Social media is a strong lead generation tool for B2B businesses, but is wide open to misuse. Achieving the right balance of content, activity and responsiveness is a recipe for building trust and reaching out to new prospects. A wrong-footed approach to social media can have exactly the opposite effect. Here we examine seven common social media mistakes and why you should avoid them.
1) Not Making A Long Term Commitment
Achieving results on social media requires a consistent, long-term approach. A large number of business social media accounts exhibit a flurry of activity for the first couple of months, after which time it looks like a ghost town. This creates a worse impression than not having a social media account at all. Don’t feel you have to do everything at once. Drip feed content and posts onto social media at a steady rate. Committing just a few minutes every day to social media marketing will make all the difference.
2) Excessive Automation
Automation platforms like Mailchimp are fantastic time-saving tools, allowing you to schedule important posts on multiple social platforms. However, automation cannot take the place of customer interaction. It is important to log on regularly yourself and engage with your followers. You should also make sure that you keep control of the scheduling process and not assign this to an app, as this could result in you publishing too many posts successively, which will affect your Facebook Edgerank.
Also, if posting to multiple platforms, customise your posts to suit the requirements of each one. Don’t just send the same post to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Followers you are linked to on more than one platform will consider this lazy and impersonal. Also, Twitter has different rules and etiquette to Facebook and LinkedIn. Make sure your posts are tailored to both the platform and the target audience.
3) Branding Faux Pas
Be careful what messages you associate with your brand. Making a social media meme – content that combines an image with a quotation or message – is child’s play, but it is so easy to get it wrong. Make sure your brand messaging is consistent and double check it for expressions that may be misunderstood or misinterpreted out of context. It is also not advisable to use uplifting quotes by famous people in support of your memes, unless they have directly endorsed you. It risks coming across as arrogant or presumptuous. For instance, would Martin Luther King really have supported your IT services business? Just saying…
4) Too Many Posts
There is only so much content a user will want to see from a single account. There is no hard and fast rule about how often you should post, but as a rule of thumb this shouldn’t be more than one to five times a day on Facebook or LinkedIn, or 10 to 15 times on Twitter. Otherwise people may get tired of seeing your name on social media and you may even get penalised for spam by the platform. Be careful to include a variety of content in your posts and keep obviously self-promotional material to a minimum.
5) Irrelevant Content
Some business profiles show a regrettable dependency on posting ‘light’ content. This can include memes, ‘humorous’ images, pictures of animals and links to third-party content. These may occasionally be appropriate, but bear in mind your target audience and what they might like to see. Social media content should be targeted and relevant at all times. Avoid the temptation to post irrelevant content simply to keep up your posting frequency. If you genuinely don’t have anything to say at that time, leave it till you do.
6) Unresponsive To Messages
Social media is not primarily a free sales channel. It’s a relationship building device, so it is really important to respond to your customer’s messages. If you’re a small business it is perfectly acceptable to leave 24 hours between responses, but make sure you reply truthfully and constructively to every message and comment. Responding empathetically and promptly to your potential customers avoids the risk of alienating them and may even win people over. Polite public responses to complaints and criticism build a reputation for honesty and good service.
7) Too Many Platforms
Don’t spread yourself too thinly by trying to maintain a presence on too many social media platforms. Choose a couple of main ones that are important to your customers and devote yourself to them. Of these, one will normally become your ‘master platform’, but make sure you don’t ignore the others. If one of your social media platforms starts to look unloved, consider whether it is genuinely necessary. We recommend you start with a presence on Facebook and LinkedIn. You can then expand into Twitter, YouTube and potentially Instagram if it suits your business model.
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Social media is a great marketing tool for business development, but it works best as part of an integrated marketing strategy. To find out how best to use social media for your business, have a chat with one of our marketing specialists at JDR. We can help you put together a bespoke strategy that delivers your goals in terms of new leads, ROI and increased profits.