I wish I had a dollar for every time business owners I met said they just didn’t get social media. What is the return on investment, they say, and social media guru Adam Houlahan has this answer for them.
Well, it is simple: YOU GET TO STAY IN BUSINESS!
Here he talks to us about social media, most common mistake businesses make and how to make it work, like really work, for you.
How did you get started on social media?
About four years ago I was doing some research for a retail brand. We were looking to ascertain why some companies in their space around the world were doing really well, while most were struggling. We found the companies that were doing well were early adopters of social media. This started a huge learning curve for me. The more I researched the power of social media, the more I became convinced it was to be an integral part of business success into the future.
Do you have a favourite social media platform? Why do you love it more than the others?
LinkedIn is by far my favourite platform, I am more active on there daily than all other platforms combined, almost all of the entrepreneurs I work with are too.
The reason is quite simple, LinkedIn is where the majority of our ideal clients are. It is a truly professional network and provided you treat it as such, it can reap huge rewards with the right strategy in place.
When did you first realise you were a social media guru?
Ha, that is a funny term 🙂 and not one I use personally, though many others do. I guess it started in November 2014, about 6 months after my book – Social Media Secret Sauce – was launched, that was when I started getting constant requests for interviews and to speak at events both in Australia and overseas.
What is the most common error businesses make when it comes to social media?
I would say it is trying to sell “what” it is they do, as opposed to “why” they do it. I find social media is at it’s most powerful when you focus on your purpose and your “why”.
What are the key steps businesses need to take to improve their social media presence?
I would say start focussing on your why and building communities of brand advocates. The second most important step is to realise you do not need to be on every platform out there, you should focus on two or three. Of course the key is to focus on the right two or three, and this will vary from industry to industry and country to country.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made when it comes to social media?
In the early days like most people I was posting too much content, and on too many platforms. I have dramatically lowered the number of posts and increased the quality of what I share. I use a 90/10 ratio of promotional versus informative content. It sometimes takes a bit of convincing to sell the 90/10 concept to our clients. I can say EVERY client that does finds their results improve within a few months.
What’s the most underutilised technique in social media?
For individuals I would say not positioning yourself as a thought leader or industry expert in your industry.
For brands it is monitoring what is being said about them online. Brands that do not keep an eye on the social chat about them:
- Allow negative comments to take hold and spread often out of context.
- Miss the opportunity to engage with brand advocates and deepen the relationship with these important community members.
Is there such a thing as over-sharing on social media for businesses?
Absolutely yes!! Quality over quantity always. Each platform has different best practice guidelines, so it is quite OK to tweet 4 to 6 times a day on Twitter, yet you would never post this much content to Instagram. Any good social media strategist would outline a very different posting schedule for each platform, almost never would that include a high quantity of posts per day.
What do you really want people and businesses to get about social media?
I really only focus on the business application of social media, not so much the social side. Our children often say to me “did you see this on Facebook today?” Almost always my answer is NO!
So one of the key distinctions is to get the difference between leisure time on social media and having a very specific strategy with a defined outcome you are aiming for.
Everything you do as part of your social strategy should be aligned with your purpose, and should be measurable. These metrics can be quite simple to begin with, the key is to be able to test, measure, tweak, and most importantly. Get results.
With your social media crystal ball tell me what will it look like in 5 years time?
My prediction is that some of the platforms we use today will have far less relevance. This will be fuelled by their inability to monetise and scale. The survivors will all have some degree of “pay to play” aspect similar to Facebook does now.
ABOUT ADAM HOULAHAN
Adam is the author of Social Media Secret Sauce and the CEO of Web Traffic That Works. He works with business owners and entrepreneurs to gain real influence and credibility through social media. H does this by designing game-changing strategies that deliver quality leads from your ideal clients and an online presence that positions you as the industry expert. Adam has owned and run six companies and was well aware of these difficulties that businesses faced in obtaining a powerful integrated social media presence, especially on LinkedIn.
You can find out more about Adam over at www.adamhoulahan.com