By Alex Gladu, IWS Content Team
If the difference between a tag, a hashtag and a retweet confuse you, you’re not alone. Small business owners play many roles throughout any given day, including manager, buyer and sales associate, but social media leader often isn’t one of them. Whether it’s due to a lack of understanding or a lack of time, social media often falls by the wayside in the hustle and bustle of daily business operation. But ready or not, social media is here to stay, and it’s time that all small businesses get on board. Log back into those profiles (or create them today) and make sure that your business isn’t guilty of these common social media mistakes.
1. New Day, No Content
All too often, a business will set up social media accounts, only to forget about them a month later. Social media is meant to be continuously updated, checked, read and shared. It moves as fast as our busy lives, and if you don’t keep up with it, all of your hard work in the beginning will be left behind by customers looking for current information about your business.
Make your business’ social media presence more effective by regularly posting pictures, information and updates. To make it faster and more convenient, download the mobile apps for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. so you can post even when you’re not near a computer. Facebook even has an app just for pages called the Facebook Pages Manager for smartphones and tablets, so you can manage your page separately from your personal profile.
2. New Day, Same Content
Even if you do post regularly, there are still ways to improve your social media presence. Don’t let yourself get stuck in a rut by only posting pictures of your new products or information about your upcoming sales. Customers want to see fresh, unique content, not just the same old promotional plugs about your business. Mix it up by sharing an interesting article about your community or posting a behind-the-scenes picture of renovations being done at your business.
3. A Facebook Profile Where a Page Should Be
Facebook has an overwhelming amount of options for its users, from profiles to pages to groups and more, and it’s important to know what you need for your business. You probably have a profile for your personal account, but your business will be better off with a page. Pages allow users to “like” your business and share updates with their friends, whereas profiles require users to add you as a friend and have different privacy settings.
To create a page, you have to register for Facebook with your email address and password, or log in with your existing account. Once you log in, click the arrow in the upper right corner, and then click “Create page.”
4. Too Much One-Way Communication
One of social media’s greatest strengths is its ability to foster two-way communication between organizations and their audiences. Customers can share photos and links with their favorite businesses, send them a message and tag them in posts. This type of interaction is great for building relationships with members of the community, but it can backfire if a business doesn’t respond.
Make sure not to leave your audience hanging. If someone asks a question about a product, answer with a comment or a message. If a customer leaves a bad review or complains about their experience, respond just as you would if that person were in the store or on the phone. Your customers will appreciate the two-way conversation much more than just one-way promotion.
5. Facebook, Facebook, Facebook
Facebook certainly popularized social media in many ways, but it’s not the only tool in the shed. There’s also Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, FourSquare and more! It’s not a matter of having an equal presence on each of these sites, but it’s important to know which sites will work for your business. For example, Pinterest is particularly effective for businesses looking to promote photography, fashion, food and DIY projects, whereas LinkedIn may work better for businesses trying to reach working professionals, entrepreneurs and the like. Whatever your industry, don’t limit your business exclusively to Facebook. Try out the different platforms to see which ones work best for your business and your audience.
Having an effective social media presence is one of the best ways to reach today’s consumers. Set your business up for social media success with these tips, and you’ll be posting, tweeting, sharing, pinning and retweeting with the best of them in no time.