Dropping dishes in a restaurant.
Your phone ringing at a funeral.
Or ‘paper’ stuck on your shoe at a wedding.
It takes a few years, but, we all learn to double check — to look down and to look up.
But, how do you know a Facebook faux pass from a social embarrassment?
Thinking about what your customers want vs. what you want.
Here are my 10 beginner blunders to avoid. But, no. 4 still baffles me.
1. Not Replying to Comments
Seriously? Not responding? Wow. #Shocking
Should you reply to a comment? I say yes, but, I am old fashioned type of guy and maybe I’m just doing social media wrong.
A comment is someone reaching out and talking. Comment is maybe the beginning of a relationship. A relationship which could lead to a sale.
Ever heard of the virtuous cycle of comments? The more likes, comments and shares, LCS, you get, the more your post is served to your fans, which exposes it to more fans, for more likes, comments and shares – a virtuous cycle.
So answering comments is good manners, builds relationships and helps get more likes, comments and shares. #AGoodThing
How to Fix – Add desire, mix some humble pie, press the reply button and type “thanks for your comment” and add your special sauce of caring, empathy, and feedback to continue the conversation. Read this blog for more for Digital Marketing, techniques, strategies and help.
Not Replying to comments is not as bad as the next beginner mistake;
2. Ignoring Complaints
Brands ignore complaints? Really? I guess they could. But, ignoring complaints is the nail in the coffin of your business. Why? Because a) it’s is bad customer service, and b) bad news spreads faster than good news.
Customer service (good and bad) is cited as the main reason for leaving a brand. Normally a business wants to keep customers, not lose them. You have invested heavily (money, time, acquiring fans, followers, and customer) so why would you jeopardize this relationship by ignoring complaints?
How to Fix – Be aware (and weary) of comments on your page and mentions of your brand online. Reply within hours, with a big dose of ‘sorry we screwed up’ and ‘how can I make it right for you’. And, if the person gets hot and bothered, immediately take the conversation off social. Immediately off social.
Ignoring complaints is a kissing cousin away form one way engagement:
3. One way Engagement
Really? On social media? I guess all talk and no listening does happens. But, what’s the point?
Maybe your customers and fans have important things to say. The only way to hear them is to ask and then listen. Try fostering conversations by sharing and posting interesting content. Like following your content plan.
How to Fix – The root of this problem is deeper than just holding a conversation with your fans and followers. Asking the fundamental question ‘why are we on social media?’, what is our business goals best starting point?
One way engagement is a beginner mistake, but not as bad as set it and forget it:
4. Set it and forget it ‘strategy’
Is your Facebook Page neglected? Have you seen those websites with ‘all’ the social button on their website — and no updates.
Beginner mistake number 4. Setting and forgetting.
Every small business, now, I hope, understands how important social media is for the growth and survival of their business and brand. The challenge, after the honeymoon period, is the daily resources sapping grind of content creation, curation, community building and lead generation.
When that boat anchor feeling arrives, brands silently enter the, the uh…. let’s ‘forget social media’ phase and leave it all to rot on the vine of that did not work ‘strategies’.
How to Fix – Delete you social media pages and fast. I’ll wait … done? Good. Or better is find the resources — people, money, and expertise — and revive your community.
Your business is better with a community.
Setting and forgetting is the worst of the worst rookie moves, but, what if I cannot read what is on your website?
5. Mobile Optimization
Facebook, as a platform is mobile/smartphone/tablet optimized.
The rookie mistake is your website. Humor me for 5 seconds.
Cut a small hole in a business cards, big enough to push a pencil through. Now, hold that card about a 8 inches from your eyes and read this blog post. Can’t do it can you? Ok, now you know what it feel like to read your website on a smartphone.
Not a pretty picture. Well actually not any picture at all and more like a hole in a card.
‘Why should I worry?’ Yes, why?
Another simple test (is you still don’t believe your site should be mobile optimized) is look at your website analytics (Google or otherwise) and see the amount of traffic from smartphones and tablets. If smartphone, tablet visits are greater than 10% of your total traffic you are losing business. Plain and simple.
Also and importantly, Google Webmaster tools includes a section dedicated to Mobile Usability. Mobile usability tells you how good or not your website function on a smart phones. If Google thinks mobile usability is important (for people) so should you.
Update see image at right from mobile Google results indicating a site is mobile phone friendly.
How to Fix – If your website is build on WordPress then install a plug-in. Or, better, get a theme which is responsive. If your site is not WordPress, talk with your web developer to make it happen. Today.
Lost traffic is lost business, lost business is lost money. Which is terrible and so is using social like a its a late night infomercial:
6. Using Facebook As Your Private Advertising Channel
Is your daily ‘blue plate special offer’ that special?
Are you guilty of — here-is-another-10%-off-because-it’s-the-only-way-we-know-how-to-use-Facebook-to-get-sales-special-offer, offer?
I get it, ok:
- I understand your offer is special. It special because you needs sales. But, special for who? Your fans? I don’t think so. Do fans care about your business? Nope.
- If every Facebook page offers a ‘blue plate special’ is yours special?
No, yours is not that special. #JustSayingIt Just saying it!
Are fans and followers your private audience? No, absolutely not. Your fans have choices and they choose to ignoring your daily ‘blue plate special’.
Don’t believe me, think I am cracked, and blowing smoke?
Fire up your Facebook Insights and your Google Analytics and look to see where your sales are coming from. Go ahead, I’ll wait. So is 100% of your sales come from Facebook? 90%?, 10%? Somehow your answer does not surprise me. Maybe it is time to do some real marketing on social. #JustSayingIt
How to Fix — How to sell on social? Build an audience, add massive value to foster trust, get email addresses, nurture people with email, add more value, until they are ready to buy. Wash, rinse, repeat and improve your process.
The better use of social media is relationship building, and not as your private advertising channel.
Don’t believe me? You shouldn’t. Check your Facebook Insights. Then maybe its time to do some real marketing.
Numbers don’t lie.
That much I do know. And how do you build a community where people trust you? With content.
7. No Content Marketing Plan
Have you seen the Facebook pages that only post pretty pictures and offer ‘blue plate specials’? Do you get the feeling they are doing, RAM, random acts of marketing? Or is there a method behind their madness?
We were all sold a ‘pig in a poke’ by the ‘gurus’. Hug your neighbors, hug your friends, rainbows and unicorns, happy ever after in the land of social media. Sales will rain down upon you in rainbow colors like the monsoons in India.
Well it did not really turn out that way did it?
Without a content marketing strategy, and editorial calendars, random acts of marketing, RMA, is the only tactic available.
Why is a content marketing plan helpful? (this is the short answer!!) Content marketing connects your business objectives to your sale via content. And provides:
- Creates awareness of your brand in search and social
- Answers the question you prospect have
- Helps convince prospects your product is the right one. And.
- You have a plan to work towards
- You direct the topic of conversation with your community
What could be easier?
How to Fix — The short answer, (how do I get content) is create and curate content — a mix of text, audio, video, images, graphics, photos — which answers all the question your prospects have about their problems. This content discusses the solutions (from general to specific) of the problems your prospects are trying to solve.
Host these answer on your website and blog. Then use this content — text, audio, video, images, graphics, photos — to create a conversation with your community on Facebook and social media.
Simple said, not simple to do.
Random acts of marketing is the shotgun approach of social marketing. RAB, random acts of branding, is also a beginner mistake to avoid:
8. Inconsistent Branding
Do you know why McDonald is wildly successful? No, it is not the low price or the ‘high quality’ food. Their success comes from consistency. Walk into any McD’s, Munich, Madrid, Minneapolis, or Memphis and the food and experience is always the same. Count on it, all the way to the bank. See those golden arches and you know what you get.
Now look at your own digital properties — your website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. — do you offer a consistent experience? Similar colours, logos, imagery and ‘tone’ of voice in your copy?
Why care and why bother?
Just like McDonalds provides a consistent experience so you should follow their multi-billion dollar example.
How to Fix — Visual branding is actually easy. DIY your branding with Picmonkey, Cavna (or the get help via specialists on Fivver) as they have premade templates and image sizes for Facebook, Twitter etc. Upload your logo, pictures, copy, save, download and upload to Facebook, Twitter.
9. About Us Page
Would you like to know the biggest digital marketing secret of all? Your ‘about us’ page is not about you — it’s about your prospects and their problems.
How do you expect people to get to know you, like you, and trust you with an empty about us page? #JustSaying
And not surprising ‘about us’ pages, are the second most visited page on you website.
Why? Base reason number 1 — Because people want to know who your are. So a blank ‘about us’ page is a missed chance to build trust.
How to Fix —
- Start with your customer’s needs. People care about benefits they will get, not the features
- Think facts, not superlatives – if you’re the best then give facts or testimonials.
- Be honest and upfront – if a start-up business say so, if you are a home based business say so.
Write your about us page. And while you are at it update your website about us page.
10. No Hashtags or not Enough Hashtags
Why use hashtags on Facebook? Because they are magic.
Magic. No not unicorns.
Hashtag link (connect) your posts to every other post on Facebook using the same hashtag. Get that? A link between your post and all other posts using the same hashtag (if the privacy setting allow).
How does this help?
Hashtags expose your content with people who are not fans of your page, or friends of your fans.
1) For example, if you talk about ladies fashion, on your Facebook Page, and use the #Fashion hashtag, every person clicking on the #Fashion hashtag can find your post on your Facebook Page. #Exposure
2) Trending Hashtags – Facebook is rolling out the trending hastags features (along with lots of other features) to all users. Whilst it’s limited in its present usefulness and number of users, I expect this roll out to happen as the months pass. Follow the Girl and Boy Scout Motto – #BePrepared and use hashtags.
How to Fix — The ‘trick’ is use hashtags naturally. Two or three in an update is enough. Write first, hashtag second. Also hashtags must relate to your subject in general – #Fashion- or specific -#PradaLBD . Naturally, you can mix general and specific hashtag in the same post.
Required Reading – Take Charge of Your Hashtags
10 Facebook beginner mistakes and what to do to fix.
Can you add any? Let me know in the comments.