Time and time again we hear about the benefits of businesses and companies logging on to social media profiles in order to start engaging with their audience. Admittedly, this isn’t a bad thing and more so it’s inevitable that most businesses, if they haven’t already done so, will start using these sites fairly soon given the way the world is communicating.
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the big three; as of February 2012, Facebook alone has more than 845 million active users worldwide. Overall, there are a huge amount of social networking sites out there today and it’s hard to recognise all of them when the big three are dominating the market with increasing user numbers.
Nonetheless, there are so many companies, brands and organisations that want to use social media, or perhaps in some cases they are forced to sign up in order to keep up with competition, current trends, and customer demand. Whatever their intentions, sometimes we lose sight of the idea behind ‘social’, and as a result it’s important to highlight the things that you should avoid in order to get the most out of your profiles. If you don’t learn how to use social sites properly, your Internet marketing campaigns could suffer and this can result in serious ramifications.
When you take the word social out of the context social media, a phrase that we throw around all of the time without considering its meaning, you can see that these platforms are there for you to interact with your customers, help with their issues and questions, and engage with your circles to build brand awareness. To have a real effect you should only place content that will interest your target audience; as this is how you will generate more followers, improve traffic flow to your site and, hopefully, boost conversions. So what should you avoid?
Not Responding or Reacting Negatively
Not everyone will be happy with what you have to offer. People use social sites as a place to vent their frustrations when they have been treated badly or received poor or inadequate service. According to a recent Infographic by Zendesk, 62% of customers are looking for a greater level of support through social media.
Due to this, there may be times when you are sign into your account and notice that someone has posted negative comments about your company. In this instance, make sure you that you respond but don’t react negatively. You wouldn’t expect to ring a customer services line, tell them what you are unhappy with, only for the person on the other end of the line to go quiet and avoid the question or tell you that you’re wrong. The same thing should not happen for your social sites.
Ultimately you can really damage your reputation if someone is posting a continuous stream of negative comments without hearing anything back from the company about how they are trying to resolve the issue. What’s worse is the previous messages could be viewable on the profile wall, adding more fuel to the fire.
Be responsible, apologise, and then take action to resolve the problem. Rewarding customers is one way of maintaining loyalty, so you could offer them discount on your products as a way to resolve the situation. Alternatively, you could offer your services for free as a one off gesture to that person. Think carefully about how you can help your customers so that they continue to use your services.
Too much promotion can cause your customers to lose interest. If you are constantly updating your status then they are likely to switch off or even stop following you. Remember you are human, so try to not always post content that is solely work related. Use it as a platform to tell people what you are up to or ask a question to encourage feedback, but stagger your messages so that you are not updating every ten minutes.
Not Maintaining Your Profile
If you’ve set up your accounts then great, but it’s no good just sat there if no one is keeping an eye on it and maintain the content to keep it fresh. If a potential customer asks a question and does not receive a response then they are likely to look elsewhere or give you a negative comment. People want information and they want it fast, so always have a member, or a selected group of your team, taking on this responsibility to ensure that there is two-way communication between you and your customers.
Keeping Customers in One Place
Mix it up and merge your points of contact with customers. Don’t just keep Facebook fans on your Facebook page, encourage them to add you on other profiles so that you build greater exposure. This is beneficial if you start using one site more often than another for a short period of time, as the customers won’t miss out on relevant information that you have posted. Build, engage, and encourage a wider active audience for each profile you have.
This can be very damaging and also embarrassing depending on the content, but you should never mix your accounts. Your business profile is for business purposes and so you should always check that you aren’t posting a message that was intended for your personal profile onto your business account. This could be a mistake that you later come to regret, so keep your profiles separate.
Social media can be very effective when used in the correct ways, so always consider what you are looking to achieve, and more importantly look out for your customers as they are important people. Use these platforms responsibly and always consider the consequences of your actions as you don’t want to end up with a PR disaster on your hands.