Sunday, March 27, 2011

Top 10 Business Social Media Mistakes

Social media strategy can seem overwhelming to businesses as they are just starting out on social networks. And every day hundreds of businesses launch a social presence. Why not learn from the mistakes others?

Here is a Top 10 Basic Business Social Media Mistakes presented David Letterman style:

10. Leaving your profile incomplete: It looks unprofessional or, worse, looks like you might be a spammer. Say something interesting about your business and the people running the account and, if there’s room, make it fun.

9. The URL link on the profile doesn’t point to your business: On most social presences you have the opportunity to share a link or three. Make them point to relevant business pages.

8. Poor choice of avatar image: Depending on your business’ personality you may want to use a company logo. But generally the face of the person running the account will both look better and leave a better, more human, impression.

7. Inappropriate mixing of personal and business lives: Depending on your social approach some mixing may be appropriate (if you run a winery account and you sometimes talk about wine you like or winery tours you take, for example). Generally, though, keeping things professional, human and sometimes fun will work so much better.

6. Using social profiles only for promotional purposes: If all you do is talk about yourself and your products and services who is going to take the time to listen (follow, friend or fan)?

5. Not listening to customers: If they find you on a social network and they care they will talk to you. Be ready to respond to the good, the bad and sometimes, the ugly.

4. Not greeting new followers and friends: Would you ignore a new customer coming through your door? So why is it acceptable to not greet each new person you meet on social networks?

3. Erratic updating or completely stop updating: Once you start posting (presumably based on a well-thought-out strategy) don’t stop and start or stop completely. This can send several messages … none of them good.

2. Deleting a post you regretted: It is far better to follow up a regrettable post with an explanation of what you meant. This shows the world you’re human.

And, drum roll please, the No. 1 mistake is …

1. A serious underestimation of the time and energy social networks take: Yes, many of the tools are free, but using social networks to help you understand your customers, develop new relationships and even meet new customer needs all takes time and energy. If this scares you start small (one or two networks).

Bonus: And please don’t advertise your foray into social in your print and broadcast advertising with the Twitter and Facebook icons and the words “Follow us on Twitter” or “Find us on Facebook.” That is the equivalent of using a telephone icon and saying “Find us in the phonebook.” Have your Twitter and Facebook account names right there. Make it easy for people to connect. Really!

So, is this list a good start or way off the mark? Will it help your social media strategy? Please let me know.

Possibly related posts:
10 Ideas to Help Business Navigate Social Media
5 Really Useful Sites for Social Media Newbies
10 Commandments for Social Media

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

5 Signs Your Business Needs Help With A Social Media Strategy

What is your business’ social media strategy? You do have a strategy don’t you?

Sadly many businesses are in social media, but are not IN social media – if you can see the difference. Let's see if this blog post can help.

You may need outside help on your social media strategy and tactics if you:

1. Don’t have a clear social media strategy: Why be in social media if it doesn’t support your business goals? Investing time in social media simply because it’s popular or because you heard it can be an effective marketing tool doesn’t earn you a single dollar. Your social media strategy doesn’t need to be elaborate, but you need one. The consultant can thoroughly assess your goals and needs and help frame a plan that will help your business.

2. Have too many different social media platforms: Or worse, have too many platforms without clear goals for each. If social media is to be an effective marketing tool for your business you need to focus your efforts for each platform and regularly audit the number of those platforms you’re on. An outsider can offer you a dispassionate assessment of how many (or how few) platforms you should really be on and what value they bring you.

3. Don’t aggressively manage your community: If you aren’t evaluating the quality of your network how do you know whether you’re wasting your time or not? Do you know who among your followers, fans and friends are likely customers, business partners or collaborators? The consultant can help you decide which community members are helpful and what is being said about you and your business.

4. Don’t measure your results from social media: Yes, there is something to be said for not measuring social media success by traditional metrics and demographics. But the bottom line is the bottom line: If you’re spending time and money on social media and not measuring whether it’s working you’re likely wasting both time and money. An outsider can help you focus on what will help the business.

5. Don't have search engine optimization (SEO) as part of your strategy: Rising in natural search is the big bonus in social media. If you plan your social media carefully, your efforts will help all of your web presences rise in search engine rankings. Again, an outsider can quickly identify the steps you’ll need to take to get there.

So how did you do? If you saw yourself or your company’s social media strategy approach in any of the points above it may be time to ask for outside help.

Possibly related posts:
How to Sniff Out Social Media Snake Oil
10 Tips for Better Business Tweeting