The only thing worse than not having a social media presence at all is having an online presence that poorly reflects your business. The goal of a social media strategy for small businesses is to increase brand awareness and, ultimately, make money. If your social presence fits any of the below points, we encourage you to take a step back and ask a friend, colleague, or employee for a second opinion. Below are seven mistakes we see small businesses making on social. Take note!
As a small business owner, frustrations can easily pile up. Your staff is short during the busy season once again, the mailman forgot to pick up your package and an order will be late, or maybe you have just worked yet another 12+ hour day and need a day OFF. We get it (and we’ve been there!) But the absolute last thing any customer ever wants to see, is you using your business’ social media profiles as a way to get something off your chest. It’s unprofessional and will make customers seem like their business would is not wanted. If you need to chat about it with other small business owners, we suggest writing it all down or joining a closed Facebook group where you are among your peers.
One of the most common, and unsightly, mistakes that small businesses make, is the use of hashtags. From not using any at all to using them all of the time, in all of the wrong ways (like #hashtagging #every #word #in #a #post.) to using a trending hashtag that has nothing to do with your post or business. The best rule of thumb is to never use more than two in any post (hide your other ones in the comments for Instagram). You really don’t need them on Facebook. Make sure they are relevant, and popular by giving the hashtag a quick search before using it.
The Wind in Your Sails with No Direction
Yes, we all know that we should be posting on social media more, but what exactly do we post? When we are faced with the dilemma of knowing we should be doing ‘more’, but have no concrete ideas on what ‘more’ is, we sometimes stumble into all-over-the-place territory. You know what we are talking about. That little shop that talks about their Christmas sale, but also their niece’s second birthday, what they had for dinner and their cousin’s GoFundMe page. It’s great to show personality and variety, but there is a limit. Our tip for staying on brand, and in the right direction, is to write out the three main purposes of your social media and your business’ mission statement on a post-it note. Place it above your desk. When in doubt, take a quick glance and think does what you are about to post fit into these three goals? Does it relate to your mission statement? No? Save it for your personal profile and stay on track for your business.
***ANNOUNCEMENT*** WRITING IN ALL CAPS, 💘OR 🐝OVER💋USING 🙈EMOJIS🔥IS DISTRACTING.👭If you feel like you’re the only one formatting your posts in a certain way, it’s time to talk. We love a bit of personality & standing out from the crowd, but leave the constant all caps, asterisks and tildes in the past with Myspace. Use one or two tasteful and relevant emojis and caps to highlight one word if you MUST. Your social media presence should reflect your brand’s personality, but remember that it is also a tool for networking and you want to have your best face forward.
You would never ignore a customer if they came into your shop to browse, so why do we ignore messages, comments and tags on social media? If someone has a question or is curious about your brand, take the five seconds to respond and, at the very least, provide a link on your website that would be helpful, or a number to call for more info. Also, if someone takes the time to share a post featuring your business, you should at the very least comment with a sincere thank you. Bonus tip! Share their post on your page as a extra social post for the day.
Throwing Cash at it and Walking Away
Paid advertisements can absolutely help boost social media success. But buying fake followers, boosting posts or solely relying on paid advertising to drive your social media strategy will never work. You need organic engagement to earn qualified traffic to your business or website. If you have 3 million followers but none of them will ever buy your product, what is the point? Having 3,000 followers that live in your community, and frequent your store is much more valuable. Spend your money on a professional social strategy, or hire a photographer to create stunning visuals that can be used online instead. You will see a much bigger return on investment.
Not Saying What You Want
We’ve all had the “What do you want to do for dinner?” “I don’t care whatever you want to do!” argument with our partner. It’s frustrating. Make sure you are including a clear and simple call to action in your social media posts. Tell your followers exactly what you want them to do, and show them how to do it. I.e. “Click here to see tonight’s menu:” “Call us on xxx to make a reservation for this weekend.” “Tag one friend below to enter to win.” People are much more likely to participate in whatever promotion you are running when they are absolutely sure of what they need to do.
At the end of the day, social media should be seen as an extension of your business plan. Focus your time and resources on your core mission. Use photos, graphics and messages that you would only display in-store. If it doesn’t fit your brand, or you wouldn’t say it out loud to a customer, leave it be. If you’re looking for something different to post on social media, check out our blog post, 5 Fresh Ideas for Facebook Content.
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