Social media is the best thing since sliced bread.
Okay, probably not. But for businesses, especially small enterprises, social media has offered ways to make a business grow that can make the effort far easier than it used to be just a few years ago.
If you are a small business owner, you can’t afford to turn a blind eye to social media.
Just like anything else, however, social media can make or break your business. It is a huge online world. But unlike the real world, whatever mistakes you commit on social media stick around forever, and can be played over and over again. Even with the best intentions, people are bound to commit some mistakes in the social space.
The Internet is replete with examples of mistakes everyone should avoid when dealing with customers and colleagues on social media. Fortunately, they can teach us as well as provide opportunities for unending humiliation and ridicule.
Below are some of the most common social media mistakes that people have committed. Like me, you may also have committed one or two of these errors. They are worth revisiting as a warning.
I, me, mine
Using social media for business isn’t bad. What’s not nice is being overly self-promotional. Being egocentric on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites is just plain rude. By focusing your messages on yourself and your business at all times, you’re bound to piss people off.
Just like when you deal with people in the real world, you should avoid being egocentric on social media. Be engaging in your communications and strive to provide value and point people to useful resources aside from your own.
The social space is full of noise created by users who simply repeat or re-post without providing any unique input to make it worth other people’s while. Try to avoid adding straight noise to the already loud world of social media by simply forwarding old news. Always try to provide relevant information. Mix in some of your own insights and experiences.
Follow, then delete
In the early days, lots of online marketers followed huge numbers of people, only to delete them as soon as they followed back. Newbie users of social media still seem to think that’s the way to generate big numbers fast.
When it comes to followers, quality comes well before quantity. You want people within your network who will truly benefit from following you, and who in turn will provide value and benefit to you.
Not responding to serious issues
Social media is an awesome customer service platform. The worst thing you can do is to ignore people’s complaints about mistakes or inconveniences for which your business may be responsible. When complaints surface, respond promptly, publicly, and above all, graciously. Offer ways to mend the rift. Social media provides you with an opportunity to position yourself and your business not only as an expert, but also as a professional that your customers can rely upon.
Not being consistent
Key to your success online is consistency. Keep doing what you’re doing for your customers on a regular basis. If you start out posting at least three updates a day to keep your audience in the loop, don’t drop the ball. Keep up the pace. In fact, pick it up to obtain even better results. One of the best tools I use to automate my Facebook and Twitter updates is Buffer.
There’s no excuse for committing spelling and grammatical mistakes online. Google Chrome and other web browsers have built-in spell checkers to make it easier for you to avoid embarrassing and very public mistakes. Don’t forget that no spell checker is capable of catching everything; get another pair of eyes, if you can. When the online grammar and spelling Nazis do find errors in your spelling and grammar, take the time to correct the problem and thank them for their assistance.
The social media world is full of eyeballs that easily notice mistakes. Once you’ve committed an embarrassing error in that arena, it could haunt you forever.
But if you stay disciplined and vigilant, social media can become your best ally for growing your business.