Social media is a relatively new area that even the experts are still working to master. If you’re starting a home business and wondering what to do, here are some important DON’Ts to avoid at all costs.
1. Thinking social media isn’t important for business.
Social media is a collection of platforms that allow people to communicate and share information online. Given a third of the world population uses the Internet, and there are 1.5 billion visits to social networks a day*, you can’t afford to not to be plugged in.
Compared to traditional media, it’s faster, cheaper and just about anyone can establish themselves as an “expert”. The big difference is you can engage immediately with your target audience (note: the keyword is “engage” and not “talk at”). Still unsure? Here’s a useful infographic showing the growth of social media.
2. No clear goals and objectives.
Like with anything, to succeed you need a clear strategy with goals and objectives:
– Goals are general directions that tend to be harder to measure and usually have a longer time frame.
– Objectives are specific steps that are measurable and set for a shorter term, to help you reach your goals.
For example, your goal may be to grow your community of networkers; and your objectives could involve engaging with them through social media, sharing information on your blog, and holding monthly gatherings for a personal touch. These are some examples of goals that may or may not apply to you, but give you a good idea of what you can achieve with social media:
- Establishing thought leadership
- Creating awareness
- Announcing new product launches
- Increasing reach
- Researching what customers want
- Creating word-of-mouth activity
- Growing your community
Then move on to your objectives. Make sure your goals and objectives are realistic; one way to help you do this is to remember to be SMART(ER): Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely… then Evaluate and Re-evaluate.
3. Abandoning what you start.
Building brand loyalty through social media is the same as with traditional media: you’re building relationships with people, and building relationships is a long-term process. What happens when you neglect a friend? You may grow apart and become near-strangers. It’s the same with social media: if you stop engaging with people online, they’ll stop being interested.
4. Not listening to conversations already happening online.
You’ll be amazed at what you can learn by just listening to what people are saying right now. Sometimes social media programmes are most effective when you listen without actually speaking. Find out what people already think about your business, and how you can give them real value. Yes, it’s important to respond to questions and brand mentions, but it’s just as crucial to engage those who aren’t talking about you, and convert them.
5. Not engaging with your audience.
People are not going to reward you just because you have a Facebook page and Tweet thirty times a day about your business. There’s a huge difference between talking at and talking with your audience: the former is bombarding people with product information or web links, whilst the latter involves actually conversing with your audience.
An obvious example of engagement is when someone approaches you with a problem and you offer them a solution. Of course, social media engagement goes beyond answering questions. Start conversations to find out more about your audience. It’s just like a real relationship with a friend. The closer you get to someone, the more they will trust you and want to work with you.* Based on Universal McCann’s Wave 5 study.