If you own a business or work for one, I’m hoping it’s a social one. I’m hoping you’ve embraced at least one social media platform and are working hard to engage and connect on it. If not, go do that. If you already are, you should appreciate this list of the worst advice out there for social businesses.
Try it All
Some businesses are so excited about every social platform that they get out there every time a new shiny object shows up. Vine, My Space, Eons, and Orkut appreciate your efforts. (Sorry, a little social media humor.)
Find sites that your ideal customer is on or ones your client demographic matches. Then be present. Share and comment on content consistently and you’ll see the same happen to yours.
Our Widget Works for Everyone
This is not traditional advice but it is something most owners will say to their marketing person when pressed with the question – who are we selling to? “Everyone” is not an answer. It’s the old question of can and should. Can you sell mini skirts to 80-year-olds? Yes. Is there a large market and will young people want to wear the same things they see their grandma wearing? No.
Narrow down your demographic and speak just to that person. You can have more than one demographic but you should be communicating differently to each.
If You Build It, They Will Come
In social media showing up is not enough. I can spend every day in the arena stands of my favorite sports team and I’ll never get drafted. “Being” on social media is not enough to get discovered and shared. Sadly, it happens on occasion and that makes everyone think they can be viral sensations just by pushing their own content, but there needs to be a back and forth between you and your audience.
Show up, share, and engage. That’s the only way. Creating a profile, online community, or group and waiting won’t get you’re the interaction you desire.
Don’t Put Price on the Website.
This depends largely on your industry but if you’re not putting price on your website because you’re afraid your competitors can see it; I assure you they probably already have. The benefit of putting price on your website (if it’s something that has a set price like software) is that a lot of people can self-disqualify without tying up your sales team.
Many businesses are under the impression their sales department is so good that when people with a small budget call, they can talk them into their pricey product. But you’re wasting everyone’s time. Even if they can be talked into it, your product’s price will make the buyer uncomfortable and eventually they will cut ties. Instead, move the question away from price by providing it on your website surrounded in value.
Be a Thought Leader
Becoming a thought leader is wonderful but being of value is better and most people don’t have it in them to truly be a thought leader. It takes a special kind of person to speak broadly of their industry and trends. But everyone can be of value. Anyone can produce content their audience needs. Everyone can analyze their data to derive what’s important to their target demographic. If you can be a thought leader, great. If that’s not for you then be a thoughtful leader and help your audience with the things you share.
A Final Piece of the Worst Social Business Advice People Follow
In the early days of social media, I was working for a tech company. I was the first person to claim their social sites and begin engaging with their audience. I asked my boss at the time, the head of marketing, if I needed my own personal profiles on these sites. He said he didn’t see the point. Like all good employees who would eventually start their own businesses, I did it anyway.
If you are sharing on social for your business, don’t neglect your own personal brand. Build on that as well. Think about large brands that use people (real and characters) to advance their brands. What would Apple have been without Jobs?
The power behind the business should be nearly as well known as the business. Some people don’t want to connect with companies because they’re afraid you’ll sell to them. But they will connect with other people. Build your social business but don’t neglect your personal brand. The two will bolster one another.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect to their audience through content for higher conversions and greater loyalty. Her articles have appeared in Associations North (formerly Midwest Society of Association Executives’) Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
Christina’s an introvert who loves presenting and working with groups to help improve their storytelling and content marketing, yet she feels incredibly awkward at cocktail parties.