*Health warning: This post is about using social media for FREE (you know we don’t like spending money) – we’ll cover ads another time.*
Last summer we ran an experiment to set up a business in two hours. We created a VERY BASIC FREE website and a twitter account. We focused on a very specific niche and spent most of the two hours following and chatting to the audience (about twenty minutes writing two short blog posts). The website, BRAND NEW and NOT LISTED ON Google (there are well over 1 billion websites worldwide) had 84 UNIQUE VISITORS in 24 hours and 4 mailing list sign ups.
You need some of that for your business. This is the democratisation of marketing! Anyone with a device and an internet connection can find, engage and sell to customers WORLDWIDE. We Just need the right strategy.
Millions of people worldwide are communicating every second. Complete strangers on every continent are uploading their interests, opinions and wants to their social media profiles for any of us to read. Wow! At the click of a button we can find our niche customer – our unique tribe of customers who are most likely to buy what we’re selling. At any time of the day or night, for free we can reach them, connect and start chatting.
There are ways of wasting hours on social media and getting zero return on the time you invest and there are ways of spending just a few ‘smart hours’ every week that could get you the results you want. So how do you do it well and what are the common mistakes people make?
Here are the top 12 mistakes we’ve discovered when people – especially new businesses – are using social media to find customers.
#1 Fail to engage "buy my stuff syndrome"
It's social media not selling media. A rule of thumb is you need to get people off the platform before you can sell.
Instead we need to be using social media to 'engage.' What does ENGAGE mean? Chat! Reply! Start conversations and join conversations with people who are our target customers. It will drive traffic to your page, some of them will visit your website and that's where the sales will happen.
#2 Not choosing the right platform ("Try and do them all" syndrome)
If you were in a restaurant you'd be sick if you tried to eat EVERYTHING on the menu. Pick one (maybe two platforms) which is your best guess of where your potential market is likely to hang out and start engaging. You don't need all of them. Better to do one thing really well than do four things badly.
#3 Not focused on target customer
No point having an Instagram account if your target market is the over 65s (well not at the moment). Choosing the right platform is a good start (the one where your target customers are most likely to be).
Secondly - and critically - if you try and sell to everybody you'll end up selling to nobody. If your message is too confusing or is too broad, we’ve found it just doesn’t connect with your audience.
You’ve got several ways on social media platforms to get the attention and interest of your potential customers:
Your bio description, the header images and avatars you use and the website address are all opportunities to hook your customers in to click on your website link (see point 5).
#4 Relying on automation to make sales
Automation is a bit like a lamppost to a drunk - it's handy to lean on but not all that illuminating. Its social media not robot media. Auto-replies don't create engagement they annoy people. Sure have some things going automatically to keep your business in people's minds but don't think that'll get your customers - it doesn't replace the art of conversation. There’s a great account owned by a coach called Roxy who has automated some of the most inspirational quotes to be posted from her account daily. I’ve replied to two of them to strike up a conversation and what do you think she did? Nothing! Ignored them which is an opportunity to sell MISSED!
#5 Missing the point - "Nowhere to go" syndrome
The ‘point’ is where your social media account ‘points’ potential customers to go for more information. We've seen lots of great engagement but so what? So you got 100 likes! So you got 100 new followers! So what? The POINT of engagement is that your channels POINT somewhere; creating meaningful connections on social media so they're interested enough to check out your website. So get that website address on your social media - and not necessarily the home page address!
Sending your customers to a landing page specifically designed for them so they don’t have to waste time clicking your menu links to get what they’re after (they’ll do that next if they’re interested enough). You want to get their attention, have something interesting for them, make them WANT what you're selling and make it easy for them to TAKE THE NEXT STEP (e.g. Call you, email you, click buy now etc).
#7 Broadcasting not listening
We ran a test last year and sent three tweets at the same time to measure engagement:
A broadcast tweet
A question tweet
A help someone else tweet
Guess which got the most engagement? When we broadcast (buy my stuff) NOTHING HAPPENS! When we ask a question, a little happens. When we go out of our way to help someone else LOTS HAPPENS.
If you ‘listen’ (use the search engines on each platform) you’ll discover people sharing content and opinion. People obsess about their own posts. Listen first – you’ll learn more and if you go out of your way to HELP OTHERS you’ll really stand out and this will send people to your website.
#8 Failing to learn
If you were going to run your first marathon, you’d probably take the trouble to find out how you can prepare. Social media is such a fast-moving animal and t changes all the time. Those that win are those that take the time to learn how to be most effective.
#9 Forgetting people can't see your face
Simon’s current pet hate is people ranting on social media, leaving their superior commentary like a mic drop in your social feed. This is not engagement, this is annoying! J Of course, there are no facial expressions, emotions or tone of voice that can be accurately predicted from your posts. Therefore plenty of active people are switching customers off because of their strong opinions that can be amplified – or worse – misinterpreted!
#10 Having fun
If it’s not fun, why are you doing it? Often people say to us "But I don't know what to write!" Stop overthinking and go have fun. Let your sense of humour loose! Be nice! Be kind and help other people be successful – it’s a rather lovely thing to do and the universe will send you back some help.
#11 Not staying in the game
Social is not a quick win; you don’t have to beat yourself up if you take a few days out but don’t expect rapid results. Most people give up too quickly – if you want to win you’ve got to stay in the game
#12 Not measuring results
Where does your traffic come from? Twitter? Facebook? Or something else? If you spend 8 hours of your precious time on social media you need to know what impact it’s had on traffic to your site and sales, otherwise you don’t know if you should do it again. Do you know what’s working?
Post something, tag us and we’ll help spread the word!
The PopUp Team X
Ps The success of anything is built on TRUST