Social media is a powerful method of small business marketing, but it can also go terribly wrong if you’re not careful. Here are five social media strategies you should steer clear of.
1. Using a Trending Topic Without Research
Trending topics are a great way to get noticed and pop up in more news feeds on social media. The downside? If you don’t do some serious research, you could end up ruining your brand. A good example of this is when DiGiornoo Pizza used #WhyIStayed in their social media campaign. The brand made light of a serious hashtag that represented abuse victims and was scorned for this for a very long time. While there’s nothing wrong with using trending topics to get a leg up in your small business marketing, it’s important to know what the topic is about. Don’t use it just to get noticed or you could insult a lot of people.
2. Follow for Follow
One particular method of getting followers on many social media platforms is to follow others in order to get them to follow you. Many brands take this a step further by unfollowing other people once they’ve got that follow or fan and keep their own numbers low while boosting the number of followers they have. The reason this is such a terrible idea is that you can end up with a lot of unrelated people following you. There’s nothing great about having 10k people following your brand when none of them even fits your target market. Instead, make meaningful connections that will last and grow.
3. Over Promoting Your Brand
People tend to follow interesting brands on social media, and it’s not difficult to become one of them. However, too many brands post only about their sales and products and never cover anything else. That makes for a pretty boring feed for your potential clients. While social media is great for promotion, it’s also a good idea to pace yourself and share interesting stories, case studies, and inspirational posts, too. Get your audience to help out by sharing their personal photos and experiences with your products or services, and people will immediately pay more attention.
4. Auto Posting Only
Auto posting on social media saves plenty of time, but it can also be a huge problem. People don’t feel brands are authentic if they aren’t engaged with the community, so when you have everything scheduled, it can feel pretty fake. Add to this the fact that posts scheduled far out may not be appropriate when the time comes, so you could have a major PR mess on your hands. Using some auto posts is fine, but you should always revise them if a big event, particularly a tragic one, occurs. In addition, be sure to be active on the comments, so followers know that you aren’t just posting and then ignoring them.
5. Using Pre-Written Responses
It might seem like a great idea to have automatic messages sent back to people who write to you, but it can be very frustrating. When you ask a question via email, for example, and get back an answer that was obviously written previously and has little or nothing to do with your original question, you lose faith in the company. Don’t be that company. If you do use canned responses, be sure they actually fit the question. It’s best to have an auto response that lets the person know you will be getting back to them shortly. Once you have a chance to go over the information, you can respond personally.
Even if you have great strategies in place, any of the methods mentioned above could derail your small business marketing plan. To get a better idea for what works and what doesn’t, notice what other companies are doing. You’ll quickly see that certain things are very irritating and turn you off as a client. Other strategies will make you think seriously about buying from them. Those are the ones you want to emulate. While social media can be a very powerful medium for online marketing, it can also destroy your reputation rather quickly if you’re not careful. Take the time to plan ahead and to avoid the mistakes others have made.
That’s what you are NOT supposed to do with social media. Want to learn what you ARE supposed to do? Be sure to read the marketing guide we have on the OSP site, Social Media Essentials, and use that as a road map. If you’re not an OSP client yet, use this link to sign up, and you, too, will have access to this marketing guide.