I’ve been asked what is worse than not participating in social media? “Doing it wrong” I always reply without hesitation.
Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, and other social media sites are full of pages that will generate little buzz and no leads for the businesses currently using them. What’s worse is that some businesses are investing a lot of time and resources and scratching their heads that they aren’t getting more response despite all the effort. Minimal to zero results tempt the business to turn its back on social media altogether, which would be a disastrous mistake. How can businesses make socialm media work for them? It starts by avoiding some of the the most common errors…
1) Not posting consistently. No one will stick around if there is just one post per week. You have to have regular, consistent posts that engage readers and make people want to follow your page. Posting every now and again creates the equivalent of a social media tumbleweed blowing through town. If you don’t have the time or desire to post content, there are still options. Each platform is different, but on Twitter for example, tweeting 2-4 times per day is a good goal. You have to expect that most of your tweets won’t penetrate.
2) Not posting unique content. 2010 saw a dramatic increase in services that will post content for you. That is fine (We offer that service as part of our social media package), so long as the content is unique. If the content is generic and not unique to your social media page, that does not encourage interaction. Even worse is if a given business has different representatives with the exact same post content. Potential customers are smart, and will surf around, discovering different people with the exact same blog or post. They’ll see the business as faking social media, right when you’re trying to build trust.
3) Not interacting. Social media must feel HUMAN. Certainly articles can be re-shared, but there should be real comments to these articles. Even the worst social media campaigns will get a few comments from readers. Those comments should be responded to, as should messages received (that aren’t spam). Interaction is critical and if you’re not regularly monitoring your pages, you’ll never communicate and develop leads. It’s like a garden and you have to regularly water the plants.
4) Creating generic pages. It used to be that just having a page on Facebook or other sites was enough to take part in social media. Having a page is definitely better than not having one. Nowadays there are a LOT of people on social media, making it harder to stand out from competitors. One easy way is to avoid a generic Facebook or Twitter page by using customized features. Few take advantage of the customizable features and possibilities that sites offer. Most have plain Jane (my apologies to all visitors named Jane) pages with a basic photo and a white background. The eye rolls off of it and people don’t stick around. With a little graphic design and adding certain applications, you can stand out.