The one biggest mistake I see businesses make online and how you can avoid it

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There is one BIG mistake that I see way too many businesses make online.  This isn’t the very obvious thing like cussing out some customers that everyone would see and know better.

This is the seemingly small thing that a lot of businesses do regularly which can turn off your prospects and clients and have them consider taking their business elsewhere – not even maliciously, just because of the message you’re sending.

That mistake is making social media all about ME ME ME.

(You can make your social media all about ME – I won’t mind – you just can’t make it all about YOU.)

Social media is, at it says, SOCIAL.

 

Imagine showing up at a party at your friend’s house (an obviously social activity).  You walk up to the front door and knock.  Your friend opens the door.

Party choice #1:  What you’re expecting is something like “Hi! How are you doing? It’s been so long since I’ve seen you! We’re so glad you could join us! Come on in. Let me take your coat. Would you like something to drink? Let me show you where the restroom is. Here is something that will help you.”

Party choice #2: What if instead you get something like “Hi! I’m me. I’m awesome because of X. Last week I was awesome because of Y. I’ve been awesome a long time. Here is a widget I sell, it does great things. Here’s something I can do for you. Here’s a link to my website. I have this product you should go see. Look at this photo of us doing something fun.”

About how long do you think it would take before you lose interest and stop paying any attention at party #2?  Possibly even completely leave party #2 to go check out party #1.

Probably not very long.

This is similar to the biggest mistake I see a lot of businesses make on their social media.  They spend a lot of time posting things about themselves, talking about how great they are, awards they have won, what their company can do, and are basically spending most of their time SELLING.

It’s SOCIAL media, not SELLING media.

And people (prospects, clients) either stop paying attention or leave all together.

That’s why it’s good to use the 80/20 rule for your social media marketing.

You’ve heard of this rule many times, and how it applies to your social media posting is 80% about your client, and no more than 20% about you.  Obviously as a business you want to be able to do some self-promotion, which is why the 20% is there, but remember that 20 isn’t a minimum but a maximum.

Here’s how you can do an audit of your social media accounts, based upon an audit I just did of a company.

Go to your page, such as your Facebook business page, and make a list of your last 10 posts. You can either just scroll down the page, or you can go to your page Insights > Posts.

You don’t need to list the entire post, just an overview of what KIND of post it is or the general topic.

Here’s an example from the company I audited:

  1. Quote – connecting to the business (mission or vision)
  2. Post about service
  3. Post about products
  4. Post about one of the staff
  5. Post about working for the company
  6. Post about products
  7. Post about fundraiser the company supports asking for donations
  8. Quote connecting to company’s culture or mission
  9. Talking about how great staff can serve you
  10. Welcome new staff

Now go back through your list and note next to each topic whether the post was client-oriented or company-oriented.

  1. Quote – connecting to the business (mission or vision) company
  2. Post about service company
  3. Post about products company
  4. Post about one of the staff company
  5. Post about working for the company company
  6. Post about products company
  7. Post about fundraiser the company supports asking for donations company
  8. Quote connecting to company company
  9. Talking about how great staff can serve you company
  10. Welcome new staff company

Note, just because you talk about a product or service in a post doesn’t necessarily mean that it MUST be company-oriented – it can also depend upon how the information is presented. The same goes for something that you try to pass off as being client-oriented: it can depend upon how the information is presented.

Do a quick calculation – how many posts are client and how many are company?

For an 80:20 ratio, you would want 8 client and 2 company out of the 10 posts you audited.

In the company I audited:  0 client: 10 company; making a ratio of 0:100.

For a lot of companies, you might see something like 50:50 or 40:60.  Most aren’t looking at zero posts that are client-oriented, so that tells me this particular company is likely off track and could see better results by being more customer-focused.

Since this particular company’s ratio was so lopsided, I researched an additional 10 posts.

  1. Quote – connecting to the business (mission or vision) company
  2. Post about service company
  3. Post about products company
  4. Post about one of the staff company
  5. Post about working for the company company
  6. Post about products company
  7. Post about fundraiser the company supports asking for donations company
  8. Quote connecting to company company
  9. Talking about how great staff can serve you company
  10. Welcome new staff company
  11. Post about service company
  12. A post wishing readers a good weekend and asking for a like company since it was only posted to request a like this one gets relegated to the company side
  13. Post about working for the company company
  14. Post about fundraiser the company supports asking for donations company
  15. Post about staff award company
  16. Post asking to view company commercial company
  17. Post about how the great staff can help you company
  18. Post about staff company
  19. Post about a service company
  20. Post about a company event (that the people connected to the social media account can’t attend) company (and bit of a fail)

A 0:100 ratio.  Even if I switch #12 over and marked it client (a stretch), the ratio is 1:99.

This tells me a few things are likely to occur:

  • People may start leaving the page by un-liking the page, which means the total number of fans may decrease over time.
  • Or, the page may still grow the number of fans liking the page (especially if some marketing is being done to get new likes); but people will be less engaged.
  • Engagement will decrease as people stop paying attention.  For a bit of time, it could stay the same or potentially increase slightly (as new fans are liking the page), but eventually engagement will suffer.
  • If you’re able to keep engagement numbers up (such as with posts with motivational quotes or cute puppies – those things always get likes), it will not be the type of engagement that can take prospects or clients along the road to a purchase.  In other words, you won’t be generating sales leads.
  • At the very least, your social media presence will be sending a very big message that you really don’t care about your clients and prospects as much as you probably really do. This is likely NOT the message you want to be sending.

Go do an audit of your social media and see what kind of message you’re sending your clients.

Need a pro to help you perform this audit? You can schedule a free marketing strategy session and we can help walk you through this audit on the phone.

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