In the world of ecommerce, there’s no getting away from social media. It’s rapidly become something of a cornerstone in online success and that means that whoever you are, whatever area you’re operating in you should probably be using it.
The thing is though, that despite those ‘sign up for free now’ buttons they’ve all got, none of them are actually free – at least, not to you, the business owner. If you’re going to be on social media (and you should be) there’s little point in being half-hearted about it – a poor facebook page is worse than no facebook page at all. What this means is that you need to come to terms with spending time, money or both on making it a worthwhile tool, and like anything else that’s costing you in one way or another, you’ll want to get the most out of it.
With that in mind, here’s a little list of five blunders you need to avoid.
It takes two to tango
If you’re just putting up the odd status update or tweet every now and then, you’re not doing enough. You should be aiming to use social media as a conversational tool, and that means more than just talking at your customers.
Engage with people by using the tag function and give your customers an open invitation to talk back – you’ll find you’re getting a much greater degree of response as well as that all important brand recognition. After all, everyone loves a personal touch.
Know what to say
Following on from the first point, it’s important to be an active voice but that doesn’t mean you should be spamming your customers’ feeds with posts which have absolutely nothing to do with the business.
If you’re posting for the sake of posting, then hit the back button and wait until you have something genuinely worthwhile to say – it doesn’t necessarily have to always be about your products; it could be statistics about your business area or key topical developments in the field. Whatever you choose, remember to stay true to your brand image; if you’re a serious business then those stats are probably appropriate, if you’re more light hearted then a video featuring your employees might be better.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get
You could be tweeting to your heart’s content and cultivating a real relationship with your followers, but if you never make the move to turn that interest into sales then you’re wasting an opportunity. Don’t dive into business talks too soon, but don’t leave it until potential customers have already bought from someone else either.
No-one likes a spammer, but there’s no harm in reminding your followers what you can provide every now and then, or letting them know about a particularly interesting new product you’ve got in.
…but don’t be too assertive
I always think we should treat social media like the real world. Reminding loyal followers of a new and exciting product is one thing, but spamming people who you’ve never talked to before (strangers) with a high-pressure sales pitch won’t do much for your popularity.
Find a middle ground. Listen to your customers and know when a reminder of your services is appropriate – just like a real conversation.
Keep things simple
Social media, in fact the whole internet, is a rapidly developing place and there’s something new to play with every day. As we all know though, time for business development is slim and you don’t want to waste what precious little you have tinkering around with a shiny new feature which is ultimately useless.
By all means check these things out in your spare time, but don’t rush off and spend an hour changing your profile every time facebook announces something new – it’s probably not that important.
The most important thing to say though is not to be scared to dive in. It’s true that social media can be a bit of a minefield, but you’ll never get anywhere just reading guides like this. Get stuck in, get experimenting and get yourself known.
Rob writes for leading digital marketing agency Vision Media.