Guest post by Megan Totka.
The benefits of social media are clear: huge outreach, easy to use, low cost and (assumed) high ROI, not to mention a wide variety of options. In no way would I recommend anyone stop using social media as a marketing tool. In fact, I’m a huge advocate of it. But after months or even years of use, you will likely learn, there are a lot of things to hate about these websites; that even though it’s become an essential marketing channel, social media still sucks. There are plenty of posts about Facebook rants as well. These things can sap the life from you if you aren’t careful. Be sure to be aware of these bad qualities so your business can still make the most of this marketing phenomenon. Here are five things I dislike about social media and how to overcome them:
- The grammar, typos and autocorrect errors. Everyone is in a rush these days. “I love you” suddenly becomes “I luv u.” There are shortcuts for everything. LOL, TTYL, BRB… I could go on 4evr. Grammar goes out the window when users are squeezing their message into 140 characters. Typos are a normal occurrence since many messages are posted quickly without being double checked for errors. And with smart phones becoming the standard, autocorrect has become the new typo. You spell a word wrong and you can blame it on autocorrect. Or if your thumbs are just going at it too fast, who knows what your message will end up looking like. For businesses, I’d encourage you to treat your Facebook statuses and Tweets just like you would print ads. Give them a second glance and make sure your writing is up to par. Try to use a laptop or desktop if possible. Phones simply make it too easy to make mistakes. If you want followers to take you seriously then you don’t want them to see you as another one of their lazy buddies.
- The minimal shelf life. If you have a sale or promotion going on at your business, one post about it just won’t cut it. What you post on Monday morning is long gone by Tuesday. Social media has a multimillion user reach, but for each individual update, the reach is short lived. To overcome this, businesses need to be consistent with posts and updates. If you are running a sale for the week, make sure your followers know. Make each post a little different and make it fun. Don’t overdo it though; I wouldn’t recommend more than two of the same topic posts in the same day.
- The lack of control over the software. Let’s face it, social media changes at the drop of a hat. The minute you get used to a forum and style, it gets changed. There is nothing you can really do to prevent this because you don’t own the software. To prepare though, keep your marketing strategy simple. Do not rely on posting an update in an exact way, shape or form but instead just plan on what you will say and when. Do not plan too far ahead, so if there is a change, there is only a one or two week transition to your new plan.
- The overkill. Personal users of social media talk about everything. Moms post about being thrown up on and every milestone their child reaches. Students post about drinking too much, sleeping in and college sports. Men post about cars, electronics, guns and politics. And nearly everyone seems to post abundantly about what they are eating or what they are doing all day long.If you are a business, post only about your business.If you are a small business owner and you have a basic fan page versus a huge sponsored costly Facebook business page, it may be tempting to mix your business with personal. “Little Sophie had a big diaper explosion so I’m behind on custom necklace orders this morning. Sorry ladies!” In a sense, you want your followers to know you are human but bringing your kids into it, especially with something that’s way TMI (see I did it…) is not acceptable. It’s not professional and enough gross excuses will have your readers running.
- It’s transparent. The worst thing about social media is the ability for an individual to be anyone they want. One user can have five profiles if they really wanted. ROI cannot be determined because of this. There’s a systematic approach to knowing how many people read each of your posts, follow you or like your page but this does not tell you how much money you are making based on the time you spend on social media. This is one of the biggest complaints businesses have about social media. Facebook has a pages app that helps businesses in this respect but it still has the loophole of not knowing how many of those “reaches” belong to an individual person rather than the same person 100 times. Keep this in mind before putting a lot of money into your social media marketing, especially if you need to know accurate figures for ROI.
What do you think? What are your least favorite qualities about social media websites or marketing using them?
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. Browse the local business directory by state and city to find a local business near you.