I've seen a lot of Facebook accounts for small and midsize companies. Unfortunately, only a few of them are serving their purpose- communicating and engaging company fans. Most companies just fail to realize the importance of having a solid communication strategy behind their social media efforts. They think it's just another media channel for broadcasting.
It's not. Facebook is the place where you celebrate your relationship with your customers. It provides unique opportunities to express your appreciation for their business, get their feedback and get to know them better.
In fact, some of your clients would be glad to help you promote your business. It's a force with enormous potential - unfortunately, mostly ignored by SMEs.
Many of their FB accounts look like a strange magazine that comes out irregularly with the news mostly related to the publishing house. If they were in the publishing business, they wouldn't last a month with that approach.
Here's an infographic with some tips for creating an effective FB communication strategy.
You'd probably heard that, but I'll say it again: One of the most important conditions for success in social is consistency.
Consistency is the key to everything. No matter how good your content is, it takes time for people to see it and acknowledge your accomplishments.
Consider this example- let's say, you have to hammer a nail. You have a hammer in one hand, a nail in the other. So what would you do?
No one (if not a complete idiot) would think of doing the whole job with a single strike. Why? Most likely, you'll miss - with all sorts of consequences ranging from a dent on the wall to smashed fingers. Even if you'll get lucky and land a perfect blow, it still wouldn't be sufficient to drive the nail deep enough through any solid material.
So, again, what do you do?
You gently hold the nail and start hitting it with a series of carefully placed "soft" strikes. After that, when you're sure it won't go anywhere, you take your fingers out of harm's way and hammer it harder to drive it to the desired depth.
After all, it takes several steps with a series of well orchestrated movements to complete such an easy task. What makes you think that building your company's presence in social would be any easier than hammering a nail?
How can I nail it?
You need to develop a routine of posting every day. Not "every other day" or occasionally when you'll have some time for it. Every day. In fact, several times a day.
Some companies tweet every hour (thanks to apps such as HootSuite). You won't need that. But you have to do it at least 3 times a day. Many experts agree that 5 to 6 posts would be the optimal number. It will keep you on peoples radar but won't annoy them (it's quite irritating to see the same avatar or logo all over your Twitter or Linkedin wall).
It's considered that the best time to post is from morning till lunch or (as with Linkedin) also at the end of the workday. The best days are Tuesday - Thursday. You can find more info on this here http://ow.ly/kCSn0
However, my advise would be- don't follow it blindly. Experiment. Make an effort to post at different times and see what happens.
Again, the most important thing is that you do it regularly and consistently. Otherwise, you'd never be able to nail that beautiful picture of yours on the wall.
While working on the subject of how SMEs use social media I took the liberty to run a little research of my own, taking a look at some IT companies that I found on LinkedIn.
The results were surprising, even for myself.
Here's what I found. As I said, I selected 50 companies by running a search on Linkedin. Small businesses with 10-50 employees, IT industry, located in FL (if location matters)
After checking their Twitter accounts I was quite surprised to find that a whopping 38 percent of them (more than a third!) either didn't have a Twitter account or had one that was completely neglected with less than 10 followers.
Another third had an account with less than 100 followers.
Overall, more than two thirds (70 percent!) had a followers count less than 100 followers, and only 4 (FOUR!) companies had a more or less decent followers base of 500 and more.
Number of companies
Number of followers
0 or less than 10
I don't want to make any conclusions, but it's obvious that these companies leadership doesn't think that Twitter can be a useful tool for their business. And you know what? I don't blame them. The way many marketers are using Twitter, in fact, doesn't bring significant returns.
First of all, most of the companies' Twitter accounts are just boring. Let's face it, unless you're keenly interested in one specific topic (related to the company's services) or, for some reason, in this company's events such as shows, achievements, and employment opportunities, you won't find there anything of value.
I should admit, though, some tweets did caught my attention. However, not in the sense favorable to their authors.
I'd gladly share some of them with you (with some details omitted so we don't hurt any ones feelings + my comments)
Example 1. Tweeting about someone's location with no reference attached to it.
- At XXXX's Dinner Reception ...
- At XXX's Steakhouse in XXX ... Amazing!
What is it? If someone wanted to share a link- there's no link provided. And who is at the reception or at the steakhouse? And why should it be of interest to me?
Example 2. One word tweets
XXXcorp@ XXXcorp Mar 10
XXXcorp@ XXXcorp Mar 10
Any suggestions what that could be? I'm left clueless... Not intrigued, clueless. Maybe it's some kind of a code, maybe a charade of some kind. But, sorry, I'm to busy for this kind of games.
Example 3. Opinionated statements
- Mr Chavez is history ...
- Shut Down the Cardinals!!!!
Did any one told them not to mix their personal views with business? First of all, I don't care about your political convictions. You're more than welcome to share them on your personal account, but I didn't sign up to your company's account to debate them.
Besides, bringing up divisive issues that inspire rivalry (whether it's politics or sports) is not a good practice. You'd have to take a stand and some people might find it offensive. Not a great start for forging relationships with clients.
And, finally Example 4. Just blatant self- promotion
- Curious to know why some of the world’s biggest brands are choosing XXX?
No, I'm not. It's not communicating. It's advertising yourself. If you want to advertize your business chose another media.
In the next post we'll talk about some good practices that I found.