Using social media for marketing is easy, right?
Facebook and Twitter’s ubiquity can lead to the assumption that using them is foolproof.
In reality, there are common mistakes that business leaders unfamiliar with social media marketing seem to stumble into. These errors reveal a lack of social media savvy and often negate the effectiveness of those marketing efforts.
What are some examples?
Signing up for an account is easy; completing it requires a little more thought. Leaving your profile only partly filled out not only looks unprofessional, but it also forgoes the chance to communicate a little more about who you are as a company.
Make sure yours is complete, and take advantage of options like your picture and added links to give viewers a better feel for your company's personality.
You can't engage your followers if you let your account sit idle -- they'll probably wonder why they bothered to follow you in the first place and soon delete you off their lists.
On the flip side, how much updating can you get away with? In an article for OPEN Forum, social media expert Guy Kawasaki responds with, 'It depends on several factors: How much do your followers love the company? How good are the deals that you offer? How much 'real' content and 'interaction' do the company's tweets contain? For sure, the answer is not 'None.''
On the other hand, bombarding your followers with automated or unwanted messages will only serve to irritate them and can get you a reputation as a spammer.
Tools like Twitterfeed allow you to automatically send certain updates to your account. Convenient, yes, but beware: if those are the only posts you have, your account is going to feel impersonal, and it will completely negate the interactive element of social media marketing, according to Rescue Marketing.
Similarly, never employ tactics such as hashtag spamming, which Jennifer Van Grove of OPEN Forum defines as an instance 'when a Twitterer appends a trending topic on Twitter to their tweets simply to gain extra attention.' Not cool, and a surefire way to lose credibility.
Your business's Twitter stream is not an appropriate place for you to vent about your stance on anything related to politics or other similarly personal subjects that have the potential to offend.
If you wouldn't bring those topics up in a client meeting, the same standards apply for social media sites.
Yes, you're excited about suddenly having free access to millions of potential customers. But friending them all at once comes across as spammy and in-genuine -- descriptors that you do not want associated with your business.
Small Business Trends recommends going for quality over quantity: 'Seek out the people who will be most vocal about you. Then, go out of your way for them. Help them. Connect with them. Build real relationships. That is how social media becomes powerful. Fake friends aren't going to click your links, they won't visit your site, and they won't buy your products.'
You should treat each new follower online as you would every potential client you meet in person -- which means not pushing your product on them the instant you're introduced.
'Direct marketing can work in social media, but you need to create the relationships before you try and call on them,' according to Small Business Trends.
Avoid the temptation to direct message someone and ask them to buy your product the second they friend or follow you, and instead focus on building a relationship with them first.
Your social media accounts are now part of your larger brand identity, which means they should reflect your brand consistently within the contexts of each social media site.
The Small Business Advocate writes, 'When all of your social media sites, as well as your primary web site, have a similar look and feel, you put out a consistent brand that prospects and clients remember.'
Make sure the style of such elements as your background images, photos, and language are consistent with your overall web strategy across the board.
Every social media site is different, and each requires a different approach.
Small Business Trends advises, 'Trying to run a one-size-fits-all approach will limit your ability to be successful anywhere.' Become familiar with the nuances of each platform and take the time to employ the right strategy for each.
After spending all that time and effort on your social media marketing strategy, the biggest mistake you could make would be to not measure its impact.
First, you need to decide exactly what you want to get out of your social media efforts: 'Increased buzz over a product? Better brand awareness? Blog subscribers? Traffic?' suggests Small Business Trends.
Then, figure out how you plan to monitor it. Mashable has an excellent guide for doing just that, including a selection of tools that measure different elements of social media, from web traffic trackers to sentiment analysis applications.
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