Social Media is a good thing. There is absolutely no doubt about that. It´s a great place for prospecting, listening, having some great conversations, and building relationships. The primary focus of a social seller should be engaging with people and achieving brand awareness.
All these facts sound really exciting and the goals reachable, but it can also create trouble if your social media strategy is not used correctly. One thoughtless mistake on a social media platform could have remarkable consequences for your customers, prospects, or your brand. And believe me, repairing a bad reputation is serious and difficult.
So, let’s talk about the “Don’ts” of social media activities:
#1 Don´t Misunderstand Social Media
Social Media is a communication channel and NOT (!) a marketing channel. Why? Because it´s not a one-way medium but a channel for two-way (+) dialog. Social Media simplifies the way we follow and interact with information. Every interaction you have with a prospect or a customer is a chance to show your high-quality customer service and expertise. Keep in mind: Everything you do on social media is forming a profile of your brand.
#2 Don’t Try to Sell Your Product or Service Immediately
If you connect with new people, the worst thing you can do is to “push” a sales pitch at them. People are not interested in getting bombarded with sales offers. Instead, have a deeper look at their profiles, get to know them, and identify their needs and their pain points. An important part of a sales process is getting know your prospects and establishing relationships.
#3 Don’t Be a Poor Listener
Are you really listening to what people are saying about you and/or your company? Social listening offers salespeople opportunities to engage with prospects to qualify them as viable sales opportunities. You have the chance not only to understand real conversations, but to learn how prospects are thinking and acting — and what matters to them as they consider a purchase. Listening is an important skill in any area of life and social media is no different.
#4 Don’t Forget: It’s All About Engagement!
If you’re on social channels but are not actually engaging, you’re just wandering around a wasteland! Engagement is a core part of any social media activity. Here’s the analogy: Engagement is to social media as honey is to bees.
Social media engagement is not a passive experience; it’s a way to proactively interact with someone who might be interested in your product or brand now or in the future. Note that engagement is closely linked with social listening. It always starts with listening — then builds a deeper level of engagement. Social media engagement isn’t limited only to when someone has an issue or a question. Engage when you’ve got something worthwhile to say. Show that your brand is not only having a monologue but rather is engaged in a community dialog.
#5 Don’t Allow Stale Profiles
Incomplete profiles send a bad message and do nothing to help companies or people get found online. It looks unprofessional and wastes a golden chance to communicate more about who you are. Think about it — would you shop in a store if you went in to find dusty shelves of old merchandise? Would you trust that store and think it was worth your business?
As more relevant information is included, it´s easier for customers to find the business they are looking for. It is important for your brand marketing and your business to complete ALL the information of your profiles and also keep them updated. Note: You profiles are your business cards!
#6 Don’t Be Inconsistent with Your Branding
Consistency across your brand gives people confidence that they are seeing brand value. The value of consistency is nothing new — it’s a key to recognition and success. Use your traditional logo for each of your profiles to work with, not against online brand recognition, and to avoid confusion.
#7 Don’t Forget to Show Your Brand Personality
People find other people more interesting than companies. For that reason don’t be afraid to show more personality. A common mistake people make is to promote only their company without providing other any value. Your community is not interested in just getting promotional tweets — that doesn’t make them feel connected, human to human. Nobody wants to share with a robotic share or comment. Post content that adds value to your audience. Let your human side show. Don’t post the same content as everyone else. If you would like to reach people with your posts, be different and post as a human.
#8 Don’t Default to Impersonal
Show people there is a human behind a company account. People would like to do business with other people and not with machines without emotions. By offering opinions and taking part in conversations, you’re building a targeted audience that trusts you. With that approach you can convert people into fans. And fans turn into referrals!
#9 Don’t Respond Unprofessionally (Even If You’re Having a Bad Day)
Responding unprofessionally to customers or prospects is perhaps the easiest way to ruin your reputation. It´s not always easy to accept criticism, or negative feedback, but it´s essential to have a professional plan on how to deal with that. Anything you say online, remember, lives FOREVER. Be entirely good natured whether you’re responding to negative comments or positive posts. Social media is a two-way communication channel – it´s about conversations. Every word you speak represents your brand.
#10 Don’t Be a “Just Words” Nerd — Get Visual
If you´re ignoring the power of visuals, you’re lowering your social media impact. People engage better with visual content because it´s an eye-catcher and easier to understand. With visuals you can tell a story – “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Get an overview of types of visuals and decide which you would like to use. Don´t forget: Posts with images have more engagement!
Social media is a powerful way to engage and build relationships that form the foundation of a sale. Sales is about delivering a story and a solution. Don’t pass up a golden opportunity to put your brand into a positive light.
Tell me, what social media mistakes have you seen or made?