There’s plenty of advice out there about social media.
Some of it is brilliant.
Some of it’s meh… okay.
And some of it is downright awful.
If you ever come across any of these tips, run away as fast as your legs will carry you…
1. Facebook’s the Only Place to Be
Facebook is the world’s most popular network. It’s on course to hit 1.5 billion active users anytime soon.
Does that mean your business needs to be on Facebook? Perhaps.
If you sell to consumers, then Facebook is a great place to be. But if your customers are other businesses? Then other networks will be far better for promoting your products or services.
The key here is to choose the social networks that are right for you and your brand.
2. Email is “Old Hat”
Yes, email was around before many of Generation Y were even born (that’s why we call them digital natives). But that’s no reason to dismiss email.
Rather, email’s long life – and the fact that everyone uses it – is a big reason to embrace email.
Did you know that for every dollar invested in email marketing, the average return is over $40?
Email’s here to stay – so make sure it’s integral to your social strategy.
3. Ignore (and Delete) Negative Comments
You think that ignoring the mud-flinging makes you look professional and detached?
Then you’re wrong.
Consumers are increasinly turning to social media with complaints. And they expect a response.
So make sure you know how to use social media as an effective customer service tool.
4. Never Let Your Employees Anywhere Near Twitter
This is a “helpful tip” you’ll probably hear from a lawyer. Their heart is in the right place. They want you to avoid a lawsuit.
The problem is, lawyers think like lawyers. They don’t make great marketers.
Nowadays, people want to engage with businesses. They want to see that you’re human and vulnerable – and (horror of horrors!) you sometimes make mistakes.
Yes, letting your team loose on social media is risky. And you should always train them first. But it will help you engage with your customers and ultimately be good for your marketing.
5. You Should Never Automate Updates
Some people argue that your social media accounts are only authentic if you’re sitting at your computer (or on your smartphone) when you post updates.
We call baloney.
Scheduled updates are vital to any sensible social strategy. They give you a social presence around the clock without the need to constantly sit at your computer. If you did that, you’d never get anything else done!
Of course, you should make sure you have time to go live on social media from time to time. We recommend logging in for 15 minutes a day. That gives you time to engage with your followers without sacrificing your calendar.
6. The More Social Networks You Use, the Better
Here’s the spirit behind this advice: spread your net wide, and you’ll catch a ton of fish.
The truth? Spread yourself thin, and you’ll struggle to have any impact. Plus, you will burn out.
Social media is constantly changing. New networks are coming on the scene all the time. It’s good to keep track of trends, so you can stay ahead of the crowd.
But jump on every bandwagon, and you’ll be taken on so many rides you’ll have no time for your core audience.
What’s the right way of doing things? Find the networks where your customers are most likely to hang out, and use those.
7. You Need Thousands of Followers to Succeed on Social Media
Having thousands (or millions) of social media followers is a huge asset for your business. We’d never deny that.
But far more important than a big audience is the right audience. Quality trumps quantity any day.
Your ideal followers:
- Are in love with your brand
- Have similar values to your brand
- Are engaged – they read and respond to your updates
In other words, they’re your true fans.
With just a handful of like this, you’ll go way further than with thousands of zombie followers.
8. Only Post at Optimal Times
We’re somewhat guilty of proliferating this advice. One of our most popular posts is The Best and Worst Times to Post on Social Networks.
You might guess that you should only post at the best times, when your audience is most likely to be online.
It’s certainly true that you should be posting at your best times. But you should also be posting at other times too.
Sometimes you’ll get the best engagement during downtimes, when only a few people are online.
9. Social Media is Great Because it’s FREE
Social media is brilliant because you can reach a huge audience without sinking a ton of money into it.
But that doesn’t mean that it’s free. To get your voice heard on social media, you’ll need to devote a significant amount of time to updating your feeds and engaging with your followers.
You will also need to make the most of your creativity. To be a success on social media, you need to draw on your smarts.
On top of that, using social media effectively can cost money. Investing in ads, scheduling tools and analytics tools can be money well spent.
10. Always Keep it Professional
Yes, you should have a professional approach to social media. But that doesn’t mean you can’t reveal who you really are.
In fact, it’s really important to share your brand’s story, to let your personality shine, and to let people see beneath the hood of your business.