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Tips & Advice

Eight Internet & Social Media Marketing Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

By January 24, 2019 May 24th, 2019 No Comments

Perception is everything in the world of business, and this is especially true if you’re a small business trying to make it work whilst swimming against the tide.

You may be an expert at what you do, but that on its own doesn’t guarantee success when turning that into a successful and profitable business. How you and your business come across to potential new customers can mean the difference between them coming to you and going elsewhere, so it’s vital that you make that all-important good first impression.

With that in mind, I’ve put together some of the most common pieces of advice that I give to small business owners, which will help you to avoid common pitfalls. Follow these tips and you’ll immediately lift the level of professionalism on which you operate which will literally pay dividends!

1. Set up a Business Email Address & Avoid Free Email Accounts

What is going on with that email address…?!

This is one of the silliest mistakes many small business owners make, and yet one of the easiest to avoid. You pay the fee for your domain name (eg. mynewbusiness.co.uk) and proudly display the URL for your shiny new website, www.mynewbusiness.co.uk and yet go and plonk a free advert for your old email provider on your shop front: [email protected] or [email protected] – it makes no sense, and it looks AWFUL!

As well as helping you with your new website design, we can also set you up with G Suite so that you can create as many professional-looking email mailboxes as you like (eg. for different staff members eg. [email protected], as well as generic eg. [email protected])

Your business, and all your marketing, signage, business cards etc. will immediately look much more professional, and you’ll give your customers the confidence that they’re dealing with a proper, well-structured company. Plus, keeping everyone on the same domain makes managing the operation much easier as your business expands and grows.

BONUS: I have some discount codes to give you 20% off your first year of G Suite.  Get in touch if you’d like one.

2. Don’t advertise your personal mobile/landline – Get a Business Phone Number

Businesses that only advertise a mobile number immediately look like a little one-man-band operation, and whilst there’s nothing at all wrong with being a one-man-band, sadly the public’s perception is sometimes tainted when they see this. They think Rogue Traders. Have a mobile number as an alternative, by all means, but not the only number. And under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should the number you advertise be your own personal mobile or landline number – you need to keep work and personal stuff separate. (“Hi mate! Oh, er, sorry…. good afternoon {my new business} how can I help?”)

Using a VoIP service like Vonage means you can get a separate landline phone number for your business without having to get an actual second landline installed – they simply send you a little box which plugs into your home or office Internet router, and then a normal landline phone can plug into that. And as simple as that, you now have a proper business phone number – what’s more, if your business grows and you migrate from your kitchen table to a Private Office at a workspace like Avenue HQ, all you have to do is unplug that box and move it!

There’s also a mobile app you can install, which means that when you’re out and about, away from your desk, you can still make and receive phone calls on your business number. That’s a game-changing feature for solo freelancers and very small teams!

3. Advertise Your Business Phone Number Properly

You don’t have to drive very far to see some fairly wild and wonderful formatting of phone numbers around, with either incorrect and inconsistent spacing, or no spacing at all. If I see a builder’s van or get handed a business card with a nicely formatted landline number and then a mobile number with no spaces in at all, I’m always curious to know why people do that.

For example:

Call us now: 0151 123 4567 or mobile 07123456789

Now, I don’t know about you but the way my brain is wired means I find it really difficult to read and enter in a number if there are no spaces. I get confused and mixed up, and not sure where I’ve got up to. Hardly a great start for your customers, is it?

For landline numbers, you should always put a space after the area code and depending on the area and how many subsequent digits there are, a space between the two halves of the last bit may help to make it more readable. And for non-geographic numbers (eg. 0800 or 0345) the part that designates the number type acts as the “area code”.

For mobile numbers, the first 5 digits are the area code, after which there should be a space (or pause, if you’re reading it out). Anyone who tells you, or does, any different is wrong! Make life easy for your customers by reading out mobile numbers in the correct way, as it’s surprisingly difficult to confirm your own mobile number if read out incorrectly with pauses in the wrong place.

It might sound like a small issue, but it’s one that can really make a difference to people, albeit subconsciously – but that’s where a lot of their perception and feeling about your business happens. For more help, read this Wikipedia article.

4. Don’t confuse your customers; Your Twitter & Instagram feeds are either personal or business

Twitter is a great tool for engaging with your customers and reaching new ones. Be careful when setting up your Twitter profile that you decide from the off whether this is a feed for YOU personally, or for your business (why not set up both?).

Don’t, whatever you do, create a Twitter profile of @mynewbusiness with your “My New Business” logo as the profile pic and description, but then put own personal name as the name of the account – it should be your company name! Way to confuse your customers…

The reverse applies too, so keep it consistent and your customers won’t get confused as to whether they’re talking to you the person or you the business.

If you’ve decided that your business identity online is that of a company (rather than you, personally, as an individual) then make that clear and be consistent about it. There’s nothing more confusing than seeing a social media profile with a Company Name, but then a picture of what new customers will consider to be a random person. Like I was mentioning before, keep a clear distinction between yourself and your business.

So, make sure you get a version of your business logo that works well for social media (both inside a square and a circular area) and ensure it’s used across all your social channels.

Bonus tip: Why not get friendly different versions done for different times of the year? A Father Christmas hat in December, for example – this will make your customers smile, and it shows that you have your finger on the pulse and pay attention to details.

Another very important point to note is that if you’re setting up a Facebook or LinkedIn page for your business, make sure you set up a PAGE and not a PERSONAL PROFILE! Your business is a person, not a living & breathing human being so make sure you don’t add it to social networks as a person.

5. Don’t just stick a F or T logo and expect people to find your social media pages

If you’re making flyers, designing an advert or decorating items within your business, don’t just stick a Facebook or Twitter logo on the bottom and hope that people will magically find your page. Sure, they might search and find it but they might also search and find a competitor’s page! Stick the username of your Facebook page or Twitter/Instagram feed so they know what to look for.

6. Don’t put up with a huge long address – Get a proper Facebook URL

If you’ve got a Facebook page…. sorry, rephrase that… On the Facebook page that you do have (if you don’t, make one now!) you should get a proper Facebook URL as soon as you can so you can direct users to Facebook.com/MyNewBusiness rather than the horrible long address you get when you first make the page.

When setting up your page, you maybe given the option to create one but if not, you should head straight on down to https://www.facebook.com/username and then update all of your marketing materials.

Be sure to get your Facebook Page verified.

You should also make sure to verify your Facebook page, so that it gets a grey tick next to it. To get this, you need to prove to Facebook that this is the official page for your business or organisation, which usually involves either automatic telephone verification or sending them some documents. Why bother? Firstly, it will give customers confidence that they’re really talking to you, and secondly your business will show up more prominently in search results on the platform.

7. Don’t misunderstand Twitter; If you don’t understand social media and how to use it, buy a book and learn

Don’t just post advert after advert. Don’t post nothing at all. Don’t only post when you’re apologising. Engage with your customers and get your product out there.

If you want some good hints and tips, buy a book such as Social Media Marketing For Dummies or consider booking yourself on a course.

Update: Twitter now have a guide specifically for small businesses. Check it out!

8. Don’t use crap photos on “About us” or LinkedIn profile pages

It can be an exciting rush getting everything set up for your new business, but don’t use that as an excuse to use a terribly-cropped, terrible photo of yourself on that drunken holiday in Ibiza on your website’s “About Us” page or as a profile picture on websites such as LinkedIn.

Far better to have no photo at all for a while, whilst you take the time to do it properly, than just a random photo from your hard drive of you going about your everyday life.

If need some professional headshots of you and your staff, get in touch to learn about our Photography services in and around Liverpool.

Conclusion

So, there we have it. A few of the most common Internet, Marketing & Social Media mistakes that people make when setting up and running a small business – if you take on board the advice above I hope it will help lead to some amazing success for you and your business. GOOD LUCK!

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