Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, Oh my! Now entrepreneurs have so many ways to reach out and talk to the world. Entrepreneurship is all about building a platform of loyal advocates who are excited about listening to your message and hopefully buying from you.
That said, the five biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make on social media all come down to one important lesson: You talk too much (at least on social media). Stop talking and start listening and you will turn your use of social media into a lean, mean, money-making, advocate-building, client-relationship machine. Avoid these social media mistakes and build a wider following:
Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing
1. Avoid me, me, me; it’s all about me. Take out a sheet of paper and write down your last 10 social media posts. Whom have you written about? I bet most, and probably all, your posts are about you, your company and your greatness. Stop writing about you. Instead, use your platform as an opportunity to promote others. My personal method of doing this is through blogging about amazing people.
Every week I choose an interesting businessperson to reach out to and interview for my blog. By doing so I guarantee that every single week I’m offering awesome content about other people and so my friends, followers and connections get way more than they bargained for when they followed me because my posts are not just about me. A side benefit to doing this is that I also strengthen my bonds with some amazing people.
2. Pivot from always using your lips not your ears. Most entrepreneurs use social media as their lips, not their ears. Instead of spending 30 minutes a day posting, spend that time scrolling through posts by friends, followers and potential clients to see what’s going on in their lives. When something awesome is happening in the life or business of one of your followers, act on it! Send a card or pick up the phone to acknowledge it. I spend 30 minutes a day scrolling through my social-media feeds to see what’s happening in everyone else’s lives. When I see anything at all, like a celebration or a challenge in their life, I consider this to be a prompt that I must act upon.
3. Too good for social media? Forget that! Surprisingly there are still individuals and companies that are resisting social media. Wow, these individuals and firms are missing out on a free opportunity to build a following. I’ve had conversations with business owners like this and the big reason they have resisted social media is because they personally hate social media. My advice to them is to get over it!
I know lots of entrepreneurs who hate selling yet they realize that this activity is so fundamentally important to their business that they figure out a way to get good at it -- just as they should do with social media.
To build a tribe, you must be accessible in a way that people can easily learn about you and your business. The easiest way to do this is through social media. There’s a good chance that your competition is eating it up on social media, and so should you!
4. No sunshine when she’s gone? Stop whining. Do not post negative stuff via social media. Do not complain. Do not share negative articles about your competition. If you choose to post about your political preferences, do so only with the knowledge that you are probably eliminating 50 percent of your followers as potential clients. Presumably, you want to grow a following for your business. To do so, you must have posts that are inclusionary. Therefore, don’t give people a reason to walk away from your business,.
5. Steer away from impersonal birthday greetings. A person’s birthday is the most special day of the year, for that person. Ten years ago, collecting a database of birthdays would have been time-consuming and cumbersome.Today, you have this information at your fingertips. Don’t miss out an amazing opportunity to honor your customers, employees and sphere of influence on their birthdays.
By the way, posting on their Facebook wall is almost equal to ignoring their birthday. Everyone is posting stuff on that person's Facebook wall. At a minimum, if you are going to post on someone's Facebook wall, put a photo or a video so at least it gets noticed among the flood of birthday wishes. Better yet, don’t post on their wall at all. Send a card or pick up the phone to offer a birthday wish. I use the SendOutCard system to organize a list of tons of important birthdays so that I can send out cards and gifts with literally no effort.
Social media offers entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to build a tribe by listening, acknowledging and honoring others. Shut up, start listening and thrive!