Normally, we like to avoid being negative when talking about social media for business. But ultimately, your business needs to grow, thrive, and blossom. You need to prune away any tactics that are hindering rather than helping you.
As a business owner, you’re probably used to being told a million different ways you should be using social media for business. Every agency and individual you speak to has their own ways of going about things, so it can be hard to cut through the noise and decide what will really work for your business.
No matter how diverse social media consultancy advice can be, there are some things that we can tell you that you shouldn’t be doing, with absolute certainty!
Don't participate in 'like for like' tactics
If you aren’t familiar with like-for-like or follow-for-follow trends, they essentially involve you following or liking the posts/pages of other businesses, and in return, they will likewise follow you or like your content.
These trends can be tempting, especially when you see dozens of other businesses participating in them. But don’t be fooled – even if these businesses have higher follower counts than you, long-term they will struggle with improving their engagement and conversion rates.
When you engage in a follow-for-follow trend, the followers you gain are likely to not be your ideal target customer to promote your products or services to. They’re only interested in growing their own follower counts. While these trends can help you gain followers quickly, social media marketing is not a numbers game.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a huge follower count to generate sales through business social media. Nurturing and maintaining relationships with your audiences results in an audience that is genuinely interested in your products or services. So, do spend time targeting your desired customers on social media – those that you know will love what you do, and will want to stick around to see your business blossom.
Don't be too salesy
It can be tempting to use social media purely to push new products and offers and to tell your customers why your products are so fantastic. But your followers don’t use social media to be bombarded with adverts all day long. They use social media to engage with content that they find entertaining or interesting.
Being too salesy in your business social media marketing can come across too strongly, and put off potential customers. It’s better to use social media to gradually nurture customer relationships. You wouldn’t propose on a first date, so don’t push for a sale in your first social media interaction.
Instead, do be creative. Think about the type of content that your audience wants to see. If you are lacking inspiration, see what’s working (or isn’t working) for your competitors. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Give a behind-the-scenes look at how your products are made, or a day in the life of running your business. This will show off your brand’s authenticity.
- Talk about your company’s ethics. What’s important to you? Are there charitable causes that your business supports, and why?
- Tell the story of how you began your business, especially if it’s unusual.
- Provide tips or how-to’s that will help your customers get the most out of your products or services.
Dont' be spammy with your content
While you want to be consistent and post often on social media, posting too often and without purpose can come across as spammy. If your followers’ feeds are flooded with your posts and they aren’t adding value to their social media experience, they will likely unfollow you. According to Sprout Social, 46% of social media users will unfollow a brand for posting too many promotional messages on their profiles.
When drafting your business’ social media posts, do always ask yourself what the purpose of each post is. How and why will it be interesting to your followers? By simply asking yourself this question, you will ensure that you only put out high-quality and relevant content.
Don't use engagement bait
But what exactly is engagement bait? You’re probably very familiar with the type of giveaway that asks you, in big capital letters, to “LIKE AND SHARE TO WIN THIS AMAZING PRIZE”.
While giveaways can be a great way to reward your loyal followers and help you reach new customers, when done wrong, they can make your business appear untrustworthy. Facebook in particular is cracking down on posts like these that appear spammy.
More than this, spammy giveaways won’t benefit your business in the long run. If anything, you will get a quick boost in likes, comments and shares, only to see your engagement drop again. If this happens, it’s because your giveaway hasn’t helped you to engage with the right people.
But not all giveaways are like this. Giveaways can be done in a way that’s safe and benefits your business on social media. So, do read about how to conduct a social media giveaway safely.
If you’ve never done any of the above – great. If you have, or if you are, don’t worry! With so much conflicting advice out there, and with business owners being pushed for time in marketing their businesses, it can be hard to know what’s right and wrong. The online news feed cycle is so fast, you can easily reinvent your brand on social media.
The key point underpinning all of these don’ts is one big must-do. Put your customers first. This is way more important than chasing numbers, like a higher follower count or higher engagement.
Think about what your ideal customer is like, and what they want to see on their feeds. Be human, and interact like one, and the rest will follow.