But I Have a Facebook Account
Over 665 million people check their Facebook accounts every day and it has become the No. 1 activity on the web. That isn’t a surprise though.We have all heard how social media is taking over… but why can’t I get it to help grow my business? Why is it that many businesses set up a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account and it doesn’t work for them? It reminds me of a tagline from the board game Mastermind: “Easy to learn, easy to play, but not so easy to win.”
There are countless businesses and organizations, which have made the decision to set up an account on one of the major social media networks, only to do nothing with it. We have all witnessed it, and small or local businesses seem to be the most frequent offenders (although they definitely aren’t the only ones). It all starts with a spontaneous decision to create an account. Why not? It’s quick and it’s free. Plus it’s easy to use, so this should be a no-brainer, right? Maybe not. The truth is, it may be better to have no presence at all than a poor presence.
The point where businesses go wrong when creating a social media presence happens before they even create the account. Remember the old phrase, “People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan”? Bingo. Many business owners, managers and marketers take social media accounts too lightly. It isn’t kid’s stuff and if it isn’t taken seriously, it can seriously harm your business.
The Common Mistake
A business’s first mistake and the most common problem with social media accounts is inactivity – when no one within the business posts consistently. This is the most common challenge we hear and see from other business owners and it really hurts. Users may see a page that makes the business look like they are out of business.
It’s tough though… I get it. When my business partner, Scott Brazdo, and I started Black Tie Digital Marketing, we held a meeting and created a schedule for each of us to create and post a blog for the company. We thought, “This will be cake!” Scott will write two per month and I will write two. Done deal. We will produce four unique blog articles a month, of which we will post one or two on social sites. That lasted a couple of months before I missed one, then Scott missed one, until quickly we weren’t writing anymore. We were too busy writing and posting content for our clients, plus all of the other things we ‘need’ to do, in order to grow the business.
The Other Mistake
The second most common mistake we see when businesses use social media sites, is trying to sell something to their fans. If Black Tie shared posts like; “Call us today for a free evaluation” or “Websites starting at $499, call us now!” our fan-base would diminish quickly because people use social media to interact with their friends, not to shop for products or services. Brands need to be careful not to break that unspoken trust they have with their fans.
By educating our fans, sharing important updates from Google, or providing tips on marketing more effectively, we may help grow our network through “likes” and “shares.” Social media platforms are a perfect venue for showcasing expertise, sharing stories, pictures and news, which is how you should focus your efforts.
How to Succeed
Success on social media begins with outlining your strategy. Scott and I quickly discovered early on that we needed a plan. Part of that plan was to begin looking for an employee who could take our ideas and execute them.
Begin by creating a calendar for developing and sharing content. Then, identify topics or headlines for your content. This way, you will know when and what is being shared and will establish greater control over what is being shared. Here are some ideas of what your business should post across your social accounts:
• Holidays (this is an easy 13 posts in a year)
• Changes to normal business hours (e.g. closed for Labor Day)
• New products or services
• Specials offers and promotions
Next, identify who is responsible for creating and sharing the content. By creating a calendar and a strategy, as well as identifying who is responsible for executing the strategy, your business will be quickly and effectively engaging your audience. If you find that you don’t know how to make it happen, or simply can’t find the time to execute the plan, seek help!
Steve Buck is the president and co-founder of Viera-based Black Tie Digital Marketing, www.blacktiedigital.com