Marketing on social media is increasingly necessary for both online businesses and brick-and-mortar stores. However, launching your company accounts on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube requires more than posting. To avoid alienating potential customers, your business needs a social media strategy from day one that fully embraces the personality of each network and its users.
Avoid Branding Disasters
Does your business have a personality? Social media provides an opportunity for you to share it with the world through internally generated content, curated posts and interactions with your followers. Social media's greatest strengths are the platforms that let your business develop a persona to market alongside your products or service.
This advantage can quickly become a disadvantage if you have a poorly executed branding campaign that turns off potential customers and makes your company seem inauthentic, a label that is hard to shake online. To avoid a branding disaster, develop a consistent voice and image for your social media accounts and use it across all platforms while tailoring assets, such as photos and videos, to each platform.
Mistakes Can Cost You
With social media, your business doesn't necessarily get the last word in anything. A dissatisfied customer can flame your business, a disgruntled employee can slam your corporation, and one mistake may end up defining you. Customers often take fulfillment issues, shipping problems or quality-control issues to social media before using formal resolution channels. It is common for employees to either accidentally or purposefully tweet, share or post controversial content or messages on a brand page.
When these situations happen, take corrective action immediately by resolving the customer's problems or deleting the inappropriate content and issuing an immediate apology. You need to be prepared, however, for the fallout to follow you.
Reliance on Social Media
The power of social media to drive engagement and sales cannot be understated, but it must always be viewed as one marketing avenue. If your company develops a dependency on traffic from Facebook or referrals from LinkedIn, future changes to the way those sites operate may negatively impact your business. Start diversifying your marketing efforts as soon as possible, including developing a sponsored social posting strategy that involves engaging other social media influencers and advertising through the social networks.
Time and Money Investment
A small business can usually get by with a manager assuming social media posting responsibilities with other duties, but when your business starts to grow, hiring a person to manage social media and communications becomes more necessary. If your social media efforts start to tank or a crisis requires consistent monitoring of your brand channels, the time investment required to right the ship will necessitate forming a permanent position or contracting with an outside agency. In some instances, your business may have to prioritize social media over other urgent needs.
Ashley Mott has 12 years of small business management experience and a BSBA in accounting from Columbia. She is a full-time government and public safety reporter for Gannett.