How To Sidestep Common Social Media Mistakes

I love how Social Media connects people.

And a lot of people are involved. Take these member number from the top 5 platforms:

  1. Facebook – over 750 million
  2. YouTube – over 490 million
  3. Twitter – over 225 million
  4. LinkedIn – over 150 million
  5. Google+ – over 90 million
  6. Pinterest – ok, so 6 snuck in – over 11.5 million

Social media allows the sharing of great content. It also helps you to connect with people you know and trust all around the world.

And that’s why there’s a buzz.

The likes of Twitter and Facebook have revolutionised the way we communicate. What’s more, it offers stacks of opportunities for micro businesses – who know what they’re doing.

As a social media mentor, I see this scenario a lot…

Why should I be on social media?

What should I be doing?

OK, let’s just jump on the band wagon – on all the channels – and just see what happens…

Whilst this is tempting, it’s not a good idea.

Let me explain…

Common social media mistakes…

Because of the ease of getting onboard, there are a lot of misconceptions.

  1. “Social media offers quick wins”.
  2. “It’s free so I should jump on all the channels”.
  3. “All my followers are engaged”.
  4. “I can automate all my content”.

In fact just today I had a potential client ask me “well if we were in the gold rush and we invented the tools, lets join Social Media and we will be quids in”.

Unfortunately, these beliefs can result in disappointment.

You see, you can’t just rush up a profile and expect fans to come running.

In fact, even if you have a high number of followers, it doesn’t mean they’re all engaged or even that they read what you say. In fact, a lot of social media “broadcasts” actually fall on deaf ears. It can be difficult to stand out amongst all the noise.

In addition, even though the platforms are free, your time investment is not. And in order to get results, you must invest quality time on a consistent basis.

So stop…

Before you jump into the gold rush you must think about the key question.

What are you trying to achieve for your micro business?

And the first step is to create the perfect social media plan.

And part of this plan is to carefully decide which social media channel(s) will help you achieve your goals.

What does ‘social media’ mean to you?

Social media could mean many things. In technical speak, it refers to:

The use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue between you and many others – be that for personal or business use.

It’s an Internet based tool which allows the reader to engage with the writer or community, both online and publicly.

But, what does it mean to you and your business? And more importantly, how is it going to help you get more customers?

To help here are some answers to the most common questions I get asked. Read them and they may help you avoid some of the common mistakes and false beliefs that get people disappointed.

Q: Why should I be on social media?

A: If your customers are in social media, you must be. Because if you’re not talking about your business or responding to what people are saying, someone else will.

Q: Which channel(s) should I use?

A: Unfortunately there’s no one answer as it depends on your business and your customers. It’s important to look at each platform individually, as not all of them are right for every business. In addition, each of them work in different ways. You don’t have to be on all of them (and you shouldn’t try to spread yourself too thin) – but you should be on the ones where your customers are. As a general rule, LinkedIn works best for B2B, Facebook is very effective for B2C (especially lifestyle businesses) and Twitter can cross over the two.

Q: How do I get loads of followers?

A: You can’t short-cut this. The only way to get loads of followers is through engagement and building relationships with people by showing up, sharing relevant content and being a valuable participant in the network.

Q: What shall I say?

A: Again this will depend on your business. Don’t broadcast sales messages and don’t rely completely on automated content. You’ll get the best results by showing up, responding and interacting. Share anecdotes, tips, great content (yours and other people’s), be helpful, ask questions etc. Yes it does take time but with experience you’ll figure out what works best for you.

Q: How often should I be saying it?

A: This depends on the platform. Twitter is fast moving and to get noticed in a rapidly changing timeline you’ll have to tweet more frequently. On Facebook you can get away with less updates. The key is to check that everything you post adds value to your target customer. Think will it initiate conversation? Will it get shared? Does it take me closer to my social media goals etc?

Q: Why am I using it?

A: This depends on your expectations. Social media can help you find clients, network, make friends, break the monotony of working from home, build your authority, grow your field of influence etc. Ask yourself, why do you want to be in it?

Four top tips for succeeding with social media:

  1. Know what you want to achieve
  2. Choose the right social media channel for you
  3. Be prepared to invest time and money
  4. Measure, adjust, measure, adjust …

Social media has a lot to offer, but just like face-to-face relationships, to get results you need time, focus and sidestep those common mistakes.

What mistakes do you see being played out in Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn etc? What”s your pet hate? Tell me in the comments box below.
micro business action

Today’s Micro Action

Identify a social media mistake you currently make and plan a strategy to tackle it.

Janine Beattie

Janine Beattie from Optimum Business Support has an extensive background in marketing & is skilled at identifying those hidden opportunities to get your business noticed. An avid blogger & social media enthusiast she enjoys helping “the small fish to shine the brightest”. Janine is also an avid networker and a wibn franchisee for the Bicester, Buckingham, Leighton Buzzard and Stony Stratford groups.

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  1. I’m making a few mistakes. I’ve joined too many social media platforms and there’s only one I really use, the other accounts are left pretty much unloved with little engagement. So do I bite the bullet and close down my Facebook page for Magenta Sky Solutions?
    Jo Waltham recently posted..Warning: Do You Spend Too Much Time On Social Media?My Profile

    • That’s key… engaging and adding content regularly, but also content relevant to your business and target audience. Make sure you know what you want to achieve and have a plan for each channel as each channel is different. If you are not going to invest time, an empty page is worse than no page. However, I believe each channel has their own different benefits. Maybe come up with a plan for Magenta Sky Solutions on Facebook and tackle it diligently, posting, commenting, asking questions and engaging and see if your efforts show an increased following …. you will be surprised!

  2. Hi Janine, thanks for sharing this, often when I go into coach businesses and we get onto the subject of marketing i get this:

    “It’s ok we’ll just use Twitter and Facebook”

    Then when quizzed further they often think that it can be set up and bring in customers over night. I have found that many people have a massive misconception over how ‘easy’ it is to bring in customers from social networks.

    It isn’t easy and it takes a lot of engagement and time to build up ‘trust’ amongst your followers before you can lead to a sale, however one of the advantages is that your business is very transparent if you have clear and honest social media profiles and those customers who buy from you from your social media channels often are repeat customers.

    You have supplied some great information here. Thanks for your insights.
    Nathan Dippie recently posted..Robert Dickenson – Should we diversify in business?My Profile

    • Hi Nathan,
      You are absolutely right, trust takes time and being transparent adds to the trust. If you have plan for any social channel, stick to it and be relevant. It also takes time to build a good following, people think social media is the silver bullet and will give them sales overnight, it doesn’t work that way! Glad you enjoyed and thanks for commenting.

  3. It’s important to know where you’re focusing attention. We can’t be on all platforms, or even on one platform all the time. It’s difficult to realise you WILL miss content that is interesting and relevant. What’s most important is to spend fixed time on it with a focus, and don’t worry about the rest.
    Rosie Slosek recently posted..TestMy Profile

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