What NOT to do With Social Media

12 Dec

Small business owners and their employees have always been busy—busy getting the job done, busy following up on leads, busy managing employees, busy figuring out how to fit time with their families into already crowded calendars. Added to everything else, you’re increasingly feeling the pressure to create and maintain an online social presence. Social media is important for businesses; however, we want you to know how not to proceed. Here’s our list of often-heard statements and logic in refuting them:

    1. You need to be on every social network.
      There’s not enough time in the day to be on each social network! As with any media, knowing your target audience will drive the decision on whether to engage on (#1) Facebook with 750 million; (#3) LinkedIn with 110 million; (#11) CafeMom with 12.5 million; (#13) Meetup with 7.5 million unique monthly visitors* or any of dozens of other sites. 

    1. Social media is completely free.
      Although creating an account and uploading your business information doesn’t cost anything, you’ll want to pay a professional to design a custom page. And posting messages isn’t free unless your time is worth nothing. Social media is like a friendship; the more effort you put into it, the more rewarding it becomes.

    1. All you need is social media.
      I’ve had potential clients ask why they should invest in a website when they can be on Facebook for free. If you wouldn’t build your home on property that you don’t own, why would you build your online business presence on a site you have no real control over?

    1. You can outsource your social media or let an intern manage it.
      Whether you’re General Motors or the pizza guy down the street, social media is your opportunity to connect with followers in a personal way. Include photos, speak in your own voice—and inject some humor and insights. It’s difficult for someone not intimately involved with your business to sound knowledgeable and authentic.

    1. You should only post messages about your company.
      Like the loud woman at a party who talks incessantly about herself, posting only messages that are company-related quickly gets boring! A good rule to follow is that 20 percent of your posts can be company/sales-related and the other 80 percent should inform and entertain your followers.

    1. Don’t let your employees use social media.
      You can also ask the wind not to blow; you can’t keep your employees off of social media. Instead, ask them to “use good judgment” as they connect with their families, friends and associates.

    1. You shouldn’t ask people to comment, follow, or retweet you.
      Of course you should. Just not for everything you post.

    1. Don’t respond to negative comments/Disable comments to avoid negative comments/Delete negative comments.
      Immediately address a negative comment with an explanation and, if needed, an apology. By being upfront and transparent you can sometimes turn a disgruntled customer into an appreciative one. If you disable comments, you’re taking away the interactive qualities that make social media attractive to so many. And, because of screen shots and smart phones, you can’t assume a negative comment will go away by hitting delete.

    1. Respond to every negative comment.
      Unlike a legitimate negative comment or complaint, you may someday be harassed by a “troll” whose intent is to stir up trouble. If this is the case, don’t try to win.

  1. You don’t need a strategy for social media.
    Social media is another tool in your marketing kit. Thinking through what you want to accomplish with it requires a plan.Contact Julie to discuss ways that social media can work for your business.

*Numbers are from ebizmba.com/articles/social-networking-websites.

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