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As a freelancer or business owner, you spend a lot of time on social media increasingly, but are your results good enough? These 5 common social media mistakes may be the culprit.
Social media is fabulous – and free! Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest offer a stress free, no strings attached approach to attracting prospective customers. It also provides a coffee-corner like environment to actively interact with peers irrespective of location.
If social media is a goldmine, then is there a reason to keep your business shielded from it? When large, successful corporations spend billions of dollars maintaining their twitter handles and Facebook profiles, can small-scale or freelance businesses afford to shy away? The answer is a stern NO.
Yet most of our woes are the lack of responses from social media. Effectively managed these platforms can bring buckets of cash and prospective customers from corners that we least expect. Here are some of the mistakes that result in a lot of frenetic social media activity without results!
Social media is limitless. Since each platform has a unique flavour it is important that you analyse and pick the one that best suits your business. This is a crucial step since spending time on the wrong platform will lead to a black hole. For e.g. As a writer, Facebook offers limited resources to grow my income. Twitter & LinkedIn, on the other hand, offer better services and networking opportunities. So my slice of the pie is split between these two platforms.
If you own a small scale jewellery business, a Facebook page might work wonders. Posting pictures and write-ups about your collection on Pinterest may enhance your business following. It is therefore vital that you pick the right platform.
This is not a “set up and forget” assignment but something you need to manage consistently. If you are a travel writer then simply creating a Facebook page and updating it with your travelogues won’t cut it. There is no incentive for people to keep track of your wanderlust. Instead if you post pictures of your trip, write short clips about your travel and engage with your commenters then people will start visiting your page and eventually your blog.
One of my travel writer friends has free giveaways and Facebook contests for visitors to guess the place where a particular picture was taken. Irrespective of the medium you choose, you have to find a way to engage with your audience so they keep coming back.
If am an editor of an established print magazine and I get a LinkedIn request from an aspiring writer with a blank picture and an incomplete profile page, what are the chances that I would accept it? Instead, if the writer has taken the pains to complete his/her profile, uploaded a professional photo and mentioned writing samples which are in my area of interest, the chances of accepting the invitation and handing out work enhances.
Nobody is interested in learning about your business if you are a slacker. Instead project yourself and your business as authentically as possible and maintain customer focus. Periodically update your business page with recent wins and customer testimonials. This will bring the much needed traffic and prospects.
Sometimes we fear that our business is not unique. The products we sell can be found at any shopping mall so what would social media do? Even if your business is not specialized like selling customized Tanjore paintings, there is always a way to add a unique spin to it.
For example, one of my my friends who was a new mom found a way to sell customized baby products through her Facebook page. People simply had to leave comments or write to her email id for the products they choose to order. Voila! there begins e-commerce. After they bought her products, she ensured that they posted feedback on her page along with recommendations. She also found a way to curate these products according to the child’s current fantasies. Selling baby products was not path breaking but customizing them and recording customer testimonials on social media boosted her business credibility.
Social media is not always all work and no play. Hangout with peers and build your community. For e.g. I often retweet articles of my twitter writing buddies and also add a line or two of what interested me. Not only do they feel great but they often end up returning the favor. Think of the instant audience this generates which you can otherwise never manage to pull by yourself. Find businesses that are close to your own setup. Take time to understand their modus operandi and if they are successful, understand what tactics they used and see if you can apply them to your social media campaign.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again. Nothing will grow your business magically. Once you set up the base you have to work tirelessly towards expanding it. You have to market your goods and not wait for customers to miraculously land in your doorstep. Social media is one of the easiest ways to bring brand awareness and the most cost effective.
Social media is not rocket science. If you learn the basics and start playing by the rules you can make some good wins. Once you have built a good amount of rapport make sure you take time out to meet people in person. In the end nothing works better than an in person meeting but until then rock the social media campaign.
Note: If you are a freelancer, self-employed person or SMB owner, you will find the upcoming Step Above series of events from Women’s Web very useful. Please visit our Events page for more details.
Confused at work image via Shutterstock
Meera R Corera (@meeraramanathan) is a freelance writer and blogger focusing on all things India —
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