Is Social Media Killing Your Business?

By Annie Mueller on 5 November 2011 0 comments
Photo: lili41

Social media isn't always a good thing, and it's certainly not a guarantee that your marketing is in the bag. Are you using social media in a way that builds a great reputation and enhances your business, or are you achieving much different results?

If one or more of the following statements is true for you, you may be killing your business with social media.

You’re spending more time "doing social media" than you are on the important work of your business.

What an easy trap to fall into. Who hasn't sat down to answer just one email or spend five minutes on Twitter, only to lose a couple of hours? Social media can be a fun, new toy that distracts you from what you need to be focused on, such as, producing things people want to buy, perfecting services, gaining sales, dealing with customer issues, getting better deals from your distributors, training your employees…

You're confusing your customers with a fragmented approach.

If you haven't taken some time to develop a unique selling proposition (USP) and the core message of your business, chances are you're throwing a lot of different things at your customers. Maybe you emphasize one service on your Facebook page, some other product with your Twitter account, and an entirely different aspect of your business on your blog or Youtube videos.

Customers who find you at one social media outlet and like what they see follow you to the next platform, only to see a different message from you. What are you all about? They're getting different pieces of the puzzle at different social media outlets, but nothing that provides a cohesive overview of your business.

Confused customers don't become loyal customers. If they can't quite figure out what your business is all about, they won't be ready to but any trust in what you offer.

You’re failing to provide the basic information people want.

You've had this experience, most likely… You find a cool new site, a great blog or company, and you click over to find something basic: contact information, or a price list, or a description of service. And it's not there. Maybe there's no link, or there's a place holder page.

When this happens, whether it's on your business blog, website, Facebook page, Twitter page, or any of the other social media platforms you might be using, it's a huge turn-off for customers. Internet surfers are notoriously short on attention span. They don't need to check back later, and they probably won't, because there are ten thousand other options out there instead.

If you lose your potential customers because you're not providing basic information when and where they want it, you've probably lost them forever.

You're making your business look amateur.

Do-it-yourself works, to a certain point, and part of the appeal of social media marketing is the potential to jump into it and do a great job without a huge initial investment. For SMB owners, it's a dream come true: a great marketing outlet that doesn't cost thousands of dollars you don't have.

What isn't a dream, however, is the very amateur image you can produce with a misinformed DIY strategy. Slapping together a color-block logo and a cheesy tagline does not equal good branding. A website that looks like a clip-art explosion punctuated by long blocks of error-filled text does not equal a good web presence.

When you carry your unpolished branding efforts into your social media marketing, and then send potential customers to a dated, amateur website, you're not building your business. You're convincing potential customers that you really don't deserve to be taken seriously.

You're skipping from one media outlet to another.

If you get started on Facebook, decide Google+ is better, abandon Twitter for Youtube, you leave your customers frustrated and ready to find someone consistent.

You don't have to be on all the social media outlets. You most likely shouldn't be on more than a few. Too many false starts and a mile-long list of online profiles simply convinces potential customers that you can't stick to something long enough to make it work.

You're providing content without direction.

All content and no sales funnel means you're not (actively) helping your business grow.

Don't get me wrong: free is wonderful, and can be a powerful marketing tool, especially in terms of social media. However, content can't do everything. It can help you establish expertise, and get people to pay attention to you, but you can't leave them there. Once you've gotten their attention, what do you want them to do?

To put it plainly, you're not putting that work into social media just so you can make the world a better place or make a lot of neat, new friends. No, you're putting that effort into social media so you can build your business.

That means that the end result of successful efforts in social media should be something profiting your business, either in cold, hard cash or in selling potential (mailing list, surveys, opt-in forms filled out by rabidly eager new customers, and so on).

You're failing to respond to negative reviews and mentions.

The good news about negativity in the form of review and press online is that you have the ability to access it, track down the source (usually), and respond to it publicly in the same sort of forum.

An accusation or negative review without rebuttal seems legitimate, even if it is not. A total lack of response says, “Um, I really don't have anything to say to make this better...”

If there are legitimate complaints, it's infinitely better that your potential customers see you acknowledge and correct your mistakes. Trustworthiness doesn't mean your business is perfect; it means that your business has a policy of quickly dealing with mistakes and making them right.

How are you using social media in your marketing? Are you actively building your business, or are you wasting your time?

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