When you compare your social media statistics to your competition what are you measuring? Do you consider the accounts with the highest number of people following them the most successful? What about the pages with fun images, do those posts receive more Likes than your posts? Should you be measuring Likes? What about Shares?
As a small business owner, social media provides you with a great opportunity to connect in a personal way with your ideal buyer. It’s hard to look at a Facebook page with thousands of Likes and feel like you can compete, but the truth is, numbers are only a small part of an effective social strategy.
There is a lot of research that provides guidance on how frequently to post on different social platforms. A page which rarely posts content is not likely to convert Likes into customers because the page will rarely show up in a follower’s feed. Additionally, social pages that post daily aren’t guaranteed customers. If you have a Facebook page, but your ideal buyer prefers Instagram you are missing opportunities to connect with and convert clients.
By following these tips for small business social media do’s and don’ts you can compete with any social media account in your industry and connect on a personal level with your ideal buyer at every stage of their buyers’ journey.
Social Media Don’ts
Don’t Follow People Just for Follows
When you set up your Business Page on Facebook, you have an option to invite your friends to Like your page. This isn’t an option on Instagram and Twitter, so it’s harder to let people know you are on those social platforms. A growing trend with companies is to follow people and then unfollow them a few days later.
While this might seem like a great strategy to get people to connect with your accounts, from a social perspective you are essentially saying “Hi! Let me tell you all about me! I don’t need to learn about you; you aren’t as important as I am.” Companies who implement this practice are banking on you not realizing they no longer follow you. Their follow is disingenuous from the start and leaves a sour taste in potential consumers mouths.
So, instead of unfollowing people, you can do two things. First, set up business pages for Instagram and Twitter just like Facebook. That way your personal feed will be filled with friends and family, and you can take time to interact with customers when you are on your business profiles. Second, add popular, industry relevant hashtags to your profile and your posts. This way, people who are looking for information about your niche will easily find your posts. When you post great content consistently, they will like your page even without an invite.
Don’t Direct Message People Constantly
While direct messaging is a great way to connect personally with your ideal buyer, this action is stepping further into their personal space and should not be overdone. There are several ways you can use direct messaging (DM’s) to connect with a customer.
Think of DM’s in a similar way to email marketing. If someone reaches out to you via DM, that’s an obvious invitation to interact, otherwise reserve your outreach for important information such as making sure people are aware of a sale or product updates.
One way to increase personal interactions outside of direct messaging is to join groups. LinkedIn and Facebook are easy platforms to find and interact in groups of people in your industry.
Don’t Ignore Comments
Social media is a space for socializing. If someone comments on your post make sure you acknowledge their effort. This is especially important if someone asks a question. Even if you don’t have an immediate answer, a quick comment letting everyone who can see your page know you are working to find the information requested will go a long way in making a positive customer service impression. If you get a lot of comments it might not be realistic to respond to each one. However, simply liking a comment goes a long way and doesn’t take a lot of time.
Don’t Automate Everything
Using an automation tool like Hootsuite or Buffer is an excellent way to make sure you post regularly. Additionally, Facebook provides a tool for you to schedule content for your business page without using automation tools.
That said, part of social media best practices include sharing other people’s content. The best way to make sure you are a part of the current conversation is to take some time to interact in live time instead of automating. You should also posting interesting and helpful third-party content. This shows your audience that you care about them and that you are not always trying to sell something. Human interaction and posting helpful content are two additional opportunities to build trust with your community.
Social Media Do’s
Do Your Homework
Now that we’ve covered some of the social media don’ts, let’s cover some of the do’s. Social media is something that takes time, so it’s important to make sure you aren’t wasting your time or that of your employees.
Research and figure out what social media platforms your ideal buyers are on, and what time of day they are most active. Over time, your social media analytics and insights will help you narrow down the prime times for interaction. Assuming your clients are only on Facebook may be a mistake, especially with a younger target audience.
This is important. Don’t feel like you need to be on social media all day. A recent survey from Clutch revealed that 83% of customers expect a response in a day or less. So, if you schedule time once or twice a day to interact with social posts, you will be in great shape.
Be Flexible and Try New Things
Social media is constantly changing. It seems there is always a new feature or algorithm to explore. While this may seem frustrating, by staying flexible and taking time to learn how new features work you might find a fun way promote your company you wouldn’t have otherwise considered.
The great thing about features like Facebook Live and Instagram Stories is a casual video is normal so that you can post something quicker there than on YouTube. Especially since the stories automatically erase after 24-hours.
Keep Personal and Business Separate
It’s important to remember when you are on your company social media accounts that every post reflects on you and your company. Even memes can be divisive, so it’s a good rule to make sure to pause before you post.
Additionally, if you don’t want your clients to know about your children, then it’s best not to open the door. Keeping personal and business separate is easiest when you set up business accounts for your company.
Do Share Your Blog Content
Social media is the perfect place to post links to interesting and helpful content you have on your website. Posting a preview of the post and an image is a great way to encourage conversation and establish yourself as an industry expert.
Social media is an excellent tool to add to your inbound marketing tool belt, but just like everything else, it requires time and attention. Pay attention to these tips for your small business social media strategy to increase your opportunities to interact with your ideal buyer.