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Social Media and Small Biz: 5 common mistakes

It’s a wonderful thing that so many businesses and individuals are becoming more and more aware and appreciative of the opportunities that social media brings in the digital era we live in. From customer service to industry news, free marketing and brand positioning – it’s all there for us to make the most of. For many it can be a minefield to get your head around, and at times an expensive one you can’t afford when you’re very new to business so you have to find your way around it yourself. This blog post list the most common 5 mistakes I come across working with (and indeed looking for) small businesses and start ups. I’ve included some advice for avoiding them too, so I hope they are a great place for you to start when thinking about what to do and how to get it right from the off.

  1. Jumping on to Facebook or/and Twitter by default – just because everyone talks about it and tells you ‘should be on Twitter and Facebook’ doesn’t mean you should do it. The fact it, establishing and maintaining a social media presence for your business or organisation is time consuming and very much a long term strategy. Your efforts are much better placed doing one thing well then expanding as you grow. What channel is best for you will depend on who you’re trying to connect with, what you want to talk about and how (including how often) you can talk about it.
  2. Linking Facebook to Twitter (or Twitter to Facebook!) – so you’ve set up a Facebook page and a Twitter account, and you’ve realised the amount of time it can take to keep them both up to date. You’re also struggling with learning how to use each platform correctly and most of all you’re constantly stuck for what to write on them. Someone tells you that you can connect your accounts so that every time you post to one it automatically posts to the other. SOLD! Well, as tempting as that sounds please don’t do it. Refer back to point 1! Having a Twitter account or Facebook page full of links, half sentences or hashtags that make no sense is far more damaging to your reputation then simply owning the fact you only have time for one. It negates the ‘social’ in social media too…subconsciously when you’re satisfied that 1 of 2 channels will automatically be populated you’ll forget to check it for engagement (should anyone want to engage with a robot!) and thus missed opportunities and bigger yet – more damage to your reputation.
  3. Not including social media icons on business cards – this is a biggie! I started off this blog with the great news that more and more individuals accept the role that social media plays in their success but sadly, the vast majority (like 85%+) of business cards I get handed have zero reference to their social media accounts. Their mobile number and email address are there, but I don’t know how to contact you on on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or wherever you may be. These aren’t just promotional tools, these are contact methods too…and many customers (millennials for example!) will prefer to get in touch with you on line… so don’t do forget to get them added when you’re printing your next batch 😉
  4. Lack of consistency – this ties in to points 1 and 2 but by and large I always see a serious lack of consistency across business accounts. It happens for many reasons which I can appreciate, but you need to assign some set time/s each week to attend to your social media accounts…even if you can only post three times a week. Manage your audience expectation by adding this detail to your biography or about sections.
  5. Conversation (lack of) – Put simply, too many people forget that social media is about being ‘social’ and they use their designated time to just broadcast information and sales pitches about them selves. A key part to your success on social media is in forging relationships with other users. Think of it like a party. You wouldn’t just walk in to a room, demand something from everyone then turn around and walk out again. You’d look for people to speak to, introduce yourself and say hello. Listen to what they have to say and hold conversation with them. Social media allows you to then meet these people time and time again – it’s up to you then build on that initial contact, keep listening and look for the right time to offer your help/product/services.

Now go forth! Or, if you have any questions do pop them in the comments box below!

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