Social Media Sucks & Sucking at It Is Normal
It’s easy to make a case for the importance of social media. I mean, have you seen the statistics lately? We won’t get scientific but we will highlight that at the end of 2016, 2.8 billion people were using social media with 83% of all Americans having a social media account. So why is this important to know? It’s simple, I’ve talked to many business owners who are on two spectrums when it comes to social media. First, we have those that are too lost in the fog of their ego to realize they suck at social media. Second, are those that know they suck at social media and have no idea where to start. We’ll focus on the latter because the first ones will come crawling for help sooner rather than later.
If 83% of all Americans have a social media account, we can toss the idea that it is a place for just Millennials. In fact, 64% of U.S. adults aged 50-64 use at least one social media account and 34% of adults 65+ can be found clapping back at the naysayers by dominating the web. The other demographics, well as you can figure, spend more time playing with themselves than others. So, we know people are using social media regardless of age, and you’ve taken the first step, admitting you have a problem, so what now? Now, we focus on some best practices and some not-so-true misconceptions of social media.
The Big 3 & Their Social Purpose
Facebook – Used to build brand recognition & brand loyalty. Use this platform to gain a relationship with your customers. Post 2-3 times per week.
Do: Keep content interesting. Share what people are saying about your business, relevant blog posts or news, what happening with the business, etc.
Don’t: Just talk about yourself. Facebook is relationship building. Skip the daily specials post (no one sees it), cross-posting (uploading on Instagram and auto-publishing to Facebook), and drop the hashtags! If you have found a way to use a trending topic within your post, then using a hashtag is fine, ex. #arborday2017. One trending hashtag per post MAX!
Check out this awesome infographic for more information on The Do’s and Don’ts of How to Use Facebook for Business.
Twitter – Quick blogging. Twitter should be about quick updates or breaking news. You have 140-characters to get people interested, make it count. Post 2-3 times per day.
Do: Share information on contests, specials, collect feedback, or talk about important things with the business. Make sure to share other interesting, relevant information from different accounts. Use specific hashtags relevant to the post ex. #518news.
Don’t: Skip the cross-posting! It won’t fit and people shouldn’t have to navigate away from the social app to understand what you’re talking about. Remember the goal is to have people like and share your updates.
Additionally, check out these 31 Twitter Tips: How to Use Twitter Tools and Twitter Best Practices for Business.
Instagram – Use this photo platform to tell a story about your business. Gain followers who are interested in seeing your journey. Post 2-3 times per day.
Do: Keep content focused (similar in nature) but not the same. Maybe you show behind the scene snip bits of you making your products or take your followings with you on trips to meet new clients. Use hashtags relevant to your image ex. #longhairdontcare
Don’t: Post content that doesn’t fit the image specs. You can’t fit a square peg in a circular hole so don’t try on your social media. Instagram is a visual app, uploading content that is text heavy is pointless. The platform came out of a lack of readership, posting stuff for people to read is a waste and not the purpose of participating on this platform.
Here are 10 Instagram Tips for Beginners that can shed more light on what to do next.
Important to Know
- You don’t have to participate on every social media platform. Pick one or two that you know your customers participate on (that’s the whole point of social media marketing) and focus on them. It’s better than stretching too far and failing on all of them.
- USE “WE & US”, NOT “I & ME!” This is my ultimate pet peeve. Your business is a brand and an entity. When you open a business bank account, the banker tells you that the business is now their customer – not you. When posting from the company page, you’re representing everyone involved from staff to vendors and beyond.
- Keep it simple. Social media shouldn’t be hard. If you suck at it, it’s because you’re trying to do too much. Take a step back and focus on what matters most – making a connection with your customers.
Using social media is important for every business. There are ways to use it appropriately which helps to build your company’s brand recognition and loyalty. Then, there are ways to use it incorrectly which can deter customers from engaging with your business. Personally, I make huge decisions on whether to buy from a company based on their digital presence. Why, do you ask? Because if they are willing to put out just anything on behalf of their company, how can I trust they are taking their time to develop their products or business correctly? Everything you put out into the world on behalf of your business, represents your brand. Remember to think about who you want your company to be every time you choose to do something online – it can be the difference between making a sale or feeding the competition.