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Today most businesses recognize the potential of social media, especially popular sites such as Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook that draw millions of users every day. This potential can be used to increase your revenue, strengthen the bonds with your customers, boost your web traffic, even to recruit new talents. This fact makes it very puzzling that still, a large majority of companies don’t perform well on these sites. And this is not only because they fail to invest a sufficient amount of energy and time, but because they lack the knowledge of how social media world truly works.
The fact is that, if not handled right, social media can still have an impact on your business, but the one that will severy damage its reputation. It could turn into a perfect way to put off your customers by embarrassing yourself and the company. So if you don’t want your new eCommerce effort to end up as a disaster it’s time to look at some of the most common social media mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. Don’t Push It
It is quite normal that every eCommerce business owner wants its business to grow as soon as possible. You’ve researched the market, found your target audience, established a wide variety of products, and found the best marketplace platform to satisfy your needs, but that doesn’t mean you should lay on your social media accounts for quicker self-promotion. It is not an advertising forum and endless hype about your products and sales pitches will only irritate people, no matter what you’re offering. If you don’t want to send them elsewhere you need to give them the reason to keep coming back. While the main reason they follow you is to learn about the benefits and products you provide, it has to be a relationship without bombarding with annoying messages, forcing people to buy, or bragging. Every promotion has time and place and social media is not an exception. You should restrict the direct promotion of products to 20% of the time, leaving the 80% for high-value and engaging content.
2. Watch The Appeal
Even if it’s not self-promotion, you could still be posting too much. If your content is not appealing, posting it too much can turn into a big mistake. You’re not just flooding your audience with too much information, but with an unengaging one. This means that they won’t just be overwhelmed, but also annoyed. Make sure every information you post is a useful one and pay attention to how you put it. Modern people easily get bored and you need to be innovative and think outside the box. If you don’t you’ll create the impression that you’re not in tune with your audience, that you’re uncreative, and that that you don’t really care about posting engaging content. Don’t post link after link or quote after quote – go for a variety of subjects and play with your visuals.
3. Be Active
The other extreme is a low activity or none at all. If you think you can simply start a Facebook page, post a few articles or videos and be done with it, you’re making a big mistake. That is not nearly enough to sustain the interest of your customers. If you don’t provide them with further input that will lead to boredom. You want them to talk about your business, so you need to engage them properly. If you don’t have enough time and have a budget, simply hire social media managers. If you think that is an unnecessary expense you should be aware that properly utilizing social media is a precondition of success in today’s digital world. If money is the problem you’ll simply have to find some time – join conversations on Instagram and Twitter (but prepare valuable insights), make your own videos, and find popular hashtags. All it takes to amuse your customers is to play with the content but keep the meaning.
4. There Has to be Communication
Since the foundation of every marketing is providing the information you need to be at disposal of your customers to back it up. Their comments are not there just as a pretty picture of engagement, but they are their way to reach you and ask questions. If you don’t respond them (and in time, too!) you’ll get yourself in a big trouble. If there’s no communication your customers will feel devalued and ignored and they’ll abandon you without thinking. Many of them will also post a bad review on their profile that could become that one viral post that will shatter your reputation completely. Don’t miss the opportunity for excellent customer service the social media gives you – all it takes is to be responsive, helpful, and sympathetic. In order to recommend your business the customers need to feel more involved and for that, they need to have a sense that they matter to you. Keep in mind that negative feedback is also going to happen and the worst you can do is to ignore it or fight back. You can’t delete negative comments but you must learn how to respond to them in a way that will showcase your commitment.
5. Ditch The Autopilot
With a right social media plan you’ll be able to be consistent in your responses to comments and questions, but keep in mind that you need to use your own words. The worst response is a canned one – don’t ever use the copy/paste method, especially when it comes to criticism. Of course, when it comes to commonly asked questions you can save a lot of time if you have some responses prepared, but it’s very important to use them with caution. But all the specific questions and negative feedback must be met with personalized responses that are thought through.
6. Don’t be a Stiff
Although we live in a digital world we still want to interact with real people, not machines. If your communication is too formal or too dry that will only make your customers turn away. The point is not to chat about your private things – you need to remain professional, just don’t sound like a robot but like a real person. If you think it’s a good idea to address someone with dear madam or dear sir, try writing their names instead and you’ll see the difference. This will make you more approachable and them more comfortable. The point is to write in an upbeat tone and in the implementation of the personal touch. It’s a good idea to spice up the casual vocabulary with some humor when the time is right.
7. Don’t Bite More Than You Can Chew
As we’ve said at the beginning, the growth is the most important thing for every eCommerce business owner. This may lead you to think that you should be present on every existing social networking site. But committing to too many of them will result in not being able to use any properly. Don’t spread your valuable resources and time between numerous sites and choose the top ones that best match your target market. That way you’ll be able to fully commit to your posting schedule and the overall quality of your posts.
These are the main traps that lie within the world of social media. There is a thin line between being pushy and being boring, and autopilot is like a plague in communication with your customers. You need to sound and act like a human being, and no mortal is all-present.
Guest Post: Nick is a blogger and a marketing expert currently engaged on projects for Media Gurus, an Australian business, and marketing resource. He is an aspiring street artist and does Audio/Video editing as a hobby.