Ahead of a free seminar on social media for business, Suzannah Hastings of York content marketing agency Crowdbait reveals six things to avoid
By now, we’ve all heard about how important social networks are for business. In much the same way businesses all had to make the transition to having a website a few years ago, the shift towards each and every company having its own Twitter feed, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+ page is slowly creeping across the globe.
However, many organisations have created these pages and then become inexorably stuck. Let’s take a look at what you might be doing wrong, and how to go about fixing it.
1. Radio silence
If you’ve managed to build a profile or profiles on social networks and fill them in so that your company is more than just a silhouette or an egg, you may be tempted to sit back and congratulate yourself on a job well done. Sadly, this isn’t quite the case. It may feel disheartening to stand on a soap box when nobody’s there, but in order to build a following you’ll have to show to people that you have something interesting to say, and that means creating interesting updates right from the start.
2. Sell, sell, sell!
As realists we know that ultimately, you’re looking to set up social network accounts with the final goal of attracting more sales and providing your clients and customers with a reason to keep on coming back to you. Despite this, and possibly surprisingly, your social networking messages shouldn’t be used exclusively to sell to people. Put simply, why would anyone want to listen to what is essentially the same sales pitch, rejigged in 140 characters, over and over again? Knowing that you should be updating your social networks frequently makes many tempted to take the sales-only approach, which will only result in people very quickly skipping past your messages and unfollowing your profile or page.
3. Overly personal
If you must update your social networks frequently but you shouldn’t be selling, why not update people on your current activities, whereabouts, or personal gripes? This seems to be the logic taken by many tasked with updating their company social network profiles, but it’s sadly the wrong one. Your business social media should present a professional front to your brand. Whilst we’re sure that you’re very proud of your friend’s sister’s daughter’s role as the third camel from the right in her school’s rendition of Aladdin, talking about it on your accounting firm’s Twitter is simply not the right place for it.
4. Inconsistent brand voice
Keeping your personal life out of it doesn’t mean your social media accounts have to be stuffy and corporate. Look at brands such as Innocent Smoothies and Aviva, who have found a brand voice that lets them remain consistent in their tone. Decide on your manner and style, and stick to it as much as possible. A constant, coherent brand voice will let your audience know what to expect, whether that’s a jovial personality or serious thought leadership. It goes without saying that good spelling and grammar should be a part of whatever tone you choose.
5. What do you mean “social”?
The biggest thing many people miss when creating professional social media accounts is that they should be just that: social. Don’t make every tweet and Facebook post about yourself. Instead, listen to what other people are saying and interact with them. If your customers use social networks to complain, the worst thing you can do is not to respond. On the flipside, be sure to respond to more than just the negative comments. Show a little bit of love to your followers, and you’ll be rewarded by their continued interest in what you have to say.
6. Be interesting
Arguably, one of the most difficult challenges to get right amongst all of these matters is to handle them all whilst still finding enough interesting things to talk about. Using content marketing can be a great way of doing this. This works by creating interesting, helpful and relevant articles and linking back to them in the status updates you create. As well as giving you something to connect with your followers about, this is a great way of getting people onto your website and raising brand awareness. The more entertaining, informative or relevant you can make the content you create, the more likely you are to build a community around your brand.
If this has given you something to think about, there are still a few places remaining for a free content marketing seminar this Monday, January 14, given by York St John Business School in conjunction with local content marketing agency Crowdbait. They’ll be giving insider tips on how to tackle social media and SEO using your own resources, so do go along if you’d like to expand your business online more effectively this year.
Tickets and more information are available at yorkseminar.eventbrite.co.uk.