Social media marketing. Fad? Revolution? Whichever you call it, you will probably agree that it is most likely here to stay.
Social media is not marketing in the traditional sense, however, and because it is still fairly new, it is easy for businesses to make mistakes. Here are some of the most common errors made when businesses venture into social:
1. Not using social media at all
All too often, people assume social media is just a waste of time. But the reality is that businesses who don’t participate are missing out on an important part of building a platform. Large corporations have a social media presence and are using it as part of their overall marketing plans. Can your business afford to sit this one out?
2. Not having a handle on your objectives and goals
Diving into social media without a plan can be detrimental. Businesses should decide in advance how much time they want to spend on social media, what they wish to accomplish by using social media, what their social media policies will be, and how they will reach their target market.
3. Trying to do too much
There are hundreds (thousands?) of social media sites. You don’t need to have a profile on all of them. Pick a few and spend your time on those. Because social media is so dependent on relationship-building, you need to use it consistently (much like nurturing relationships “in real life”). Figure out how much time you’ll spend each day, then focus only on a few sites with that limited time. Investigate the available applications (HooteSuite and TweetDeck are probably the most popular) to help streamline your efforts.
4. Not doing enough
Related to the previous item, putting up social media profiles and then not staying active is useless. If you’ve got profiles on dozens of sites, you simply won’t be able to be an active participant. You need to be an integral part of the social media community if you are to reap any rewards. Posting infrequently makes it appear as if you are not engaged, and you will likely lose followers and friends, making your efforts indeed a waste of time.
5. Assuming social media as just another form of advertising
It’s pretty simple: Advertising is about selling; social media is about building relationships. And whereas advertising is often ignored, social media offers opportunities to showcase expertise and engage potential customers in more meaningful ways.
6. Not listening
Don’t spend all of your time on social media expounding about your message. Much like a face-to-face conversation, listening to others and responding to their needs is just as important.
7. Giving up too soon
A month or two of trying out social media is not long enough. It’s important to understand that social media is a commitment in the long-term. Even in traditional advertising, it is important to build TOMA (top of mind awareness) over a period of time; the same holds true in social media. Relationships must be built and nurtured—and this takes time.
Ultimately, there are no shortcuts to social media marketing success. Businesses must be engaged and authentic, and they must contribute to the viral conversation if they are to enjoy the rewards. If you have other ideas, input, or need help with your social media marketing feel free to contact us!