These days, most every business has at least one social media page – be it Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest. No longer a “nice to have” part of your overall marketing game plan, but rather a necessity, social media is today what websites were to businesses 10 years ago. That being said, what are some of the pitfalls of social media, and how can they be avoided?
Basically, there are no real “rules” for how to pursue a social media strategy. Some business may choose to have someone well versed in the social realm lead their efforts, or some may opt to have their social media outsourced. Either way, in order to benefit from all social media can offer you, some kind of plan must be put in place.
This is certain: how your company goes about leveraging social media is something you’ll need to explore with someone who knows the ropes.
From a purely practical point of view, here are three mistakes I’ve seen other companies make that have cost them dearly in money, time, and resources:
Choosing the wrong social platform. At the end of the day, to make any kind of impact, you need to be where your customers hang out socially. For most consumer-based outfits, that’s Facebook. But having a Facebook page may not be enough. There are a plethora of social sites to choose from these days, and deciding which ones fit your business can be daunting. Research how and where your demographic spends its time, so you can invest your resources there.
Posting without engaging. Content is the “guts” of social media, and once you’ve chosen a platform, you need to post stuff your tribe cares about. In a previous blog, we talked about how one woman from Brooklyn organized a counter-protest to some rabble-rouser “flag-burners” in NYC this past summer. It was and still is our most popular post to date, and even gave us opportunities to use elsewhere in our marketing.
Ignoring the haters. In order to show you care about your customers and your brand’s reputation, you need to carefully construct dialogue with people who take to your social media pages to complain or even hurl flaming manure your way. If it’s a genuine complaint, don’t delete the post – deal with it head on, with an apology and a commitment to make it right. If it’s just a profanity-laced diatribe, then deleting the post promptly is the only way to go. We actively manage our own social communities daily to achieve lively engagement with our folks. We have our haters, yes… but by controlling the narrative, we win and look good to current and prospective customers.
Although the above is just a partial list, you probably get the idea. Think of social media as an extension of your other marketing – the difference being it’s where your customers are actively having a conversation with you.
By having a solid strategy not just for where to build out your social presence but how to engage people – even your detractors – you build trust with your audience and reinforce a positive brand experience and reputation.
Allen Baler is a leading entrepreneur and Harvard grad. Allen Baler is a Partner in 4Patriots LLC, based in Nashville.
Disclaimer: This blog post is not a substitute for the sound advice of a business professional with expertise in the subject matter discussed. Please seek appropriate counsel on what strategies make sense for your business.