Right now, social media is slowly killing your business. Every day, it's draining the resources of your company—and that "giant sucking sound you hear" goes much deeper than you or your employees occasionally surfing the Web. While social media can be an inexpensive and effective way to market to prospects and customers, it can actually hurt your company more than it helps when not used properly.
Here are the five biggest issues you are likely having with social media in your business, and how to fix it.
1. You are more interested in gossip than a business strategy. You go on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to see what people are saying about you and other people you know. While this may be interesting, it is nothing more than gossip and is unproductive in the business world.
Solution: Stop reacting to what's on social media, but instead use it purposely. Think about how you want to use it to promote your business expertise and help others with their problems. When logging on daily, post one idea that showcases your company as an expert and reply or promote three ideas from others that do the same in your industry. Promptly log out.
2. You are too social. Some people go on social media with a business purpose, but the Internet hyperlink puts you one click away from checking on who your high school girlfriend is now married to and what your college friend is working on. You also share things personally that can hurt your professional brand.
Solution: Social media can and should be fun. Separate the times you log on to social media for business and for just plain fun. This separation is critical to remain productive.
3. You use it as a distraction. Social media notifications beg for attention and are constantly interrupting your day. It gives that jolt of dopamine that the brain craves. In fact, many people go looking for interruptions as a way to be busy without facing what really needs to get done. Not only are many hours lost due to these interruptions, but the work that does get accomplished is of lower quality.
Solution: Shut off all notifications. Only check updates at specific times during the day for set defined periods. At the start, use a timer.
4. You use social media to directly sell products. You use it as a one-way advertising tool to directly pitch your products to anyone who will listen. While social media is one of the four Ps in marketing (promotion), only posting advertisements of your products is the easiest way to get ignored.
Solution: Direct product pitches should be rare on social media. They should account for less than 5 percent of your total posts and interactions. Instead, follow an action plan as described in the first step.
5. You substitute social media for meeting customers in person. You think you're building relationships online from your office and no longer need face to face meetings. While social media can provide connections, they are weak at best.
Solution: Social media is no substitution for face-to-face interactions to create strong business relationships. However, it can be used effectively before and after meetings to retain and support a relationship. Build special lists inside of Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin to follow the activity of these customers and comment as appropriate.
How is social media killing your business and what are you doing about it?
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