“You can’t put stuff on the Internet that isn’t true…isn’t it against the law?”
I actually overheard that recently at a family function. Granted, the person making the proclamation was 12 years old, but I am reasonably certain that there are people of all ages who labor under that delusion. Truth is that not everything you find on the Internet is trustworthy. Between the erroneous news stories, ill-conceived recipes, and historical inaccuracies floating around on the web, you must be selective in what you accept as good, solid information…and what you dismiss as bunk.
Which brings me to advice from the “experts”…in this case, advice about how to use social media for the benefit of your business. There has been a great deal of advice on how to maximize the benefits of social media, but not all of it is worth heeding. Here are some of the “more awful” bits of social media wisdom that I recommend you avoid:
1) Get on every social media site you can find! Yes, there are a lot of great social media sites out there, and more pop up all the time… but not every one of them is the right place to showcase your business. Take, for example, Pinterest…a successful social media site, to be sure! But if your business isn’t the type that would translate well to Pinterest, or if your demographic doesn’t use that platform, then what is the point of channeling your energy that way? Find out where your customers are…and go there!
2) Strategy? Not necessary. Just keep in people’s faces! When you begin your social media campaign, you need to have a plan in place, otherwise your posts will be random or pointless. Decide from the beginning what it is you want to accomplish with your social media postings.
3) The more posts, the better! No one will follow you, stay your “friend”, or click on you if you bombard them constantly. Concentrate on good posts with meaningful content, and post them at regular intervals, such as daily or just on weekdays…consider, also, the times of day that your targeted audience will see and respond to them.
4) Your social media page is self-promoting. Not true! Don’t assume that people will simply figure out that you have a Facebook page or a Twitter account! You need to plug these accounts with links from your website and reminders about these accounts on your cards, literature, and your receipts.
5) You’re busy. It’s best to outsource the social media job. Social media should be a way to connect with your customers. That personal connection is really best made with your own “voice.” Who would know better about the challenges and trends of your business better than you would? You are the expert. Your content will be more meaningful if it is coming from you.
6) Now that you have social media, email is unnecessary. First, don’t assume that because many of your customers are using social media platforms, that all of them are. There are plenty of holdouts, and chances are good that some of them are your customers. Why alienate them? For me, email is a necessity, and certainly has not gone the way of the dinosaur. Also, don’t forget that usually one of the first steps in starting a social media account is to enter your email address!
7) Disable comments to avoid unfavorable posts. This is highly unadvisable. First, you have to accept that people are going to have something to say about your business, whether it’s on your social media page or elsewhere. Isn’t it better to allow it in a place where you have some control over the direction the conversation takes, particularly if the comments are negative? Also, disallowing comments may create the impression that you’re hiding something or that you’re not transparent. This can result in your social media campaign actually working against your business, rather than for it.
No doubt there are many other pieces of “sage wisdom” out there about social media marketing that would do you far more harm than good. Tread carefully and consider your sources!
This post is from Bola Olonisakin, Creative Head & Online Strategist at GTechDesigns LLC. Bola specializes in web design and development techniques, standards and methodology. She works to enable organizations to grow their web strategy and increase the visibility of their websites. If you’re interested in improving your web presence, feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or @gtechdesigns on Twitter. This post was originally posted at www.gtechdesigns.com.