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Best practices Social media

Six social media sins of business owners (and how to avoid them)

Social media is an important part of marketing for any growing business. For small businesses, it can be an effective way to get the word out without blowing a your small marketing budget. Since anyone can set up a social media account, it can be tempting to jump in right away without getting to know the various networks.

To avoid crucial mistakes when you start posting on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or one of the many other networks, be sure to avoid these common social media sins:

Shameless self promotion

Over-marketing remains one of the biggest social media nuisances. Marketing messages certainly have their place, but when a brand only exists on these sites to blast promotions, that business will eventually find itself with very few followers.

While an occasional promotional post can be very effective, brands should put the majority of their social media efforts toward sharing useful information, interacting with customers and peers, and developing an actual social media strategy. If your interesting posts are shared and retweeted, you'll reach new customers who will click over to your website to learn more about your products or services.

Lack of persistence

Many business owners quickly discover how time consuming social media management can be, and either lose interest, or get stuck trying to come up with interesting content. Instead of trying to come up with social content at the drop of a hat, consider creating a calendar to automatically publish content when it's needed. Software like OkToPost and Pagemodo can help accomplish this without breaking the bank. This will keep your followers constantly entertained, and allows precious time to be spent on business operations.

Failure to give

Soon after joining a few social media sites, brands often begin to wonder why none of their messages seem to get a reaction. They may observe other brands posting similar content to stellar results. The truth is, those brands have likely spent time giving back to the community in order to build a follower base that will be there when they need information shared.Instead of setting up an account and waiting for customers to find you, consider following people within your industry you respect. As you attend conferences and make business connections, add the people you meet to your social media network and actively engage with them on a regular basis. Followers will naturally find you once you've begun interacting.

Missing customer service opportunities

When customers have something to say about a business, they increasingly turn to social media to let the world know. When businesses allow those comments to remain out there without replying, they risk reputation damage. Every social media post is a customer service opportunity for a brand, whether the post is a complaint or a compliment.To ensure you never miss an opportunity, set up alerts through a service like Google Alerts or Mention for your brand name or your products. You'll receive an alert when those keywords are mentioned online and be able to respond quickly.

Making it personal

The first thing you must do when you're ready to set up an online presence for your business is to create new accounts on all of the social media sites you plan to participate. Even if you have accounts you've used for business in the past, if you mixed business and personal, you need to separate the two with a new account. Once you've established a professional presence for yourself, it's important to be completely professional at all times. Avoid expressing opinions on topics like politics or news unless they are closely related to your business. Posting personal information or controversial opinions will only serve to alienate customers and colleagues.

Bad mouthing the competition

A little competition can be fun. There's a thrill associated with beating your competitors in search rankings or landing more business at their expense. As exciting as this may be, however, it's important to avoid giving the appearance of being anything less than supportive of others in your industry. This includes direct competitors.

Instead of beating your competitors down, try building them up. If they win an award or reach a major milestone, publicly congratulate them. You may build a positive connection but even if you don't, you'll show your customers and colleagues that you're a good sport. To build brand recognition and reach new customers, a professional, an active social media presence is a necessity. When businesses act professional at all times, they build a positive reputation and increase the chance that customers will buy from them. If you're setting up your social media accounts for the first time, try following brands who have been acknowledged for doing social media well and learn from the way they handle different situations.

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