I am reading a book about Global Communication and one of the pages has this phrase that struck me – “Connecting is not Communicating.”
It caused me to reflect on my annoyance with local businesses and their use (misuse) of social media. Connecting which enables you to have a presence is essentially the first step, communicating is how you harness this connection for YOUR greater good.
This article intends to highlight the DOs and DON’Ts of Social Media Marketing from a girl who wishes you would just get it right. Instances from Facebook and Instagram experiences will be used throughout this article.
DO have a social media presence: In the age of new media and the rapidly increasing pace of innovations in technology it would profit you to embrace social media and social networking platforms that are suitable for expanding your reach and services or products. When I discover a new or existing business, the first thing I do is to check to see if they’re on social media.
DON’T use your personal profile as a business page: Why? A number of reasons.
Firstly, I’ve noticed that on Facebook many personal profiles are locked. While it is definitely advisable to share your products and services with your friends on your personal profile, the intention for your business is to reach a larger audience. You want everyone who would possibly engage with your product or service to know and have access to information about it.
Secondly, it’s important to give your business its own identity; you’re building a brand with your business. A brand is much more than just your logo and tagline, it’s how you engage with and value customers, it’s how your package and disseminate information about your product or service, it’s everything the customers experience about your product or service.
Thirdly, people connect for information about your business, your weekend shenanigans or the disagreement you had with a significant other that you’ve since shared is of no interest to someone interested in your business information. They’re perfect for a personal page but not a business page. This can deter persons for connecting or staying connected. Be mindful of what is communicated at all times, because it will garner a response. What you share is a representation of you and your business.
DO respond to customers. It is absolutely necessary to go beyond connecting with customers to actually communicating with them. Social media offers superb benefits for you and your business; it allows for instant connections and feedback. The second you post on Facebook persons begin to react to your post – likes, comments, shares are almost immediate. I was scrolling through Facebook one day and saw that a store had a sale on shoes – $1000 for any pair. Now this is a SALE, I thought. I messaged to ask a question and to this day I’ve not gotten a response, but there I was prepared and ready to head down and do some shopping. Communicating is responding to those instant comments and messages that you receive, it’s engaging with your customers at every opportunity, and it’s also about creating opportunities for engagements.
DON’T have a BUSINESS page that is LOCKED. I like trying and learning about new things and places. One of my followers on Instagram posted about a club re-opening and of its new transformation. I decided to click on the profile to see for myself only to discover that the profile was locked. How are persons who are interested in your products or services supposed to get information about it? If that’s a strategy for likes, it will not happen. Your ultimate goal is to reach as many persons as possible with minimum ease – accessibility is essential!
DO understand that there are applications and websites that you can use to make your social media presence most efficient. You can edit and watermark your own photos, you can create your own posters and adverts, you can post to networks simultaneously, as well as many others hacks to make your experience exceptionally worthwhile and profitable. Remember, branding… and image is EVERYTHING.
DON’T ask someone who messaged your page to call or come in for information that you can easily give to them on the spot. Perhaps they’re messaging because they live out of town (or in another country) and stopping by to ascertain the price of a product is not that easy or maybe they’re out of credit or not next to a landline telephone and messaging is easier for them. Customers become disinterested when you refuse to maximize the benefits of social media. I was planning a trip to Tobago and after viewing the page of an amazing resort, I messaged for some additional information, I was told to call the resort for that information. I’m in Guyana and they’re asking me to call Tobago when you can share the information right here? Ridiculous!
A little closer to home, a spa shared information about a special and I was really in need of some spa services. I’m seeing the post on Facebook which means I am currently on Facebook, so I decide to message them on Facebook to make my booking. I was told that I would need to call the office to book. After I went on about the pros of Facebook (social media) and how simple it all is, they proceeded to engage me proper and took the booking.
DO share prices. Consider Instagram or Facebook your online store. Make the online shopping experience must greater by quoting the prices of products or services shared. When people see something they like the first thing they ask is ‘what’s the cost?’ That’s all, just tell us the price!
DON’T use social media companies to market your business if you’re not prepared to:
1. Give them adequate information about recent promotions / general information about the business. Remember the Tobago experience above, the person who responded to the message did not work for the hotel but worked at a social media company with zero information about anything at the hotel. And I was actually told that “I’m not from the hotel, we just handle communication for the hotel.”
Honesty is important but efficiency is better.
2. Inform your staff about the promotions / events that are being advertised by these companies on your behalf (on your page). On Facebook again, whilst scrolling I saw this restaurant advertising a ‘Mexican Night’, so I got Bae excited and we decided to go for dinner. When we got there and said that we’re here for the Mexican Night the waitress hadn’t the slightest clue about what we were talking about. I then pulled up the post, with menu and all and she still hadn’t a clue, no one had a clue. We were hungry so we ordered off of the menu and pretended like nothing happened.
Sneaking this DON’T in because of bickering I saw on Facebook recently.
DON’T attack your customers after a real or perceived ‘unappealing’ review. First things first, being able to read and being able to comprehend are two totally different things. As a business owner with a social media presence you MUST be able to differentiate between the two. Reviews are now a prominent feature on Facebook pages, helping business to ascertain what they’re doing right and areas that might require additional work. If a review is not to your liking, thank the customer for using your product or service and assure them that their comments are noted (at the very minimum). To attack a customer for pointing our shortcomings based on HIS/HER experience is unacceptable and augers horribly for you and your business. It’s not a personal attack, it’s really for you to be able to better your product/service and attract more customers / profits.
All things considered, having an online presence requires a strong strategy for engagement. Where will you post? What will you post? How often shall you post? Who will respond to posts? Do they have the necessary information? Whether you’ll share prices or not? What will you need to do more of to expand your reach and get new customers? – are a few of the areas to consider.
Remember the strategy is crucial in assisting you to amplify your reach, as well as profits – importantly profits.
Photo cred: Google