Since I consult with companies, organizations and small businesses about their online marketing and their presence on the Internet, I read a lot of articles, study user habits and talk to lots of people in order to keep on top of the industry trends and best practices. I am often confronted with statistics from colleagues and online sources about how often and what you should be sharing on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. I am frequently amazed at what I hear and read.
Don’t Buy Into The Lie That More Is Better
Most of the “experts” I hear from seem to support posting to social media sites with such frequency that it is bound to do nothing more than annoy your potential followers. Let’s take a minute and think this through. If you are posting 10, 20, or 50 times a day on your feed, how many people do you think are really reading your messages? Even if you have thousands or even millions of followers, as a business, people will simple skim through anything you post if you are posting that often. They MAY read one or two posts throughout the day or they may just get so tired of your posts clogging up their timeline that they just hide or unfollow you altogether.
I understand that this does not apply to everyone and every situation, but it does apply in many cases where businesses try to share something on their timeline or feed too frequently. The reasons that businesses tend to share too often is that they believe it will help with Brand Recognition. To an extent that is true. You do want to keep your name in front of current and potential customers, so that they will think of your business when it comes time to make a purchase. BUT, do you want to post something so often that they have a sense of being annoyed when they think of your company or organization. I doubt very many of us would want that.
Choose Quality Over Quantity
If you really want to make a good, lasting impression on your potential followers and customers, post things that are relevant to your industry and their interests. Use content that answers their questions about your company and product or service. Show them a personal side of your business. These things are great at building a sense of community around your brand.
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, post a bunch of meaningless tripe in an attempt to keep your name in front of your customers and friends. It may take a little bit of work and creative thinking to come up with something worth posting, but the end results will be worth the effort.
A recent example of what not to do in your timeline comes from an oral hygiene practice that recently posed a question on their feed about the age of the oldest pair of shoes in your closet. I can see where this question MIGHT be considered humorous and evoke some responses from their fans, but it is more likely just an attempt at keeping their name in your feed and has nothing to do with your oral health. For the record, this post had no likes, shares or comments, when I checked last.
An example of a good way to post can be found on twitter at https://twitter.com/DogSolutions or using the Twitter handle @DogSolutions. This company sells medicine and other dog related products, but their twitter feed is all about funny photos of dogs with captions that are intended to be from the dog’s point of view (bad grammar included). They rarely promote their products, which could be a problem for their business, but they have developed a healthy community of followers. While they tend to only post something once every day or two, their tweets usually garner hundreds of retweets and favorites.
While finding a niche in all of the online noise can sometimes be a difficult task, the best advice is often to just be yourself. If you are a small, mom and pop, service business, don’t try to be or sound like you are a business with dozens or hundreds of employees. It will just give customers a false impression of your company and they will not thank you for it when they find out later. Besides, just like there are advantages to working with large companies, there are also perks that come with working with smaller businesses as well.
I run a small business myself and one of the things that my customers tell me over and over again, is that they like the personal service they get from me. Why would I want to lose that? Being true to your size and business personality is a big part of gaining the following you want that is interested in being your customer. If you have tens of thousands of impersonal followers you will likely add less to your bottom line through social media than if you had a few thousand who really liked you and who your company is in real life.
This brings up another pet peeve of mine. Don’t buy followers! If you are paying a service to gain followers on your social media sites, then you are wasting your time (and money). I know it may feel like a good thing, because you think customers will see that you have lots of fans and believe your company is more successful than it is, but it will come back to haunt you when it comes time for a face to face with that customer.
Again, just be yourself and let your following grow with your business. If you use good, honest practices in your online marketing efforts you will gain the following you want and you will sleep better at night knowing you have earned that trust.
As always, please contact us if you have any questions or if you would like to find out more about how we can help your company grow their online marketing presence.