We’re just two weeks into 2011 and you may already be feeling a little social media frustrated. It’s okay, you can admit it. You can admit that, despite all your best efforts, your social media accounts are failing to connect with the right people. In fact, sometimes you’re left to wonder if they’re connecting with anyone. You’re not seeing any replies, no retweets and your follower count has been stuck at 200 for three months. What’s going on?
It’s a question I get a lot from small-, medium- and even large-business owners when it comes to the status of their social media accounts. When things aren’t going quite the way you’d hope, sometimes it can be tough to figure out why. However, below are some common reasons I see for why businesses find themselves social media ignored.
1. You don’t update enough: If you want people to connect with you, you have to be present. You have to constantly be updating your accounts, sharing information, talking to people, and acting like you’re part of the community. While we’re all busy and it’s sometimes hard to fit yet-another-task into your schedule, it’s all part of creating that social presence. If you’re having a difficult time finding time to Facebook, schedule it into your day or week. The same way you schedule in all your other work, schedule in these types of tasks to make yourself accountable for them.
2. You go update overboard: Woah, Nelly. Slow down. It’s not necessary to post a new Facebook update every five minutes. In fact, you really don’t want to. By posting too much information you begin to overload your community and make it difficult for them to keep up with your updates. They may also suffer brand blindness – failure to notice your avatar because it’s all they ever seen. If you’re not sure how many times you should updating you may want to take a look at how often some of your favorite brands update their accounts. What frequency seems to be working for them? Don’t be afraid to experiment and see just how much (or little) your customers want from you.
3. You’re not providing enough value: One big mistake I see brands make with social media is that they update for the sake of updating. It’s almost as if it’s Wednesday at 9am and they suddenly realize they haven’t said anything all week. So they’ll log into Twitter and write about what their cat did this morning or how much traffic there was on the freeway coming into work. While it’s fine to share lifestyle tweets, you want to make sure you’re also providing value. You want to create a strategy for the type of content you’ll be sharing and how you’ll communicate with your audience. Whether you decide you want to share value through posting links, writing great content, offering deals & promotions, or just having above-and-beyond levels of customer service is up to you. However, you should know what that value is and what your goal is for being there.
4. You don’t respond to others: Are you monitoring your social mentions so that you can respond to people who mention your brand or who ask questions that you can answer? If not, it would help the health of your account to start. The point of social media is to be social. Take time to track down the people talking about your brand or to monitor keywords appropriate to your business, and then hop into the conversation. There’s nothing worse than a brand that has a Twitter account but doesn’t respond when you ask them a question. It’s like you’re there, but ignoring them.
5. You’re too salesy: We like marketing in social media the same way we like it everywhere else – subtle and when it doesn’t feel like marketing. If you try to use social media to “sell” your customers, you may actually be turning them off. Instead, use these platforms to let them get to know the person behind the brand. Once they form that connection with you, they’ll be much more interested in hearing about what you do for a living and how they may be useful to them. Avoid being salesy as much as possible. Instead, just be a person with a no agenda.
6. You’re hiding from your customers: Do your customers know these social media accounts or are you hiding from them (look into our presence management plans)? Are you promoting your Facebook account from your Web site, in your email newsletter, on your Web site? If you’re not and you’re simply hoping they’ll find your social accounts on your own, well, that may be a big reason why your numbers aren’t growing. People can’t connect with you if they don’t know you’re there. Make sure you’re promoting your presence.
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