Social Media For Business: The Do's And Don'ts
Starting with the “Do”
On the very top of your “do” list is this: Hire a professional (or team of professionals) to help you create your Social Media marketing plan. Let’s say you are in the business of manufacturing boxes. There is absolutely nothing that you do not know about making all sizes of boxes -- from start to finish. But selling the products and convincing the box-buying public that they need your special kind of boxes, as opposed to anyone else’s, is not your forte. You’re not a box salesman but indeed, your expertise is in manufacturing. Your sales staff, if you have one, may not have much experience in the art of Social Media, especially in the application of social media for business, and how to create a more informal yet extremely effective plan to market your products by “word of mouth.”
Keep in mind that working with an agency will not only take the “headache” of social media off your hands but it will also ensure better results; marketers have the tools and know-how to guide you when it comes to the content your audience is actually looking for, when they’re more active, which platform works best on each segment and what trends you can use to your advantage. You can make educated guesses and get some traction on your social efforts but the best way to save time and money is by leaving it to the pros! Your social presence needs to be run by people who can produce relevant social media analytics, interpret what they really mean for your business and come up with a concrete game plan that fits your specific needs.
A marketing company can determine the actual demographics for your product … meaning, who will buy it … and attract the right segment of people toward reading a blog, clicking on a link and completing a sale. Hiring a professional team of marketers will help you turn followers and ‘likers’ into customers more efficiently because you won’t have to go through a trial and error process with your social media strategy, you will not waste time trying out different social media tools and you will know exactly what to listen to and how to respond to your customers. Happy customers mean more business! Subsequently, your marketing team can help improve the satisfaction level of unhappy customers who could potentially damage your business with their negative comments.
On this subject, Don’t …
Try to do a Social Media marketing strategy using a personal account.
Having a personal Facebook, Linkedin, twitter or Instagram account is no substitute for creating a public face for your business. This goes for any kind of Internet presence -- website content creation included. Remember that personal and business social efforts are completely different, even if you are the face of the company. The audience that you have built on your personal accounts is not really there to be sold! these accounts should be exclusively used to communicate directly with friends and family. Your business accounts are multi-media resumes that showcase a (highly likely) first impression of your company.
The 4 key things that you should make sure you separate clearly between your personal and business accounts are:
Content: Make sure that your company includes a human aspect to it but always share content that is relevant to your business. If you have a guitar shop or a lifestyle brand it’s ok to share a picture of yourself at a concert but sharing pictures of your brother’s babies might be a bit off.
Bio: always make sure that your professional bio has links to your website, 1 or 2 lines about what your company does, relevant keywords and contact information.
Name: this might seem obvious but always use the company’s name on all professional accounts so your prospects don’t get confused; you really don’t want your personal accounts to be full of questions, comments and complains.
Connections: make sure that your connections on the business accounts are relevant industry accounts, prospects, existing customers, vendors, thought leaders, competitors and brand that complement or identify with your brand . You can get your friends and family to support your business but keep your personal interests in your personal accounts e.g.: sports, politics, religion, entertainment, news etc.
Another “Do” …
Having a solid Social Media presence gets people talking about your product and you need to listen. It’s human nature for us to want to tell our unique stories and experiences about the good and bad in our lives; Social Media gives us a chance to do it! The value of social media for business is the same in both business to business models (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) models, the whole point is giving your customers a platform to highlight value, voice complaints and/or get help. If, for example, a conversation about boxes is occurring on a moving company’s Social Media page, those who have, are currently using or will hire the moving company may think about the boxes they’ll need to transport their items. What kinds are the best? Where to get them? Topics like that occur in Social Media conversations and some satisfied customer may talk about a great experience they had with your business. And, if your box-manufacturing business or local distributor happens to advertise on that moving company’s page, then you’ve automatically placed your product in the public eye, exactly when it’s needed.
But Don’t …
Overdo it. Too many posts about the same types of things and too much presence in the wrong places at the wrong times is a turnoff for readers. With so much information thrown at us every day, our minds sift through the good and ignore what we deem as useless. Don’t make it so obvious that a reader merely rolls his eyes and moves on. (This is where hiring a professional marketing team can really be of assistance!)
Oh and “Do” This …
Be selective of what you say on any Social Media account.
Make sure everything is written, spelled, punctuated and presented correctly; poor content destroys credibility. If writing isn’t your cup of tea, let someone else do it! Poorly-written websites and social pages can be a negative sign to the consumer and that can mean a loss of business. You’ve spent a lot of money on web design and construction in order to draw in customers; your public pages are the face of the company.
And Don’t …
Do not allow negative posts of your product to remain on your business page -- if you can control that. When consumers have something negative to say, it’s another part of human nature to want to jump on that bandwagon, and the next thing you know, people will be slamming your product, even if they’ve never used it! Follow up with all unhappy customers in a private message.
One More “Do” …
It’s all about making money. Remember that, because the purpose of Social Media pages for business is to help reduce advertising costs elsewhere and gain more customers; preferably with repeat business. In our digital world, the ever-changing Internet means more sites cropping up every day, so it’s important to stay ahead of the game. Creating your brand and keeping it consistent across all web pages and forms of Social Media is an absolute must.
Ah, Yes, Another “Don’t”…
Do not underestimate your competition. It’s out there and it’s utilizing Social Media as a main source for advertising. If you don’t take Social Media seriously, you are turning your back on a significant source of consumer traffic. Use your competitors as a benchmark! if they already have an online presence you can look into their strategies and use their experience as a reference. We’re not encouraging you to copy exactly what others are doing but you can look into what kind of content they post, which media has more engagement, posting times, posting frequency and their followers. Your competitor’s “social journey” is a great data-source to replicate successful strategies and avoid making the same mistakes they made.
It is here and not going away anytime soon. Use it to your advantage. Increase sales by hiring Social Media professionals who can create and market your business effectively. Advertising is part of the cost of doing business -- Social Media can cut down on the traditional costs of media airtime and paper circulars. Find your audience and get social!