Social media is a loud, noisy world. Getting your voice or product heard can be a challenge and if you do not do it properly, you could be damaging your brand or business.
To the user: Social media is a form of entertainment. A way to consume content; a way to stay connected with friends
To the brand or business: Social media is a tool to get your message or product to the consumer in the form of content and drive them to your website. Then convert. Convert. Convert!
Finding a balance between the two is the difference between having a successful social media presence vs. an intrusive presence.
The following tactics will help get you in the right direction and stop you from wasting time and resources running a platform that does more harm than good to your business.

#1- Too Much Advertising Noise.
We have to remember: People use social media to stay connected, be informed and have entertainment spoon-fed to them in unhealthy dosages. Not to be pitched to, bombarded by ads, and spammed with offers. These are distractions distracting the consumers.
Think about this: You are about to listen to your favorite song on YouTube. You type it in the search menu crank up the volume and walk away from your speaker then... A 30 second ad pops up! The first thing that comes to mind isn't "I want to buy that product!" It is: "I just want to watch my damn video!" That's the same thing the consumer thinks when they see your newspaper style ad glide across their Instagram feed.

How do we fix this?!

Develop your ads and disguise them as content.
Imagine this: You are a BBQ Bakery selling BBQ pulled pork cupcakes. You post a picture of your cupcake saying "Cupcakes on sale $1 today!" You get one like, 34 views, a few crickets chirping and a wasted batch of BBQ pulled pork cupcakes.
We need to do something to get your customers engaged! Something different! something that makes the consumer stop, look at your photo as content and entertainment, not as a distraction, and actually interact with the post. Remember: The customers can interact with the business now, its not a 1998 newspaper ad!
Grab your cupcake, slap a smiley face Emoji on the top of it, replace the "Cupcakes on sale $1 today" title with:
 "Tag a friend who deserves a cupcake and a smile today! Write something great about them in comment section."
This gets people commenting on the post, tagging it, and interacting with it; which in turn boosts the algorithm, boosts the organic reach, and labels your "advertisement in disguise" as viable content at the top of someones feed.

#2-Going Silent On Your Customers
We all have seen businesses get slammed when someone posts something negative on the page and there is no response from the company or brand. Only the sound of pitchforks and an angry mob of people looking for a weird internal sense of satisfaction for attacking a brand.. Or on the contrary, people asking questions where the answer is the difference between a bounce and a conversion! All that had to be done to avoid the bounce and land the conversion was answer a simple question about the BBQ cupcake!

How do we fix this?!

Put the fire out before it spreads. Respond to every message, respond to every comment, every question, every compliment. Everything. EVERYTHING! It shows you care about your brand, your attention to detail is off the charts, and best of all...You care about your customers and that makes them feel important. Everyone loves to feel important! Don't use a generic response, actually take the time to type something out, even if it is as simple as "Hey Mr Woodcock, Thank you for reaching out to me regarding our delicious pulled pork cupcakes, please send me an email and I will address your question as soon as possible."
Don't use the excuse that you don't have the time. If you have too much traffic to handle, you can afford to hire someone to manage this for you. Stimulate the economy, create a job.

#3- Lack of Brand Continuity Across Platforms

You go to Billy Bob's BBQ Cupcake's Facebook page, notice yellow and blue colors on the logo, a certain font, and a laid back feeling. You love the vibes, it speaks to you, it feels like home. You want to hand them your money. You then stumble across their Instagram page only to see a different logo, different font, different colors/ and a different vibe that does not resonate with you at all. You no longer want BBQ and cupcakes. You do not want to hand them your money. There is no continuity in the branding.

How do we fix this?!

Make sure your brand is the same across all platforms. When the customer sees the blue, the yellow, the font, the logo they should get the same impression on Facebook that they do on YouTube and Instagram. It shows that your company is organized and has sharp attention to detail. Both of these build exceptional brand reputation and strength. Take a few hours out of the day and clean up your accounts, make them consistent with each other, make sure they are air tight. People notice when the air leaks out. It looks janky. And people don't like janky.

#4- Not Maintaining the Account.

All too often, I've seen companies set up a Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn and treat it as a website. They think the traffic will naturally come. They upload their best photos, slap their contact info down, add some business hours and a "check out our store!" style post, never to return to their newly created page. Max effect, minimal effort right? NOPE!

How do we fix this?!

Upload content regularly. Stay connected with your followers, run promotions, share content from other pages and build connections. Spend at least an hour a day growing your account. It doesn't have to be all at once, 15 minutes after you wake up, 15 minutes before lunch, 15 minutes after dinner, and 15 minutes before you go to bed. Keep your business at the top of someones feed and in the back of their mind by engaging with them and actively posting at least once or twice a day. Do NOT overdo it. Facebook has a fancy algorithm that either pushes your post to the top of someones feed or sinks it like a German U-boat. This all is dependent on how they interacted with your post previously. If you never post anything and you finally decide to, your post gets sunk like that U-boat we were just talking about. Facebook or Instagram tries to do a good job filtering content it deems irrelevant to the user and quite honestly, it does do a great job.

5#- Poor Image and Video Quality.

When a brand posts a blurry image or a shaky pixelated video with horrible audio, it is reflective on the product. The pulled pork cupcake might be the best damn pulled pork cupcake on the market, but if the photo of the pulled pork cupcake looks like it was taken on a Polaroid, stuck in the microwave then scanned on a 1997 scanner and uploaded to Instagram, the customers are going to think the same thing about the cupcake.

How do we fix this?!

Invest in a nice camera, or a photographer/videographer. There are plenty of freelance photographers that have affordable rates that can come in and make short promo videos/photos of your product; in exchange for either money, or your product! You can then take the media and spread it out over the length of a few months. (Depending on what you paid for) I have had multiple companies reach out to my photography business and tell me that they will send me a sample of their product if I take photos of it in exchange.
Remember: Image quality and video quality matter, it is the perception that can make or break a product. You don't want your customers thinking you are selling items out of a thrift store.

#6-Too Many Platforms Spread Too Thin

If you can hire a team to properly manage 7 social media platforms, then go for it! And in that case, everything written so far is probably redundant and I am preaching to the choir.
However, If you are like the rest of us running a small team and find it extremely difficult to run 7 social media platforms, don't go for it! The demographics on every platform are extremely different and you will be shooting yourself in the left pinky toe wasting time trying to keep up with them all.

How do we fix this?!

Master ONE platform! Use that platform as your funnel to send your customers to your website. After you master that platform, master the second one. You don't need 7 platforms to effectively convey your message. Don't just pick any platform, use the platform that your customers use. There is a huge difference between Twitter and Instagram, if you are selling cupcakes, focusing on building a twitter following will not yield the conversion rate Instagram will.

#7- Not utilizing the Analytics.

I've seen it hundreds of times: A startup runs an ad and there is nothing but attacks, arguing, slamming and negative energy in the comment section. It is almost as if the wrong people are being targeted.. because well.. they are!

How do we fix this?!

Utilize the built in analyitics and find the right audience. Be specific and don't generalize. Look at the data your social media account is giving you. If most of your customers are from Texas, men in their 50's, and use google chrome instead of Safari, take advantage of that information when running your next ad! Don't target 19yr old men that live in California and have Iphones; you are wasting your paid reach. Monitor your analyitics and results, take notes and learn from them.

REMEMBER: Social media is an investment. All great investments need a goal. Your goal should be to use your Social Media account as a conduit to channel your customers to your website and yield a high conversion rate plus a healthy ROI. Make sure you have these goals in mind and do not get caught up in the "following numbers game." It's better to have 1000 followers that engage in your products than 10,000 followers that wouldn't spend a dime on what you have to offer.

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