Businesses have always engaged their customers in some way in order to build brand loyalty. Before the internet, this happened through conversations, letters, and coupons. Today it happens primarily on social media. The only problem is that you have to do more than setup a Facebook page and then promote it on your website in order to engage your customers.
If you’ve realized that you need to be on social media, then you’re on the right path. You’ll also want to make sure that you’re not doing social media wrong. Avoid these 10 common mistakes and you’ll be in a better position to create a community of loyal repeat buyers.
#1. You’re not very active on your social media profile.
The whole point of being on social media is that you’re creating a conversation with your prospects and customers. If you’re not posting, then you’re not creating a conversation. Sticking to a regular posting schedule can be a lot of work sometimes, but it’s worthwhile because it will keep people checking in with your page. Established brands can get away with only having a post per day, but new businesses and small businesses benefit from several posts per day.
It’s important to remember these rules about your posts.
- Respond to any comments that are directed to your brand from your post because this continues the conversation that you’re having.
- Post items that are outside of your business, but still within your industry, to provide a better value proposition with your social media presence.
- Not every post you make is supposed to generate a sale. If all you post are links to products or services, people will lose interest.
You want people to be in the habit of checking in with your brand on a regular basis. The only way to do that is to make sure you’re starting new conversations every day.
#2. You are broadcasting information instead of engaging people.
We all like facts. As Joe Friday always said, “Just the facts, Ma’am.” Far too often, businesses focus on just the facts when they are posting on their social media profiles. Facts are good, but if all you’re doing is broadcasting information, then facts can also be bad. You should be sending out your thoughts through social media, but you should be doing it in a way that invites participation. Otherwise you’re telling people that it’s either your way or the highway.
How can you make sure that you’re engaging people with your posts instead of being a fact broadcaster?
- Ask people for their opinions. Request their feedback. Many will post comments on your posts if you simply ask them what they think about the information you’ve offered.
- See if people have other facts that support your position. Sometimes you might not have the whole story. If your community is working to support your opinion, there’s a good chance they’ll agree with you.
- Be a seeker. If all you do is broadcast your own opinion, you will turn away everyone who doesn’t agree with you.
Offering statistics and strong opinions isn’t a bad thing unless it is the only thing you’re doing. Create a two-way street for the conversation and you’ll find a higher level of engagement coming your way.
#3. Your voice isn’t unique.
People are exposed to incredible levels of information today. This has forced many to begin filtering out information that isn’t deemed to be relevant. It creates a “white noise effect” on the internet today. Your posts might appear on someone’s feed, but because your voice isn’t unique or relevant, the information doesn’t stand out.
There are a number of ways that you can counter this phenomenon, but tread carefully. The loudest voice isn’t always the most popular voice. Sometimes it is the one that is the first to be blocked. Consider these ideas.
- Change your format from post to post so you avoid sending people the same type of post every time you post.
- Create posts that are based on the feedback of previous comments. Consider including the comments that inspired your content to give credit where it is due.
- Make it personal. Logical updates that feel as cold as a server room aren’t going to keep people attracted to your profiles and pages for very long.
In other words, don’t pretend to be something you are not. Authenticity rules the day on the modern internet. You’re already unique. Communicate that to your fans and followers and you’ll create the engagement you want.
#4. Your posts are boring.
The point of having people follow you on social media is that you’re able to provide them with something they are unable to get elsewhere. Your posts should convey a certain level of excitement and interest. If what you post doesn’t really matter or it is the same information that hundreds of other accounts are also posting, then your brand isn’t going to be exciting. It’s going to be boring. Here’s how you can fix that.
Top tip I've read today.#socialmedia pic.twitter.com/AvRHykKZld
— Kate Crawley (@digitalk4te) March 2, 2016
- Be surprising. Work to give people something they have never seen before. That might mean developing your own content instead of sharing the content of others.
- Create value with each post. Even a recipe has value to it if it hasn’t been tried before. Don’t underestimate what small things you could offer that could provide a large value.
- Make your social media content visually attractive. Because people are skimming information, a picture can interrupt that process to make people focus on you.
You never know when boredom might strike someone. What you can do is offer unique content as often as possible. You won’t be able to please everyone all of the time, but you’ll be able to keep your bounce rates down.
#5. Your competition is out-performing you.
Just about everyone is on social media today. This means your competition is trying to engage the same community of prospects and customers as you. If they are out-performing you on this platform, then you’re going to lose potential profits. One of the best things you can do is proactively scan what your competitors are doing so that you can do something different.
You must have a unique approach. It’s your take on things that will eventually engage people. Being “you” is something that your competition can never do. If you’re trying to copy your competitors, however, then they’ve already won. The moment you try to copy what someone else is doing is the moment that you concede to yourself and your followers that the competition is better than you.
People on social media go to where the most value happens to be. You can poach a lot of followers by being more valuable within your niche or industry.
Here's our tip for the day. #SocialMedia #ESMForum2016 RT @Grant_VDWagen @Liz_Croc @fionajuan pic.twitter.com/Jdqo6rRGi0
— Social Forum 2016 (@SocialForum16) March 16, 2016
#6. You’re posting the same thing everywhere.
When we talk about being active on social media, we’re talking more than just Facebook and Twitter. You might have accounts on Pinterest, LinkedIn, and other networks because each one engages a unique part of your community. The only problem with this is that when you have 5 active social media profiles, you have a lot of time that must be invested into updating them with content on a regular basis.
To counter this time issue, many businesses will create autoposts that update across all active profiles. Does it save time? Sure. It also creates these problems that can actually reduce the engagement you receive.
- Different social media platforms have different content that performs well on them. What gets interest on Pinterest isn’t the same thing that will get interest on LinkedIn.
- You’re basically telling your community that you’re too lazy to have a conversation with them because you’ve offered them a form letter.
- There’s no reason to follow you on multiple platforms because you’re offering the same information everywhere.
It is better to have one active social media profile that always has unique content instead of having 5 active profiles with the same content.
#7. You’ve lost your enthusiasm.
When you first get started on social media, it can be a lot of fun. You’re talking with people, seeing a boost in sales, and your brand starts to become popular. Then the grind of having these conversations every day begins to set in. The quality of your posts begin to decline because you’re tired, running low on fresh ideas, or you’re just recycling old content. This happens to everyone, so assuming it won’t happen to you is a mistake in itself.
To keep your engagement feeling fresh and active, you must be willing to look at new strategies for your content. You must look at what your campaign is doing on a regular basis to see if there are any points of weakness which should be addressed.
It comes back to value. People are going to stick around when you’re offering them something of value. If all you can offer are recycled posts and new content that even makes you yawn, then most folks aren’t going to stick around or give you the benefit of the doubt.
#8. You weren’t really liked in the first place.
People stick around because they’ve invested in your brand. The fact that people are leaving even if you’re hitting all of these key points to avoid doing social media wrong is an indication that they weren’t really into you when they followed you. Unfortunately there isn’t much you can do to counter this issue. People will come, people will go, and there’s a good chance they’ll repeat this cycle several times.
It can be difficult when someone decides to unfollow you on social media. It feels almost like a betrayal, especially when you’ve invested so much of your time into a conversation with them. You might not be able to prevent this issue completely, but you can reduce it with these proactive measures.
- Be responsive to negative feedback. Don’t be defensive to it. Take the good points being made and respond back in a way that others will see as positive.
- Be authentic… but to a point. If your first response is anger, then take a breath and calm down. Tell your story and tell it in a way that can relate to a majority of your fans and followers.
- Stay committed to your brand and your content. Good content will always bring more people your way. Sometimes it just takes time for people to discover the value that you’re offering.
Sometimes people follow you without ever intending to engage your brand. Others leave the instant you post something that they don’t see as having value. As long as you stay true to your mission and purpose, you’ll be able to engage in a positive way with most people on social media.
#9. You haven’t setup any ground rules.
To be effective on social media, you must assign specific roles to people. You must understand what type of content you intend to post before you post it. You need to know if you’re going to post in first-person wording or third person. You even need to have a plan in place for the photographs, graphic designs, and other images you intend to use.
As a best practice, it is a good idea to have just one person in charge of updating your brand’s social profiles. That manager can have direct reports, but if everything funnels through one person, you’ll have more consistency with your message.
Many brands also tend to focus on an overall strategy with their presence on social media. This tends to be ineffective because the conversations you inspire tend to be something that happens impulsively. Focus on a strategy that you take on a post-by-post basis as part of your ground rules and managing social media will be much easier.
#10. You’re not tracking the returns you receive.
Or worse – you’re deleting the negative returns you receive because you don’t want to deal with it. Social media conversations are important because they’re designed to help your bottom line. If you don’t know what your ROI happens to be from the efforts you’re putting into social media, then how can you know if you’re achieving your goals?
Deleting negative feedback and conversations will only expand negativity and reduce your ROI. Allocate your resources, establish metrics that will let you accurately measure success, and make sure you are tracking positive and negative returns that are being received so you can respond and make changes as needed.
It’s also important to respond quickly to comments or replies that are posted. Many people expect a response within 30 minutes, even if the comment they made falls outside of your normal business hours. You must be able to answer questions quickly if you want social media to provide an authentic engagement. Don’t put pressure on yourself to answer every question immediately, but do take on the attitude that you should answer each question or comment as soon as you can.
If you’re not careful, social media can be a 24/7 365 experience. It can burn you out and make you look bad to your targeted demographics. You can’t be everything to everyone, but you must be something to someone. Otherwise there is no point to being on social media in the first place.
By avoiding these common mistakes and implementing the suggested remedies, you’ll be able to engage customers, build brand loyalty, and have a positive ROI because of your efforts. Apply them to your social media profiles today and you’ll make your social media experience fun and rewarding.
Strong proponent of individual liberty and free speech. My goal is to present information that expands our awareness of crucial issues and exposes the manufactured illusion of freedom that we are sold in America. Question everything because nothing is what it seems.