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Kaitlyn Gillies

3 mistakes businesses make online that make us say “can you not?” + How to fix them

Small Business

April 21, 2018


So usually on this blog we write from our natural point of view as social media specialists, however, today we’re gonna flip this right on its head.
Today we’re writing as a CUSTOMER.
Yeah that’s right, we’re people too. It’s how we put ourselves in your customers’ shoes and understand what they want from you.
It also means when the brands we love (or used to) do these things, we really take note.
Don’t be that guy!

#1 Confusing opening hours

Have you ever been thinking about leftovers all day, only to come home and find out someone else has eaten them? The only thing more annoying than this is rocking up to that new brunch place you want to try, only to discover it’s shut. Not cool!

How to avoid it:

There are three main places people will look for your business opening hours. Keep in mind customers are most often looking for this information on the go, via their mobile. Another way they might search for this information in a hurry is via voice activated assistant devices (Think Alexa, Echo, Google Home, Homepod etc). Use of voice search is on the rise and ensuring your opening hours are listed correctly everywhere online will help ensure no one is getting the wrong information.

Your Google My Business listing

You know those big feature cards that show at the top of a Google search on your mobile, or to the right on desktop? These are Google My Business listings. Some are created by their respective owners, but Google also pulls information from different places across the internet (and beyond) to create listings or fill in the blanks.
Make sure you have claimed your Google My Business Listing so you can ensure the opening hours are being listed correctly in Google Search, Google Maps and across any other related products. Once you own it you will also get email alerts from Google anytime a public holiday is coming up, so you can let them know if you need special hours shown. Pretty handy!

Your social media accounts

If a Google search doesn’t suffice, another hot spot customers might expect to find your opening hours is on your Facebook page or even in your Instagram bio (depending on where your customers usually hang out). This is also another source that voice devices might reference to provide information.
On top of making sure your hours are clearly listed, if there is a public holiday coming up, don’t keep customers (or potential customers) guessing. Put up a quick post letting everyone now if you’re still open for business or not, and if not, when you’ll be back. On Instagram, keep in mind users will be scanning your feed for this information, so be sure to use an image that clearly represents the given public holiday or spell it out with a text graphic. On Facebook, you can even pin your holiday hours post to the top of the page so they’re super easy to find.

Your website

This is a key one for B2B business or those whose customers are more active on desktop devices. Your website is the ultimate source of truth people will trust to display the correct opening hours. Make sure they’re there, and make sure they’re correct!

#2 Not having two-way conversations

How would you feel if you walked into a store, asked the sales assistant a question and they straight out ignored you. This is how you make customers feel when they leave a genuine comment, message your page or engage with your content and you don’t engage back. If a customer reaches out to you once and doesn’t hear from anyone, they’re never coming back.
The power of social media is that it allows you to build a relationship with your audience by engaging in two-way conversations. That means answering their questions, thanking them when they sing your praises and also taking on their feedback and acting on it.

How to avoid it:

Long story short, you can’t just post and run away. Keep an eye on notifications and respond accordingly. We’re not saying you need to watch your phone 24/7 and respond to every comment in 3 seconds flat, but try setting aside 30-60 minutes a day to respond to any meaningful comments or posts that mention your brand.
Getting too much attention to manage in 60 minutes or less? Congrats! It might be time to outsource your social engagement management to a trusted employee, virtual assistant or agency. Just make sure you set clear guidelines around your brand’s tone of voice so responses stay consistent and it’s also a good idea to have a game plan for dealing with any negative reviews or comments.

#3 Begging for likes

Boy oh boy does this grind our gears.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to build your following (we encourage it actually!) but there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. So how do you know which is which?
If you keep the following points in mind, you can’t really go wrong; just remember why you want those likes in the first place.
There are two real benefits to growing your following on any social media platform:
  1. Social proof – the more followers your brand has, the more credible and trustworthy you may appear in the market.
  2. Revenue – do likes always equate to money in the bank? Not always, but they can if you use them right. By using your page as a place to build a genuine community for your audience and provide value to them, theses followers are highly likely to become customers in the future, or even spread positive word of mouth about your brand. Yes please!
What’s not beneficial, is having a bunch of likes on your page from people who aren’t engaged with your brand and just liked it because you made them feel obligated.
Now, with this in mind, you can imagine the magnitude of my facepalm when I read this post on a certain Facebook Group recently. It went a little something like this:
“Hi, I want to get more likes on my Facebook page, but I’m too lazy to actually share interesting content people care about. Does anyone have a magic spell I can use to get 1000 likes by next thursday? TIA”
Okay so it wasn’t in those exact words but this is what they meant. The poster wanted a “strategy” that would grow their page from zero to 1000 likes BUT (and here’s the problem) without regularly posting valuable content.
Now first of all, what reason does anyone have to follow your page if there’s no valuable content for them to enjoy? Second of all, if they’re not following your page for the content, then how on God’s great earth do you expect them to ever get engaged with your brand and one day become a customer?
Tsk, tsk, tsk.

How to avoid it:

We’re not saying it’s impossible, but building a large and highly engaged audience overnight just isn’t realistic in 99% of cases. Instead of worrying about likes as a vanity metric, focus on providing the best quality content you can, and the likes will follow.
What would you rather have:
20,000 page likes, with no comments and no reviews
200 page likes, with meaningful comments on every post and glowing review from followers who became customers?
Remember: engagement rate trumps all.
So get out there, find out what your potential customers need, make it available to them, and the rest will come naturally. Before you share ANYTHING online EVER ask yourself this one question – If I were my customer, would I care about this?
If the answer is “yes” then go nuts. If it’s a “no”, work on it until it’s ticking the boxes of what your customers wanna see.
See something you’re doing? Don’t worry, there’s still time to fix it and start giving your customers a better online experience.
Did we miss anything? Tell us your pet peeves!


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