Think about the last time someone recommended a product or service to you. There's a good chance the first thing you did was check them out on social media.
People use social media to do a ton of self-guided research on businesses, sometimes long before they ever decide to actually make contact. (And let's be honest: who among us hasn't used Facebook to try to find out more about someone before a first date?) They're no longer learning about you just from your paid media or reviews.
To ensure that they actually do start a conversation, do a quick audit of your social media accounts. Check to be sure you aren't making any of the following tacky mistakes.
1. Being messy
By “messy” I’m referring primarily to spelling and grammar errors. I recently checked out the Instagram of a so-hot-right-now Atlanta restaurant. I was shocked to see their status: "Grateful for everyone's support! We have been recognized by Atlanta Magazine in thereupcoming "BEST OF" issue!" Yikes!
"Sure," you say, "but if you can cook great tasting food, is it really necessary to use perfect grammar and spelling?" Well, no. But the person handling your social media should. Because errors like that are sloppy and show a lack of attention to detail. And those aren't things you want associated with your restaurant kitchen.
Cheesy stock photos or poor quality images? No excuse. It's 2019. You can take amazing photos with your phone and edit them using tons of great apps. But if you don't want to take your own snaps, there are several sites where you can get beautiful free or low cost images. So easy.
2. Abandoning Accounts
This one is very, very common. A business owner gets on the social media bandwagon with no real strategy or plan. After a flurry of self-promoting posts, tumbleweeds.
When I'm checking out a business on social media and I see that their last post was in 2017, it's almost worse than having no account at all. It looks like the business doesn't plan well and/or doesn't follow through. Either way, no bueno.
Same goes for businesses that fail to respond to comments or questions from the community. If you're not using the account, ditch it. Which brings me to my next point...
3. Trying to be in all the places, all the time
An auto parts shop probably doesn't need a Pinterest account. (Although there is a surprising amount of information when you search "auto repair shops".) A senior living facility probably doesn't need a Snapchat. It's simply not necessary to have a presence on every single social media platform. Figure out where your customers hang out on social media - ask them! - and then be in those places, ready to interact with them.
4. Letting the kids handle it
Your niece's best friend who's working on her marketing degree and has a lot of IG followers is probably a great person. But she may not be the best choice for planning and executing a comprehensive social plan. Social media is the (very) public face of a business you've worked hard to build. Don't hand over the reins to anyone without making certain they can help you refine your social media goals, shine up your online presence, and get you the results you want.
Social media isn't broadcasting. To use it effectively, you need to remember that you're part of a conversation, not giving a speech. People don't like to be "sold to." So when businesses use their social media accounts to push nothing but promotional content, they're unlikely to build a community of people that pays attention. Offering solutions to their problems, answering their questions, and sharing content they'll find useful builds trust. And it establishes your company as reliable, tuned in, and appreciative of their customers.
Know what else is tacky and embarrassing? Ending a blog post without a call to action. (It's late; I'm getting very meta.) So here's mine: If you enjoyed this post, please share it far and wide.
Want to talk about your business and how to get your messaging to the right people? Let’s schedule a call!