social media


By Rieva Lesonsky

Sometimes it seems that social media and small business owners are like oil and water—they just don’t mix. If that’s you—if you think social media is a waste of time—then you need to rethink the “recipe” and realize it’s more like oil and vinegar, turning two disparate ingredients into a more powerful combination.

Instead of rejecting social media, embrace it. Get in the habit of posting and engaging with potential and existing clients and customers. As much as social media is still considered “a new frontier” by some, there are rules that will make your social media practices pay off.

Below is a list of some social media action you should not take. These are the bad habits too many small businesses practice. And, as a result, time and money are wasted. Look at the bad habits below. If you’re guilty of practicing them, replace them with better social behaviors.

And to learn about other good habits you should be practicing, join me and YP on Wednesday, May 3 at 2 pm ET for a webinar on the 5 Fabulous Habits of Local Business Champions.

Bad Habit #1: Talking Politics or Religion

I know some small business owners who argue that posting their political views on their business social media accounts makes sense since one of the points of social media is to give your business a personality. Maybe so, but your business’s personality needs to appeal to a wide range of consumers; why risk turning them away by espousing your personal views?

Bad Habit #2: Sharing TMI

Of course, you want your followers to know you’re having a blow-out sale this weekend. However, you don’t want your competitors to know exactly which products you’re discounting and by how much. It’s too easy to forget when you post on social media, you’re not just talking to your customers. Anyone can see your messages, including your closest competition. When using social find the balance between piquing interest and spilling all—for example, tell your customers to be on the lookout for an email coupon for an upcoming sale (with a link to subscribe to your email newsletter, of course).

Bad Habit #3: Thinking Social Media Doesn’t Matter

Social media is one of the most powerful (and affordable) marketing methods available to you, and ignoring that fact will cost you.

Bad Habit #4: Not Thinking Like a Customer

I’m a big proponent of the “Golden Rule”—treat your customers as you would want to be treated. How do you treat your customer? With quick responses, easy-to-find contact information, etc.? When creating your social media policy approach it from the customer’s perspective: What do they want and how can you deliver it to them?

Social Media Sin #5: Ignoring Ratings & Review Sites

Most consumers today are influenced by online reviews. In fact, a majority say they give as much weight to online reviews as they do to recommendations from family and friends. Make sure you claim your profile on the general ratings and review sites, as well as the ones specific to your industry. If you don’t, you won’t know what people are saying about your small business — and you’ll miss the opportunity to address consumer issues.

Again, to learn about the good habits you should be practicing, join me and YP on Wednesday, May 3 at 2 pm ET for a webinar on the 5 Fabulous Habits of Local Business Champions