When you're a small business owner, sole-entrepreneur, or a practitioner in a larger organization even, you're strapped for time and resources. Social media efforts likely feel like one more dish on your plate. You may even feel like you're not sure how you're going to fit it all in.
At this point many people start hunting for efficiencies.
There are countless tools and apps for social media professionals out there. Some enable you to greatness, while others set you up for [potential] embarrassment.
Each and every society in the history of the world has evolved it's own culture. Through time and trial and anthropological influences the culture gradually solidifies. Internet culture is no different. There are norms and customs and expectations around behavior that should be observed.
Your sweet spot is finding tools that increase your efficiencies while not violating any of these societal norms that have evolved. I propose the 7 Forbidden Fruits of Social Media Marketing:
This one is especially tempting. It's an easy task to automate and completing it manually can take some time. But don't. You could accidentally end up following lots of bots, spam or porn accounts and possibly the worst of all - your twitter feed becomes essentially useless because it is full of irrelevance. Beyond the irrelevance of your stream you run the risk of following accounts that are spammy, that are bots, or even worse that are "adult" in nature. This could potentially damage your credibility or appearance.
So you've been told that if you welcome each of your new followers you're far more likely to keep them around. You will increase "engagement". You will make them feel "welcome". Well. Let me ask you this, "Does an automated welcome in less than 140 characters make you feel like a brand has personally welcomed you or in any way engaged with you? I think you'll find that the answer is NO to all of those.
So, given that, why would you expect that to work for your brand? Yeah, I'm not sure either. Nothing about this makes much sense yet hundreds of account owners get talked in to auto-dm tools every day. Please. Do. Not. Do. This. You will earn the hatred of everyone that follows you, at worst, and at best annoy everyone that chooses to engage with you.
3) Syndicate Your Content Across Multiple Channels
This is a lovely tutorial for "how to send tweets to Facebook" that I'd like you to completely ignore. Sure you CAN do it, this does not mean you SHOULD do it. Each one of your social channels is a unique flower: A special promise of brand love and genuine engagement. If you chose to adulterate it with content that has simply been ported over from one channel to another you are doing it absolutely no justice. It should also be noted that content federated across your brand pages (on differing networks) has a much lower level of engagement. Need some more reasons to NOT do that? Check this great post out by EdgeRankChecker.com that outlines why engagement decreases dramatically when you use a third party tool.
4) RT (Every) Tweet Praising You, Your Product Or Activity
It's super awesome and neat that someone thinks you're super awesome and neat. However - you are the only one that cares. I promise you that. Unless you've won a Grammy or other such prestigious award it's very rarely ever appropriate to RT (Retweet) someone else's praise of you. This includes but is not limited to Follow Friday mentions.
5) Use Facebook As Your Primary Web Presence
There are lots of reasons why this might be tempting. If you have a website already - don't you dare consider switching your focus away from your site to only Facebook. And if you're considering whether or not to invest in a website or just use Facebook instead cause it's free, remember this: You get what you pay for.
- Facebook does not offer the customizations that a site does,
- Facebook does not offer ecommerce abilities (without app development),
- Facebook can change their mind/policies/layout/guidelines at any time without consulting you,
- Facebook can revoke your rights to access your page at any time if they feel you have violated their guidelines leaving your investment completely wasted
- Facebook is a social media site owned by someone else. Not you. Meaning this is NOT a business asset, rather a borrowed platform.
I could go on. The bottom line, is having a web presence is a key pillar of your online presence. A major component to this online presence must be your (well optimized) website.
6) Lose Control
There are all types of people online that you will end up working with when engaging online for a brand (or, really at all to be honest). As a brand it is important that you maintain your composure, patience and empathy at all times. Easier said than done. A very well publicized recent example of when this doesn't happen:
Nestle lost control of their page quickly and the media fire storm that arose after this in their direction was nothing short of incredibly painful. They are and hopefully will remain, the worst case of a brand losing control on a social media platform. But to be real " it doesnt have to be this extreme to be considered wrong. Dont lose your temper, dont lose your cool. Ever.
7) Ignore Your Customers
The only thing worse than doing everything wrong is doing absolutely nothing.
Having a presence on social media and then choosing to ignore the customers that engage with you there is tantamount to a slap in the face. Okay...so maybe thats a bit dramatic. But lets be real: you know they made a comment, they know they made a comment and you got notified somehow, everyone else that sees that comment knows they sent one and you were notified. How does it look if you choose to ignore it? What message does that send to your audience? Not a good one. It says you dont care. It says that they are not important.
A recent study showed that 71% of customers who tweet a complaint never receive a response!
Helllooooo opportunity!! Of those individuals, the study showed, 86% would have liked (or loved) to hear from the company regarding that tweet.
I know youre pressed for time and resources are tight but I assure you, that indulging in these forbidden fruits will not make your life any easier. Invest the time to do it right and your rewards will be even greater.
- The 7 Deadliest Twitter Mistakes (Jennifer Null)
- From a Mess To Success! 5 Twitter Time Management Tips For The "Twittaholics" (Heba Hosny)
- How to Build a Twitter Following for Your Business (Jennifer Null)
Kristy Bolsinger is a Senior Associate at PwC in Seattle, WA. She has previously worked at Ant's Eye View (acquired by PwC in 2012), and RealNetworks (GameHouse). Prior to her time at RealNetworks, and Ant's Eye View - Kristy was working as a Social Media Marketing Consultant and completing her MBA at Willamette University. She maintains a social media blog and can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.