positive outcome from a negative review:
- Acknowledge the review and the feelings of the customer. Don’t be dismissive of their experience, but rather apologize for it.
- Ask to discuss things further away from the public eye (in email or on the phone).
- Resolve the case which may entail just apologizing or offering a reimbursement in some way (we don’t recommend this most of the time, but some cases it may be warranted).
Social Media Mistake #5: Ignoring hashtag trends
Depending on the network, hashtags can be a powerful way to get in front of the right people. So not using hashtags is a mistake – but overusing, or using the wrong hashtags, can be even worse.
Solution: Do some (quick) hashtag research
Networks like Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter use hashtags to compile content on a specific subject. If you’re confused about hashtags, think about them as the equivalent of a keyword search.
By completely ignoring the use of hashtags, you aren’t maximizing your potential exposure and not connecting with as many people on social media as you potentially could. However, if you use too many hashtags, your social posts may be viewed as disorganized, difficult to read, or even spammy – and also suffer from decreased exposure.
But you don’t need to just know how to use hashtags, but which hashtags are appropriate to your message.
Never jump on a hashtag simply because it’s trending.
You may want to jump onto a trend (which is a great idea to gain more exposure), but if you don’t do a quick search to see what that topic is actually about, you could be directing the wrong type of attention to your business. There have been many examples of companies trying to gain exposure by using a trending hashtag that ended up in bad taste because they didn’t do their due diligence beforehand.
The social media mistakes that we’ve listed here are faux pas that any business — large or small — could make.
But the good news is that all it takes are a few minor changes to your social media plan to see a big impact on engagement with your business.
Looking for a little help with your social media plan? Contact Vivial today.