As a small business owner, you understand the power of social media in the success of your business. If you haven’t already, you’ll quickly see the impact of social media’s expansive reach and how it can take your message, service or product to a large, yet specifically targeted audience. If you’ve had a Facebook or Instagram account of your own for years, you have a basic understanding of how it works. You also know what things cause you to finally say “enough already!” and search frantically for the “unfollow” button. Social media is a popular method to reach your target audience, but used incorrectly could do more harm than good. Here are the four things that you could be doing right now to drive your audience nuts and result in a decreased customer base, and some tips on how to fix it.
Post A Lot. All The Time.
In a recent study done by Sprout Social, the number one thing that businesses do that cause their customers to unfollow them is post too often. Customers scrolling through their social media feed are looking for a variety of information from people and businesses they care about. But too many posts or promotions can be overwhelming, and the customer begins to feel annoyed at the company or the product instead of interested and inspired. The whole idea behind marketing is to keep your name, brand, product or service in your audience’s mind. But if you’re the only thing they’re seeing, they’ll begin to ignore or scroll by your posts because they’ve already seen ten other posts saying the same thing.
How To Fix It
Just dial it back a bit. Use the scheduling feature so your posts go out at times when people are most likely to check their social media feed (many social media gurus plan their posts for the magic window between 1pm-4pm.) Switch up your posts, so they look different and catch the eye of the reader. 1-2 posts a day is all you need to stay current. It’s quality over quantity when it comes to posting on social media. Think about your message and what you want your audience to get from it. Your audience will still remember you exist if you cut down on your posts, and they’ll probably inch away from the unfollow feature once they notice you’re not flooding their feeds anymore.
Try To Be Something You’re Not
People followed you on social media in the first place because there was something about your band that interested them. Maybe they appreciated your unparalleled customer service. Maybe they heard from your friends that your products are top-notch, or that you give back to the community. Your brand is a reflection of you, and trying to be something you’re not to attempt to appeal to a broader audience is likely to backfire. Many customers unfollow businesses on social media because they feel like the businesses are trying too hard. Using slang to try to appeal to younger demographic (do people even say ‘lit’ anymore?) will take away from your purpose and most likely serve as a distraction. If you’re a simple startup with a focus on the environment and giving back to the community, stick with that. That’s who you are and most likely, why your audience found you online in the first place. They’re not looking for you to be something else.
How To Fix It
If you feel like you’ve lost yourself when it comes to your social media personality, take a brief hiatus. Delay posting while you sit down and reexamine who you are and how you want your audience to perceive you. Use your mission statement as a filter in which you run all of your posts through. If your post doesn’t reflect the style and values on your company, don’t post it. People respect authenticity, and will quickly see through a facade.
Why businesses have a social media account and don’t interact with or respond to their followers is something we will never truly understand. Yes, life gets busy, but the whole point of social media is to connect with the audience! Almost 25% of people surveyed in the Sprout Social report listed “not responding to messages” as the number one reason they unfollow a business. Posts that spark a conversation are like gold for a small business. To get multiple people talking about your product or service in a public forum is an excellent form of free advertising, and if a company chooses to stay out of the conversation, they’re intentionally choosing to lose customers. Each comment or message is an opportunity to show a potential customer your personality and inform them about what you have to offer. If they reach out multiple times and get no response, chances are they’ll unfollow pretty quick and go to the competitor who will make them feel heard and appreciated
How To Fix It
Schedule time in your day to be focused on social media interaction. If checking, commenting, tagging, messaging and liking posts all day decreases productivity, schedule a block of time into your day to get it done. Answer questions quickly, respond with personality, ask questions to generate conversation and follow up when you say you will. If your followers feel ignored on social media, they’re going to assume that you’ll ignore them as a customer too. If handling all of the social media is too much (it can be a full-time job!) hire someone to do it for you so that you can manage the other aspects of your startup without ignoring your followers.
Post Total Randomness
The last thing you want your audience to think when you pop up on their newsfeed is “What the…?” Random posts, posts that are misspelled, controversial, or irrelevant are common reasons businesses end up losing followers. If your audience can’t tell exactly what you’re about by what you post, they’re going to move on. And quickly. Consistency is critical in reaching your audience, and if followers can’t trust you to focus on your marketing campaign, they’ll have little confidence that you can focus on their business.
How To Fix It
Stay on track. Again, run each post through your mission statement and vision and make sure they align. If you’re running a tech startup, your posts need to be related to, wait for it… technology. Not what you’re having for lunch or how much you hate traffic or your favorite quotes from The Office. Every post should be able to tell a first time visitor to your page what you are about, what you do, and how to reach you. Using the Instagram story feature is a good way to add more variety and spunk to your online presence. It can take your customers behind the scenes of what they see in the main feed. The story disappears within 24 hours, so it’s a quick snapshot of information available for a short period of time. The use of filters, text, and images allows you to get creative and showcase your product or service in a fun way. The takeaway: as long as its relevant to your brand and doesn’t confuse your audience, you’re golden.
As a small business, the goal is always to increase your following, interact with customers, and showcase your brand. Your messages can be shared and spread like wildfire, which can be both powerful and destructive for a business. Be careful about what you say and how you say it, stay consistent and stay on track. Doing social media wrong is almost worse than not doing social media at all. If you’re going to use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms to reach your customers, make sure you avoid these four things to cause them to hit the dreaded unfollow button.