Small businesses understand they need a social media presence on several social media channels for brand awareness, brand growth, and lead generation purposes. They might understand they need a marketing plan that involves social networks yet fail to wow their audiences or create lifelong fans on any of the most popular publishing platforms.
Social media brings an opportunity to reach new customers and engage with current ones through live videos, sharing photos of staff and events on popular social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest.
About 63 percent of consumers expect companies to have a social media presence and offer customer service via those biggest social media channels.
Smart business owners note this and will leverage their social media presence to offer customer service in real-time.
The problem is that businesses often fail in their customer service or even keeping a social media page updated. Your social media pages may not wow your audience and may also drive your customers into the arms of your competitor.
Here are nine ways social media pages struggle, as well as some tips on how to fix them.
1. Posting Whenever You Feel Like It
For each social media channel, there is an optimal time for posting photos, videos, and blog posts. Your followers also come to expect posts from you on a regular schedule. Come up with a schedule and use a service such as Buffer or Hootsuite, so your posts go up at the right time.
This time varies from one social media site to another, but in the United States, about 80 percent of the population lives in the eastern or central time zones, so posting while people are most likely to be online is a smart move. Test out different schedules and study the data to find the time that works best for your audience.
2. Not Adding Images
Social media is a visual medium, so failing to include enough images reduces the chances that others will share your page. About 51 percent of marketers feel visual assets are a priority in content marketing.
Not only should you include images, but they should be personal and highly relevant to your business. Include pictures of your product in use or happy customers who also share a review of the product. Show a 360-degree view of your product and make it interactive.
Hoffman's Chocolates utilizes photos of their chocolates, events, and their food in exciting compilations. When you land on their Facebook page, you instantly know they're selling chocolate. The images are unique to Hoffman's and pull social media users into their world.
3. Ending the Conversation Too Soon
Whether you meet people at a trade show or a public event, send them to your social media pages with a unique hashtag. One big fail is not following up on the initial interaction and letting those leads slip through your fingers.
Have a plan to follow up with those who interact with you on social media. Capture their emails for a newsletter or send them a direct message thanking them for their interest and offering to answer any questions they might have.
4. Not Building Rapport
Building rapport with your audience takes time and attention to excellent customer service. Have a plan for the way you respond to customers on social media. If someone posts a complaint, what is your process for rectifying the issue and keeping a customer rather than losing one?
It takes several sales before customers feel loyal to your brand, and you must show consistent effort through each purchase. Otherwise, people find a competitor who does offer excellent customer service and throw their business to them.
5. Not Publishing Videos
Videos are the wave of the future for social media. In the last couple of years, the number of videos viewed each day has increased by 10 million. If you aren't utilizing social media to reach consumers with videos, you're missing out on a lot of potential traffic.
Videos allow you to brand your business by creating a similar experience across each video. Show your personality throughout your videos while sharing valuable information or entertaining your followers.
PlayStation has a rather popular Twitter account, with more than 16 million followers. They regularly post images of screenshots from their games and videos highlighting features of those games. Video captures the imagination of their followers and throws them into the software for a moment — a particularly effective strategy for engaging users.
6. Ignoring Infographics
Infographics aren't something most businesses consider when looking at types of content for their social media networks. However, infographics increase traffic by as much as 12 percent.
The best infographics address the pain points of your target audience. Figure out what problems your customers have that you can solve. For example, if you sell used automobiles, then a pain point might be the cost of buying a new car. Create an infographic that shows how much value a new car loses as soon as you drive it off the lot and demonstrates the benefits of buying used.
7. Worrying Too Much About Sound
While sound quality does matter, studies show that most people watch videos without the sound turned on. On Facebook, about 85 percent of people turn the sound off when viewing videos.
To combat people turning off the sound, you need captions or some type of text direction at crucial points in your video. Put yourself in the shoes of the consumer watching a video on a mobile device on a break at work or while riding in the subway. How can you still get the message across even if the sound is off?
8. Not Showing Your Product or Service in Action
Part of your social media presence is educating the consumer about your product or service and how it helps them. Show the product in action, so the user sees ways of adding your brand into their daily lives. Tell stories about how other customers use your products. Post videos of unique ideas your marketing department creates. Make your product stand out from all the others out there.
A2 Milk does an excellent job on their Instagram account of showing their product in action. Note the images of A2 milk being used with cereal, to make a shake or in hot cocoa. They also feature images of children with A2, showing those who've had milk allergies can now enjoy a glass of milk.
9. Concentrating on Only One Platform
Social media marketing is time-consuming, so it's tempting to throw all your focus onto the platform that seems to draw most of your customers. While you don't need to be on every single social media platform, you should have a presence on several that make the most sense for your business. Study the typical users of each platform and choose two or three with registrants closest to your target audience.
Take Your Social Media Presence From "Blah" to "Wow!"
If your social media pages feel a bit lacking, then adding in the elements mentioned above should create a wow factor. Think about what makes your brand unique and special and highlight those features of your business on your social media networks.
This is a guest post by Lexie Lu.
Lexie Lu is a storyteller and UX strategist. She enjoys covering topics related to UX design, web design, social media, and branding. Feel free to subscribe to her design blog, Design Roast, or follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.