Social media offers a fantastic opportunity for ecommerce businesses to sell their products – after all, you have the world at your fingertips (and you don't even need to go outside!) With many different types of social media platforms out there – from discussion forums to photosharing to bookmarking, it's well worth any businesses' time to get involved in them, in order to promote themselves. All types of businesses you can think of – from multinational corporations, to the little cafe on the corner of the next street – and everything else in between – all get involved with social media. And you should too!
Opening a social media account
The days after you open an account on any social media platforms can be exciting – that period when you wonder who you are going to follow, who is going tofollow you, how many people may read your content...it's no wonder that it can be so engrossing! Many people however, in a race to improve their social media marketing, just jump into the online world with both feet, without even thinking about what they're actually doing, or even putting a plan-of-action in place on how they can achieve what they aim to achieve. This can only lead to them not getting the best out of their social media account. No matter what the platform – be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ etc, the fundamentals are all the same – just like the people who use them.
Having a personal account is one thing, but if you rely on social media to help to promote your brand – the success of your account on there could potentially make-or-break your business in this modern world. Here we'll look at a few common mistakes that businesses make on social media
Common mistakes on social media
1. Before you start - put a plan in place first. Social media marketing works best when you put in place a detailed plan of what you want and how you think you can achieve it. This way, you are fully-prepared for anything that may arise. This process will need to be detailed with ideas on;
o The content you want to post, including any hashtags you wish to use
o At what time you should post during the day
o Replying to responses to your posts, as well as any conversations you may have with people
o Ensuring that everything is checked and proofread before you post
2. Poor profile. The first thing you should look at once you sign up for an account, is making your profile page as attractive as possible. You wouldn't go to work without any clothes on, would you? The same should apply for your brand's profile page! People will be more likely to engage with you, take interest in what you have to say, if they can see you have taken the time to make yourself look presentable online - that professional outlook can only be good for business. Be sure that you can come up with a good profile image, along with a stunning-looking header and an excellent, but concise, description of your services.
3. Broken links. Be sure that all links you post are working – aside from not making people annoyed at getting a '404 message' when the page they expect to load up, doesn't load up, it'll make you look thoroughly unprofessional and seem that you 'don't know what you're doing'. If you schedule posts – be sure to thoroughly check the links as sometimes the link and the rest of the post can get joined together, rendering the link useless.
o A 404 message is displayed when a link is clicked, the website it refers to is found, but the page that is requested to be displayed, cannot be found by the website's server. This commonly happens when extensions to a website address are entered incorrectly, for example. Because of the likelihood of this happening, this explains why it's one of the most-common error messages on the internet!
4. Competitors Content. This may sound very obvious – but constantly sending out links to a competitor's content will only harm your brand. Although sending links out to any great content they may post, every now and then, will show that you are interested in your chosen field – and users will be able to compare both of your services (yours is obviously the best) and decide on which to use, for example. However, doing it too much will only lead your followers into your competitor's lair – and you don't want that! So be careful not to send out to many links from your rivals – it's far better if you are able to come up with your own, great content anyway!
5. #Hashtags. Hashtags are clickable and searchable phrases that can be used in posts, to attract users who are interested in the particular subject that the phrase covers. This offers everyone an easy way to find what they need, about a subject that they're interested in, extremely quickly. Many people though, make the mistake of using the wrong hashtag or jumping on trending hashtags that have nothing to do with their services – which will only work to confuse and dishearten their existing followers (not to mention picking up very little, if any at all, new followers in the process!) Another common mistake people make in using hashtags, is quite simply not putting spaces in between the tag and the rest of the post, or even putting punctuation in a hashtag – funnily enough, this will render the tag un-clickable. So be sure to always check your tags!
6. Spamming! You may not even be purposely spamming – but the term, that describes random posts that are constantly sent out to gain attention, has become synonymous with people who simply post too much. Your followers don't want to see the same account constantly posting all day, every day – so be sure to control your flow of content so people don't get fed-up of your posts! It's best to ration your posts anyway – you can save those ideas that you already have AND you will have extra time to think of some more!
7. No Interaction. When signing up to social media, people want to interact with others. As a business, if you are seen interacting more with your followers, then they'll see you as more than just a 'faceless organisation that is only after their custom' and will be genuinely interested in what you have to post. Too many brands make this mistake of not interacting. Networking with your followers can be of benefit to you too – as you will be able to learn more about your potential customers and want they want.
8. Multiple profiles. Many brands, just to increase their social media marketing reach, resort to creating different accounts for each aspect of their business – unless you're a multi-million pound company with an household name, then this isn't a wise thing to do. If people see that you have multiple accounts then it plants a thought that your business could be spammy – especially if you use the accounts just to build followers. Make one account and stick with it.
9. Getting involved with polarising topics. As much as you should get involved with what your followers are interested in, be mindful of getting involved with any topics that could be in any way be polarising – not everyone will share the same point-of-view and as a result hold your account in low regard.
10. 'Like baiting'. On a similar subject, some social media accounts purposely stair up a controversial subjects just to receive more 'likes' and followers. The content will almost-always have nothing to do with the business that the account offers and is purely designed to gain likes and clicks, rather than being a true representation of the business. Okay, it may gain you a few extra followers – but will these people who follow you, only because of this type of content, be interested in your business? Or are they just interested in the controversial topic you've just posted about? Your existing followers, those who followed you because they are interested in your business, will see right through it and more than likely unfollow you, losing you a genuine customer. It's important to note that sites like Facebook have adjusted their website code to prevent this type of behaviour – which if indulged in, will lead to your posts not being seen by your intended audience. So be sure that you stay away from these controversial and inflammatory methods, because it will only give your brand a reputation that many people won't, ironically, 'like'.
11. Too Much Automating. It's understandable that businesses are busy places – we simply won't have the time to constantly use social media as we go about our work. In lieu of time to post, it can be too easy to set up automated posts to do the job for us – but doing this will only led to errors and mistakes, something which your followers will quickly get fed up with. A regular mistake, that even the biggest companies make, is automating posts which they won't proofread before they go out. This can lead to brands looking unprofessional and a little bit desperate for trade – which is an image that you don't want to project to your potential customer base.
o A classic mistake is the time Tesco's 'customer care' account used an automated message about their staff 'hitting the hay' for the day, which was posted during the horsemeat scandal that they and other supermarkets were being investigated for. This caused much hilarity and of course, outrage on the internet and made national headlines. If selling horsemeat was bad enough, they made the entire company look even more incompetent by using an automated post that wasn't checked by whoever had written it. Social media is littered with stories of companies who make these mistakes, so always be aware of the world around you and what you have written – even the most genuine of mistakes can be fatal. You can still schedule posts by any means, but make sure that they don't have the potential to make you look unprofessional and be aware of current events – always make building relationships with your followers a priority.
12. No Hard Selling. Have you ever been shopping when someone comes up to you trying to sell something and seems quite aggressive in their manner? You aren't going to buy anything from them, are you? Many businesses make the mistake of hard selling their services too – users of social media tend to not like this practice and quickly turn away as they'll see the company as being aggressive and not interested in them. Social media is named so for a reason – be social, build relationships with your community and then slowly introduce ideas in your posts, about how they might be interested in your services. That way, you will have genuine followers and a much-more pleasant experience using social media.
13. Buying followers. Many people think that an account with many thousands of followers is a sign of a good brand that is very knowledge and authoritative. Much of the time however, you'll find that the vast majority of their followers have no real interest in their business as you can actually BUY followers on a few of the social media platforms. These numbers are empty – the followers that you've just bought will not interact with you, let alone be interested in your services. It's always best to grow your followers organically.
Now you've got your plan in place and know what and what not to do – you're ready to sign up and begin promoting your brand! Good luck and happy socialising!
Promote – Experts In Search Engine Optimisation and Digital Marketing
Here at Promote we are a digital marketing agency who is able to offer help and assistance to online brands that are looking for help with social media marketing. Aside from these services, we also offer help on search engine optimisation – giving your website the best opportunity to be discovered by the right people. Vastly knowledgeable and experienced, our experts will go the extra mile to help you to learn how to get the maximum potential out of your website. For more information on how we can help, please feel free to contact us on 0845 050 2500 or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org