Back in May we did a spotlight on the top 5 brand social media fails which covered some of the biggest do's and do nots that a company ought to take heed of when carrying out their social media. From staying impartial to knowing when to simply stay quiet, a lot of the social media rules to live by that we laid out were rather self explanatory; and whilst it is always easy to point out where others went wrong – whilst inwardly chuckling as you watch them getting torn to shreds for their social media faux pas – it is ultimately futile unless you then go on to say how to do it right.
Social media expertise is something that very few people can truly attest to having. There a dozens of social media outlets, with new ones popping up all the time and old ones often changing the way they operate or are laid out. Couple this with the old adage 'you cannot please everyone' and it is obvious why many businesses would rather play it safe when it comes to social media; and that is if they don't choose to stay away from it all together.
Sign-Up & Log-In The first thing you have to learn when working out how NOT to fail at social media is that once you have signed up to a social media site, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, you are dedicated to it and will have to be active on it. You will be amazed how many business pages you will come across on various social media that have only got three or four posts and have not been updated since 2013, 2012 or earlier; and needless to say it does not paint them in a very good light.
Having an inactive page paints a very negative image of a company. It could suggest to potential customers that the business is not tech-savvy or that they cannot be bothered to keep up with modern business practices; but one thing is for sure, having a poorly developed thread is like turning up to a ball under-dressed – it's awkward, unseemly and obvious that you just didn't want to put the effort in.
Know Your Audience This is something that all businesses should know off the top of their heads, but when it comes to social media it is only half of the battle. You have to remember that all social media sites are businesses themselves and as such will have their own target audience which you will also need to take into account.
For example, Pinterest – a popular image sharing social media site – would probably not be an appropriate social media outlet for a primarily B2B orientated company that does not deal in aesthetically pleasing or visually stimulating goods; so making an account would be pointless. Linked-In on the other hand would probably be the perfect fit, as it is aimed solely at professionals and is a fantastic social media site for networking and establishing business-orientated connections and relationships.
It's Not About The Money Social media ought to be viewed at most as an indirect source of revenue, and to judge its effectiveness purely by how much traffic or how many sales it is generating on your site is a colossal mistake. To correctly view how useful social media is you first need to recognise its role in the day-to-day lives of people.
Irrelevant of what you may think of this, the fact of the matter is 80% of smartphone users will check their messages, emails, social media, etc. within 15 minutes of waking up, and, on average, will go on to check it 13 more times that day! Having a social media presence is all about visibility and keeping yourself in the public eye; because if you're not then someone else will be.
Turn Complaints Into Sales Being a business on social media, you will eventually get someone complaining about your company, its products, its employees, its management, etc. and no matter what they should never be ignored. Often their complaint will not come out of nowhere and will be tied to a negative experience that they have had with the business. If you do nothing you will definitely lose them and will likely appear arrogant and uncaring to other customers, but if you address them calmly and professionally you may be able to win them back.
The first thing to do is establish a dialogue that at the very least sounds personal. Customers are individuals and expect to be treated as such; the second your response is perceived as being scripted you will lose them. Secondly apologise, it goes an unbelievably long way. Thirdly your aim should not be to make their bad experience go away, but to ensure it never happens again to anyone else. People want to be heard and will often react positively if they believe their voice is being heard and what they have said is being acted on.
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