Time and time again, I observe creative businesses making the same social media mistakes. It’s really frustrating to watch, actually. I would go further to say that it takes every fiber of my being to not jump though my computer screen in order to shake the person at the other end while shouting, “what are you doing?” But alas, I show restraint in the hopes that a more professional, calm and cool manner will make non-believers into converts.
When it comes to social media I will be bold. Most of what I see people doing is wrong. It almost sounds conceited when I type it…and I honestly don’t mean to come off that way. Instead, if you understand that I really want to see businesses succeed, then you might have a better understanding of why I say such a thing. I won’t make a statement like that without backing it up and adding value. Criticism is not constructive without some suggestions of how to improve.
One of my missions is to get people to change their mindset when it comes to managing their own social media. I have spent a lot of time researching and working with business owners who are “doing” social media way better than me. I have read myself cross-eyed and experimented until my head hurt. LOL Despite all of that, I still love social media and using it as a marketing tool. I am always trying to increase my engagement there and as a result, my hard work has paid off in new friends and paying clients. I’d love to see the same happen for your creative business, but before you can get there, you’re going to need to correct some things you may be doing.
Here are the first 6 out of the top 12 social media mistakes I encounter online:
1. Social media won’t work for me
Unfortunately, you just may be right. I often hear how people “don’t get” social media…especially from those who have a creative business. I’m not just referring to the independent business owner like myself either. Even craft manufacturers and retailers suffer from this mindset.
Just like anything else…if you go into it expecting it not to work, it won’t! You’ve already defeated yourself by thinking that thought. Additionally, if you don’t “get it” how can you make it work for you?
The simple fact is that social media DOES work…if you are doing it properly. This takes spending time thinking about the who, what, where, why and how of social media as it relates to your business.
2. Not having a plan
Everything requires at least a little bit of planning. If you were going to buy a home, for example, you’d probably do your research. You’d decide on a location, check out the surrounding area, look into the school district, look at a bunch of houses, etc. Then you’d spend time planning your move.
It’s the same for social media. If you don’t do your research, take time to plan out how you are going to attack it and come up with a strategy…you are going to waste a lot of time and you will probably be unhappy with your results.
3. Not being familiar with the TOS of social sites
This is a HUGE one. TOS stands for Terms of Service. Every service based platform on the internet has one of these.
I cannot tell you how many times I have gotten panic stricken emails. “Facebook suspended my account…Why?” or “Why won’t Twitter let me follow any more people?” Why have these things happened? Simple….they didn’t know the rules. Take the time to check out the Terms of Service for the social sites you use. Then periodically check them to see what changes have been implemented.
4. Not using tools
Let's say you just bought a piece of DIY furniture at Ikea. Would you open the box, but forgo the directions and tools? If you did, you’d probably not get very far. Or, lets say they gave you one of those little cheap screwdriver tools. Shudder. You’ll be able to put the thing together, but it’ll go much quicker and smoother if you have your own powered, cordless screwdriver.
It is essential to use tools to help you manage your social media. They help you save time and maximize your efforts. There are a ton of tools out there that do everything from allowing you to schedule your posts to assisting you with following.
5. Too much talk….not enough listen
I cannot say this enough. If you know me personally or have followed this blog at all, you’ve heard me say it: Social media is about relationships! Who wants a relationship with someone who only wants to talk about themselves all the time?
Additionally, if you are not listening to the community you are building, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity. Your social media communities are like your own personal focus group. Ask questions. Get involved in conversations. If you listen…they will tell you what they need. This is your golden opportunity to fill that need.
6. Too much self promotion
I don’t mean to pick on any particular group…so please forgive me in advance. Let me say this one more time. Social media is about relationships!!! It is not a print ad, nor is it a place to blast market. I see this a lot on social media. In the craft and hobby industry, I see this happen most among Etsy shop owners.
But Theresa? What’s wrong with that? Aren’t I supposed to be using social media to market my shop?
The problem isn’t really in the messages themselves….the problem is that if you go to their feed, that is ALL they tweet or post. People connect with people, not businesses. People recommend businesses that have excellent customer service and with businesses they have connected with personally. If you take the time to get to know your potential clients and customers, they will in turn promote you by the good things they say and recommendations they make to their friends. Trust me on this.
Are you making any of these social media mistakes? If you are, no worries! It is never too late to start making some changes in your strategy. Start implementing some small changes today. I guarantee that you’ll see better engagement and a higher quality of followers. Don't forget to join me next week for Part 2 of this series. If you have any questions, just ask. I'm always happy to help.