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What Social Media Is and Is Not

A quick guide to help small business owners avoid a few common mistakes and pitfalls when it comes to using social media for their business. 

Social media is supposed to be social! No one wants to follow a brand that day after day repeatedly shouts, “BUY FROM ME!”

Everything you post should give some sort of value to your followers, be it informational, something to laugh at, etc. You need to give them reasons to follow you, and create a space where they can forge a connection with your brand. That way, when it comes time to talk about your product, the audience will be more receptive to it because you have already proven why you should be a part of their life. Or on the flip side you are always staying top of mind so that when a customer is ready to make a purchase on their own, they remember to start with you. 

100,000 followers does not equal 100,000 sales

Always keep this in mind. Even if you manage to create a piece of content that does get your business its 15-minutes of fame, you need to remember that, today especially, audiences are fickle. They constantly jump from one trend to another, and just because they appreciated one piece you created, does not mean that they will appreciate the next. And if they don’t, there is a good chance that you will be removed from the follow list. So, similar to the point above, don’t try to worry about “making it big”. Instead focus on finding your true fans. Be consistent, and post engaging content that will attract your ideal customers. Take the time to engage with them. After all, they took the time to connect with you and will appreciate when you in turn connect back with them. Ideally, yes, by being on social you will gain a lot of followers on every platform you are on. But what good does that do you if none of them are people who will turn into customers.  

Don’t feel like everything you put out needs to be perfect. At the same time don’t publish shoddy work. Focus on publishing authentic content. It seems like a fine line to walk but don’t worry, the line is different for every brand. What Vogue does will definitely not be the same as the Custom Car shop down the road. That means you need to take the time to learn what types of things your audience will want to see so that you can tailor it to them. Some basic things to avoid: 

  • Don’t use low-quality images – Pictures don’t need to be done by a professional, but would you personally take the time to look through dark, grainy pictures where you can’t tell exactly what is happening? Unless you are trying to prove the existence of aliens or big-foot, probably not. 

  • Probably don’t broadcast mistakes your business has made – Unless you are describing how you learned from them and were able to fix it for the customer (that could be teaching a lesson which would potentially be valuable to your customers depending on who your audience is). 

  • Don’t post things that aren’t related to your brand –  For example: A jewelry shop who knows their ideal audience would know that it’s followers like to see or read: about the products, learn information about upcoming sales, what people look like & the kind of things they do while wearing the products, maybe see some cute animals or dreamy destinations as a fun bonus. What they would likely never post about: the boss’s new car, a lion feasting on it’s lunch, a black friday sale on computers.

Now, before you get worried, it’s not likely that one mis-guided post will ruin everything for you, but consistently being inconsistent will probably lead to a confused audience and a confused audience says no (or in this case, unfollows you) 

In the end, you need to look at social media as another form of advertising. If radio ads or local flyers, or whatever else work for you, don’t stop using them. But, since it’s 2019, and people are looking for inspiration online more and more, you need to also be on social media because it’s where the crowd is. If you aren’t there, and in an up-to-date format, customers who don’t look for those other pieces of advertising may not find you and you could lose out on potential new customers. 

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