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The Friday Digital Roundup is a witty take on the weird world of the internet. With fun stories from around the globe, it’s the only email newsletter you’ll actually read and enjoy!

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10 things you’re doing wrong on social media

Fri 28th Feb 2014
By Todd
Social Media

Oh no! Not another list of things about social media!? Well, yes and no. This list is actually a presentation I gave at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber Expo. It’s aimed at small to medium businesses who are new to social media. Don’t worry; hopefully it’ll tell you how to improve too!

I do like a good rant on the blog, but this is more “don’t do this, do that” so I’ll rant and then offer advice. OK? Good, let’s get into it.

Here are 10 things you’re doing wrong on social media

1. Selling

graphs and chartsNow listen up businesses. Social media was not created for you and your sales targets. Social media was created to help people stay in contact and the way it’s developed is because of the people using the platforms. Humans! Not corporate banners, shop fronts or suits with clip boards.

Social media (the clue is in the title, people) only works if you join the party. How do you think people would react if you turned up to a cracking party and tried to sell to everyone? Door slammed. You’re a door-to-door salesman.

So stop selling! Be social. Listen, engage, have conversations, build relationships. And yes this takes time – sorry.

2. Not listening

Pardon? Am I hearing you right, Todd?! Yes you are. You can listen on social media. You can read what other people have got to say about other businesses and yours. If you’re too busy talking about yourself you’re probably not going to hear what they’re saying.

Listening is a valuable skill in any walk of life and social media is no different. Search Twitter, engage on LinkedIn and join in with some Google+ communities. Don’t be selfish and just pump out your message like a sewage pipe into the ocean; take a swim and meet your audience.

3. Having incomplete profiles

An 'egg' on Twitter. Incomplete social media profilesWould you go to work without your shoes? No. So why do you do it on social media? An incomplete profile presents you as someone who couldn’t be bothered, or worse – someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

When you start connecting with people on social media, the first place they go is your profile. Fill it with juicy information. Add a QUALITY image of yourself (not a selfie in the toilets on a Nokia!). Put links to your website and blog and don’t forget that this is social media so a bit of fun and intrigue is great.

Ask yourself this: Would you have a market stall in a busy town and only put things out on the table when people arrived? No? So set your stall out before you start.

4. Not joining the conversation

People will notice you if you take an interest in them. Joining in conversations (even if they aren’t with a sales lead) will show people that you’re there and you care. Then you can start building relationships with them.

“Remember that business that followed me once last year but didn’t talk to me? They’d be good to buy from!” Said no one, ever.

5. Pinning your hopes on direct business

pin the tail on the donkeyHere’s the thing. Direct business from social media does happen but unless you’re selling low value consumer goods it’s not a common thing and it’s certainly not the Return On Investment that you should measure.

Social media works as a brand awareness tool. It can and does show businesses and brands as human and approachable. It may not sell directly to the people you’re engaging with (unless you’re Starbucks or someone selling across the globe) but it can act as a lead generator, an aftersales tool, or simply a way to hear what your customers are saying.

Learn the habits of each platform and earn respect from your audience. There are some fabulous brands out there who really are taking social by the throat! Check out our blog on the Sauber F1 team to see how a worldwide brand used it to brilliant effect.

6. Not using the lingo, innit! 

All social media platforms have a different way of going about things and with that comes a different language and tone. It’s the reason you should NEVER link all your networks together and press send on an auto-post.

Learn the language of your chosen platform. Twitter is short and sweet with abbreviations and hashtags. Google+ is an in-depth image and link-rich platform. LinkedIn is a more professional platform but still aim to get your message across in the first 140-160 characters.

Learn the language or you’ll just stand out for all the wrong reasons and you’ll look like you don’t know what you’re doing (see point three).

7. Not having a plan

So you hear all about this amazing business platform and a way to drive sales and you just rock up and get your hands dirty hoping for the best. That’s how you operate every aspect of your business, right?!

Yeah… that’ll fall flat on its arse! Have a plan of what you want to achieve. Set goals and targets and that way you can assess if your efforts are working. Set achievable realistic goals and focus your output on these. Don’t just sell but make sure you’re educating your audience with a stream of valuable content. Write a content strategy for the week/month/year and it will give you structure as well as focus to carry on.

8. Being needy!

a number clickerAre you begging for followers and likes? Do you run competitions to build your audience so that you’ll have more numbers to look at? “Ooh, look I’m nearly on a round number that never meant anything to me before, let’s push it!”

Stop it! If I had 100 followers on Twitter and they were the 100 most influential and engaged followers in my area of business and you had 10,000 junk followers that only followed you because you did a competition to win a teddy bear or a meal out, who’s going to achieve more? Who’s got a stronger, more engaged following?

Yes a high number of followers and fans can be important but it’s completely pointless is they don’t care for your brand or can’t help you achieve your goals. Build a focused army – not a bunch of randoms!

9. Not offering value

Let’s be fair. Most people want what they can get from life and I say “Amen” to that. It’s dog-eat-dog out there and social media is just a representation of life. Give your audience a constant feed of useful information about your business or industry that they can use to better themselves. Blogging is an extremely powerful way to offer value and that’s why we now offer a blogging service for our clients.

If you’re a vet, tell people how to clean their dog’s teeth and what to do to avoid Harry the Hedgehog being found in the bonfire. Offer meaningful and useful advice and information to your fans and they’ll stick with you and will refer you to people who need you. Turn ‘dog-eat-dog’ into ‘vet helps dog’ and you’re on the right track.

10. Just not doing it!

Get your head out of the sand - social media is here to stayThe number one reason social media won’t work is that you’re not using it. Obvious? Well this is for the people who gave up, the businesses that joined and left their account like a branded broken-down truck on the motorway of social. Don’t give up – change.

Don’t avoid the inevitable either. Social media is here to stay and I’ll spare you loads of stats to show why – just Google them.

If you’re unsure that social media is right for you, consider this. It’s here to stay and your competitors are on it! Watch this incredible video if you’re not convinced. I play this at the beginning of our workshop and training days and it’s not only a good ice-breaker but a good way in to a cold room of doubters.

Social media is a very powerful way to engage with and build your customer base. The only downside is it takes time and energy, and if you’re not prepared it can bite you back at any given chance. Good luck!

If you need help getting started or to improve your already sailing ship then give us a call/tweet/Facebook/+1/email. We’re always happy to chat social! Contact us now…

If you liked this post, then you’ll love this one“Here’s why your business blog isn’t working”

Over to you…

What are your number 11 and 12? What do you see too much from brands and businesses on social media? What do people forget to do?

Tags associated with this article

Social Media

3 comments on this article

  • Chris at 7:53am on March 24th 2014

    I really like the blog.
    It’s refreshing to read the don’ts as it’s been a wonderful reminder to be informative with the blogs which I am about to launch and to be more if an active member.. especially on LinkedIn.
    Thank you Jo.

    1. Graham Todd at 8:37am on March 24th 2014

      Thanks Chris, it’s great to know that our advice will be used to improve social media use!


  • Natasha at 15:23pm on March 24th 2014

    Great post Jo!

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