There is no denying the importance and influence social media now has over traditional media. But there are a number of mistakes someone using these channels can make that might backfire on them.
I had lunch the other day with a friend who runs a social media consultancy business. She helped us set up our corporate social media relaunch strategy. As simple as it is to set up a page and be there to share your brand’s story, it can be really challenging for a business to get it right, and that is where the role of social media consultants comes in. Think of your company’s social media page as a window display. If customers or potential clients do not like what it says, they could easily turn away and never come back.
My friend told me about one case where a client company found it hard to convey its message in 140 characters on Twitter. While some companies may feel they have more to say, here are some tips on how to manage your business pages effectively online:
• Don’t sign up for everything
With several social media options out there, you might feel the need to be on every channel. Depending on the kind of business you run, that should not be the case. Analyse which sites your target audience is tuned into the most, and be there. In the case of a financial organisation targeting institutions, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are great places to be, whereas Snapchat or Pinterest, for instance, would have no relevance.
• Don’t broadcast the same message across all your channels
It is most likely the same people follow you on multiple social media channels and you do not want to spam them with exactly the same content. Instead, consider broadcasting your message in different formats across the different channels you operate. With Twitter you could focus on writing a catchy headline or announcement, while Facebook could include a lengthier version with more explanation and a photo or video to showcase your product or service in more detail.
• Don’t focus on quantity
While you may feel the urge to increase your number of followers, ensure that quality is just as important as quantity. As cheap and tempting as it may seem, avoid buying followers. Some business owners can detect so-called “influencers” that have bought their followers. With the right content, you can attract your target audience. The most important thing that you want is to have users that engage with your brand and then turn into customers.
• Don’t do everything on your own
Managing different accounts for a business that has a lot to share can be time consuming, especially when you have to do it over the weekends or during your holiday. There are several online programs available that can help you schedule posts and upload content in advance to be released on a certain way.
• Don’t over-post
Stick to one to two posts a day at different times. The last thing you want is for your followers to think you are spamming them, and for them to stop following your page.
• Have a social media strategy
We often run different campaigns for our business, whether to highlight a new publication or share one of our CSR works. Perhaps you have a new product that you would like to highlight. Remember that working on a social media strategy is vital. Plan your campaign beforehand. What will you post, when will you post it, will you be running a blog? Will you be quoting different messages from the chief executive or senior management? Will you run a competition? All these things need to be pre-planned along with a media schedule to ensure you do not miss out on anything throughout the campaign.
With new channels popping up all the time, it is very easy to get your social media strategy wrong. However, following these tips will help you portray your business in the best way possible.
Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and communications consultant based in Abu Dhabi. Twitter: @manar_alhinai.
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