I had to laugh when I read this piece by Tim Berry: Social Media is Littered with Business Carcasses.
He says, “It occurs to me that the social media landscape is littered with the carcasses of failed business efforts… The accounts stay there, visible, abandoned, but dead. Like carcasses.”
Dark humor aside, it’s funny because I know exactly what he’s talking about.
I’m familiar with a startup business that established itself on at least five major social networks. It built comprehensive profiles, started getting genuine engagement, and even gained new customers through its social media efforts.
Then suddenly, the company decided that it simply didn’t need it anymore. Since social media wasn’t delivering enough results – in a short space of time – it was assumed to be useless.
And at this very moment, those profiles are just lying there; decomposing, wasting space, and being absolutely useless to their followers. Now, all they’re good for is adding to the wasteland of countless abandoned accounts.
Let me tell you something: a dead business profile does not look good.
When I’m looking up a company online, one of the first places to visit is its FB, LinkedIn, or Google+ pages. Sometimes these platforms tell me more about the company than its website does.
But if I see a Facebook page that hasn’t been updated in months, or a Twitter profile that stopped tweeting in 2011, I’m going to be concerned, suspicious, then abandon search. Dead blogs particularly make me sad – it’s as if the company stopped caring. Worse yet are accounts where clients have posted messages, and haven’t received any response.
Social media is interactive, useful, and influential. Tim explains this in a radio podcast: “It’s like the power of word-of mouth, multiplied; if you use it right, it can give you a tremendous advantage to your business…”
Your company is judged on its profiles, which can either draw or deter potential clients. So what can you, as a small business owner, do?
- If you haven’t started yet, make a social media business plan.
- At first, choose 1 or 2 platforms that you’re comfortable with (and that your customers are on), and work on those. Regularly post there and establish an engaged following. Once you’re ready to take on more, move onto the next 1 or 2 platforms.
- Create a schedule for posting/updating, use it, and stick to it.
- Whenever you want to give up, make a list of all the positive things your business has gained through social media. This could be a glowing review from a customer, a link to your company by a well-known blog, or a sale.
- Monitor and gauge your efforts using simple tracking tools like Google Analytics, which is free.
- Please be patient. If a certain strategy doesn’t work immediately, give it some time, then decide if you need to change or do away with it completely.
From what I’ve seen, Twitter and Google+ tend to be ignored more often (I’m especially guilty of this). If you’re going to build a business presence on these networks, maintain it.
I’m not saying share anything, including nonsense. I’m saying: Update your profiles with useful and/or interesting content, on a regular basis.
What is regular? Well, that depends on your time, on how often your customers are online, and on what your business objectives are.
“People think it’s free because the accounts for blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus are free,” says Tim. “But it requires time and effort because it’s publishing, and it’s content. And the time and effort has to be spent consistently over a long time before it pays off.”
Spend the time and effort on your social media. If you really can’t, you could always get some help from social media consultants like HavePresence.
Whatever you do, do something. Before your business becomes a corpse on social media.