The Top Five Mistakes Small Businesses Make on Social Media

Stijn Hendrikse
Stijn Hendrikse
18 September 2014 Business Insights

Laptop with Social Media

Social media can be an effective sales and marketing tool for small businesses. But are you using it wisely?

About 80 percent of small businesses are using social media to find new customers and grow revenue, according to a LinkedIn survey. Of the fastest-growing small businesses surveyed, 82 percent said social media helps them generate new leads.

But creating and maintaining a positive social media presence takes time and resources — two things small businesses don’t always have in abundance. Here are the top five mistakes small businesses (and large companies too) often make on social media, and what you can do to avoid them.

  1. Not having a social media strategy. As with any outbound communications efforts, you should have a social media strategy. Huddle together with your employees and colleagues and ask yourself: What are you trying to accomplish? How do your social media goals tie into larger business objectives? Who are you hoping to engage with, and why? How frequently will you post updates to Facebook, Twitter, or other networks? Who will handle the posting? What is the “voice” you want to convey: Funny? Smart? Helpful? All of the above?
  2. Spreading yourself too thin. Be realistic about the time, efforts, and money you can devote to social media. It’s better to have a strong presence on one or two social media networks than to only occasionally post to five or six.
  3. Not monitoring what’s being said about your company. Did someone just tweet, with an @mention of your company name, about the great phone support you gave them? Thank them right away with a tweet, @mentioning them. Should someone write a negative post about your company, it’s even more important to respond immediately. In both situations, a quick but thoughtful response shows you’re “listening” and care about your customers.
  4. Not measuring results. If you don’t know how your audiences are reacting to your social media updates, you might be wasting your time and efforts. You can obtain social media analytics using a variety of free tools. For example, Klout lets you see which of your social media posts had the biggest impact, and Twitter recently added free analytics for its users.
  5. Expecting miracles. Some small businesses assume that simply posting regularly to Facebook or Twitter will bring them new customers. It’s not that simple. Return on investment takes time. Be patient. Keep posting. Learn from what others are doing on social media.

Ideally, your social media postings should be just one channel in a multi-channel communications strategy. Advanced contact center software can help you monitor Twitter and Facebook accounts along with email, phone calls, text messages and other channels. For more tips and ideas, check out Social Media Today and SmartBlog on Social Media.

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