Small businesses use social media for different reasons—to share content, to engage in dialogue with their customers, to boost online visibility, and to preserve their online reputation, among other things. One of the most critical reasons to be on social media is that it can give you credibility; by sharing valuable information, you can build thought leadership and earn trust.
Yet, in some instances, social media activity can have the opposite effect—actually detracting from your credibility rather than enhancing it. In this post, we’ll guide you through three of the biggest offenders, and offer some suggestions for staying on the straight and narrow.
Only Sharing Links to Branded Content
To be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with using social media to share company blog posts, videos, or sales pages.
The problem comes when that’s all you share—because, quite simply, it makes you come across as salesy, only interested in tooting your own horn rather than adding value to your customers’ lives.
And on top of that, the all-branded-content, all-the-time approach can make your social media presence become static and uninteresting. No matter how you slice it, it’s a bad approach.
But what can you do instead? Our suggestions:
- Aim for a balance between branded and curated content; ideally, only about 20-30 percent of your content should be branded material.
- For curated content, look for articles, blogs, videos, editorials, and infographics that convey meaningful information about your industry and add value to the reader’s life.
- Focus on educating rather than just selling all the time; treat your content like a product in its own right and keep the emphasis on benefits to the end user.
- Make sure you balance your links with other kinds of content, too—like images, polls, or posts that simply ask questions or offer tips.
Seeking Followers Through Illegitimate Means
As you may have heard, fake Twitter followers are abundant—but now, they are also being investigated by the government. Many big brands, including celebrities and politicians, are losing followers fast.
Don’t try to buy followers, no matter how tempting it may seem; it’s not going to work out in the long run, and when you lose millions of followers overnight, it will cause you to look pretty hapless.
Instead, we recommend:
- Focus on organic growth! Don’t buy followers but earn them. Use the value-focused, balanced content marketing approach we outlined above.
- Remember that content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint—and you’re not likely to win a ton of followers all at once. Instead focus on patiently building relationships and developing credibility.
- Finally, remember that 100 real-life customers, who might actually buy your products or recommend you to a friend, are far more desirable than a million bots.
Trying to Please Everyone
There’s nothing wrong with sharing memes or funny videos on your social media profiles—so long as they’re somehow relevant to your core business offerings.
But when funeral homes tweet out funny kitty memes, that’s obviously a little weird, to say nothing of off-brand.
Tactics like this make it look like you’re desperate to win everyone over to your brand—but remember: You don’t want everyone. You just want your targeted audience—the people you’re trying to reach with your products and services. (See your buyer personas for more!)
Use Social Media to Boost Your Credibility
With the right strategy, you can use social media to offer value, entertainment, and engagement—building your credibility in the process.
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Author: Amanda Clark