8 Signs That Your Business Is Behind-the-Times on Social Media

  •    Law graduate and journalist who specializes in helping entrepreneurs market and grow their businesses.

Social media is the bread and butter for many businesses' marketing and outreach. But are you projecting the wrong image and telling your potential customers that you're out of the loop? Here are some examples of how you might be doing just that.

1. You don't have any videos on your social media pages. Videos are hugely popular on social media. Just check out these stats: YouTube has more than 5 billion video views a day, about 500 million people watch Facebook videos a day, nearly 82 percent of Twitter's audience watches video content, and Snapchat generates 10 billion video views a day. If your social media pages never feature a video or a livestream, then you might look outdated. If you do a livestream on sites like Facebook or Instagram, your followers may see a popup telling them that you're live, which can generate more interest.

2. You're avoiding social media platforms like Instagram or Snapchat. As a business owner, you don't necessarily need to be on every social media platform. But you want to give some of the more popular ones a try. If you're on Facebook and Twitter but you're not on Instagram or Snapchat, this might be a sign to some of your customers that you're a little behind-the-times. Take time to study your clients' demographics to determine which platforms they prefer, rather than which ones you're most comfortable using.

For example, Facebook is the most widely used social media site across all demographics. For ages 18-29, Instagram is also very popular, used by 64 percent of Americans in that age range. Interestingly, ages 50-64 are more likely to use LinkedIn (24 percent) after Facebook (65 percent.) You can find great statistics on which demographics prefer which social networks on Pew Research Center's social media fact sheet.

3. Your pictures are low-quality and you never use filters. Everyone loves filters these days. Of course, you never want to use a filter that would give off a misleading impression about one of your products. But creative use of filters can also be a signal to your followers that you're keeping up with trends. If most of the photos you share on social media are low-quality, then you're projecting the impression that you don't care too much about what you're doing. Take time to make all your photos look crisp and inviting.

4. You stopped updating your social media pages month ago. If you're not getting the attention you want, you might be tempted to just drop a social media page altogether. But that's just not a good idea. You'll definitely give off the impression that you're outdated if your social media pages haven't been updated for months. If you absolutely must abandon a platform for a while, pin a tweet or post at the top letting people know how long you'll be gone or which platform you're now using. Hootsuite provides a great "best practices" article about social media pages with additional tips here.

5. You don't know what a GIF is. Everybody loves GIFs and memes if they're done right. You will definitely look like you're up on the latest trends if you occasionally share a funny meme or GIF related to your business. The easiest way to use GIFs and memes is just by finding a popular one and sharing it with a comment relevant to your business. (Facebook and Twitter even have functions where you can search for GIFs to add to your comments or posts.) If you want to be a little more creative, you can create your own. There are many free GIF makers and free meme creators online that you can try.

6. You never respond to comments. Your social media site can give off an outdated vibe if you never interact with comments left on your posts. People love companies that communicate with them on social media. And you don't have to be serious. Subway, for example, can be very lighthearted on their Facebook responses. Recently one person commented on a Subway post, "I'll take my lunch break without the guy looking me in the eye asking if I'd like any mustard while he puts yellow tomatoes on my sandwich." And Subway responded: "Where would you like him to look Mike?" Readers loved that response. Another time, in response to a post about taking a date to Subway for Valentine's, one reader commented: "If that is ALL you can come up with for a Valentine's day dinner. There is prob some issues. " And Subway replied, much to readers' delight, "That's what YOU think Dane." If you decide to make lighthearted responses, just make sure you're being funny and not defensive.

7. You never share anyone else's content. Yes, a business social media account is about promoting your business. But gone are the days where accounts only talk about themselves. Have any of your customers done something interesting with your product? Share their story! Has something happened in the news related to the service you work in, or did someone make a video that relates to your business? Share that with your followers. For example, a cat rescue business might share a funny cat video from someone else's page. You don't need to share other people's content every day, but curating content from time to time will generate goodwill and increased interest.

8. Your profile details are outdated. Many businesses make the mistake of creating a social media page, posting updates, but never making sure that the details on their bio are still accurate. For example, you'll look really outdated if someone clicks on the website link on your profile's bio and it takes them to a dead webpage.

If you're going to start a social media page, you definitely want to keep it updated. People love social media, and it can be a poor reflection on your business if you let certain aspects get away from you. This doesn't mean you have to spend a ton of time on your social media accounts. Just make sure you share high-quality photos and videos, interact with people who comment and keep everything up-to-date.