3Common Mistakes to Avoid with Your Social Media Marketing

3 Common Mistakes to Avoid with Your Social Media Marketing

 

 

Obtain some Facebook likes, even buy some fake Twitter followers, tell customers you are the best company in the world in your blog articles and start blasting away. 

The truth.

It takes time, effort and persistence.

The real premise of social media is adding value with content that engages your customers which inspires, educates, informs and maybe even entertains. This means forgetting about “you” and thinking about “them”

This means adding value to your audience by solving their problems with content that includes “How To” articles,white papers and ebooks on your blog and website.

Small businesses see the potential of tapping into Social Media. They come with different expectations that are built on the foundations of traditional marketing which include one way conversations, email blasts with only sales messages and  not willing to listen to negative comments.

Here are three common mistakes you should avoid with your social media marketing.

Mistake #1.  Delete unwanted comments

Some businesses think of social media as a free platform to broadcast commercial messages which will somehow go viral very quickly. Yet they have been slow to embrace this media due to one major concern.

The dreaded “negative” comment.

They are aware that this same channel can be used by the public to spread less desirable comments about the brand.

So instead of planning strategies that engage with the community, businesses have social media police on standby who are ever ready to delete unwanted comments or queries.

This is not necessary nor desirable.

Getting social is about making connections that would lead to further actions. That includes getting to know and listening to the views of your guests. It is in observing what your market likes, shares and comments that you get a better sense of what’s on their minds.  And these insights help you adapt your products and services to cater to their needs.

A business that only wants to receive positive comments is not ready to go into a deeper business relationship with your audience. Your brand will be perceived to be defensive or narrow minded and conversion cannot take place. This fear-base mentality does not attract raving or loyal clients.

I recommend instead that clients be engaging and respond to comments in a positive and timely manner, and turn every conversation into an opportunity that builds trust. 

Mistake #2.  Auto-Post the same message on all social networks.

Many small businesses do not have the time to tend to their social media accounts. They want  a magic button that would post their messages across different social media channels and give them unlimited coverage.

I tell them this magic button does not exist.

I suggest instead that businesses focus on one or two platforms and take time to show up authentically to connect with their market. People hang around Social Media networks looking to chill or have a conversation. They do not respond well to robots that auto post messages from other Social Media channels.

If you would not say the same thing in a board meeting as you would in a social party, why then would you auto post the same message across different social media platforms?

By the way, hash tags look really ugly on Facebook.

Mistake #3. Blast first, control damage later

This is one of the most popular mistakes that businesses make. They want to broadcast emails with commercial messages to contacts without first getting their consent such as via an optin on their blog. Some would happily buy or exchange email lists so they can reach more people in a shorter time.

While businesses are aware that response rate in these cases will be low,  some are still willing to go ahead. Why? They see this as a quick and cheap way to get their messages into the mail boxes of thousands of people.

I tell them these mails may not never reach any inboxes let alone be read.

Businesses need to be reminded that their reputation is at stake and that relationships can be easily damaged with unsolicited emails. I spend a lot of time explaining the importance of permission-based marketing to potential clients.

Some would argue that since they are receiving this sort of mails they should be able to do the same.

But common practice does not necessarily represent best practice. I  recommend that clients ask for specific consent from prospects before sending any commercial newsletters. After all I don’t want my clients to be flagged as spamming.

Forcing messages onto others, even if you provide them with the unsubscribe link, does not show respect and will not give you the happy loyal clients you are looking for.

So how do you use social media for marketing?

Social Media Marketing is not about putting up a Facebook page or blasting email messages. It is an additional tool in your total marketing plan. To better understand what Social Media is and how it can help your business you’ll need to invest time in learning this or hire someone who knows how this thing works.

Work with the specialist so you don’t end up losing more in the long term

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Major Business Benefits Of The Social Media

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You can exhort and preach to the CEO’s and executives about social media’s power and some will “get it“, but until you start to experience it for yourself  the flame will not blaze brightly.

The 12 Major Benefits Of Social Media

1. Increased awareness of the organisation

2. Increased traffic to website

3. Greater favorable perceptions of the brand

4. Able to monitor conversations about the organisation

5. Able to develop targeted marketing activities

6. Better understanding of customers perceptions of their brand

7. Improved insights about their target markets

8. Identification of positive and negative comments

9. Increase in new business

10. Identification of new product or service opportunities

11. Ability to measure the frequency of the discussion about the brand

12. Early warning of potential product or service issues

You cannot beat any of them with traditional media.

FOUR MAJOR SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING TACTICS

Harvard University’s official Facebook page currently boasts over 2,437,000 ‘Likes.’ Lest that sound like just another big number, consider that the university has only 22,800 students. Still, of course, Harvard is a widely recognized name.

But so are Reebok, Miller Lite and The Avett Brothers (all of whom are quite popular with college-aged Americans and trail Harvard in Facebook followers).

Not surprisingly, Harvard sits atop a list of the “TOP 100 SOCIAL MEDIA COLLEGES”, compiled and maintained by StudentAdvisor.com. After all, Facebook got its start there. They’re joined at the top by other schools like Columbia and Stanford, the University of Kentucky, Louisiana State, and John Hopkins University.

When you consider that most students applying for college today have grown up with a smartphone in their hands, at least throughout their high school years, it makes sense why colleges would be putting such an emphasis upon online social networks. The most recent stats show that two-thirds of prospective students check out their potential schools on their YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook channels during their decision-making process.

But if you’re not a college, and you’re not planning on going back to school, what does that mean for you? As colleges step to the forefront of the social media marketing movement, there are more than a few lessons any blogger, marketer, or small business can draw from their example:

Lesson #1. Share Your Good News in Real Time

Do you love Oprah? If so, and you’re a prospective student choosing between Harvard and Yale, you might be swayed ever-so-slightly by the glowing portrait Harvard’s Facebook page recently posted of the role model and public figure, announcing that she would be the principal speaker of this year’s commencement. That came a few days after Harvard posted the image of a soaring Christina Gao (currently a freshman) who is among the world’s most celebrated up-and-coming ice skaters.

But it’s not all celebrity touting (which Harvard, understandably, can do plenty of). On the same day as the Gao post, they plugged a link to a story about the discovery of a super-massive black hole, complete with a compelling deep space image. The message: Come to Harvard, where science is both fun and cutting edge.

The Take Home:

Don’t forget to pat yourself on the back and share news that highlights the best aspects of you and your company.

Lesson #2. Build Followers Through Variety

If Yale’s Facebook page included nothing but basic news about the college, events and the admissions process, its posts wouldn’t regularly be garnering hundreds of individual ‘Likes.’ Instead, an average week of posts might include a story about saving white rhinos in southern Africa, sunrise pictures of a group of undergrads doing yoga atop a college building, and a link to an online chat about ‘The Secrets of Your Dog’s Mind.’

Each of the posts underscores the school’s emphasis on diversity, fostering students with well-rounded lives, and intelligent discourse.

The Take Home:

What did you learn and enjoy today? Talk about it on Twitter through your company account, even if it doesn’t directly apply to what you do on a daily basis. Ensure that your blog posting, Pinterest tags and Facebook updates underscore your own well-rounded nature and how that reflects on your business.

Lesson #3. Keep Your Clients and Readers In the Conversation

Tags within Twitter and Facebook can be a powerful force, since they’ll alert the person about your post. It’s important to use these carefully — the last thing you want to do is earn an ‘Unfollow’ or get de-Friended for spamming someone — but when your tags bring people to relevant information or you saying something nice about them, it’ll typically reap rewards.

This can work well for students going through the application process. Rather than simply sending in a static, paper application, their ongoing activities worth mentioning can be called to the attention of admissions staff through social media. Similarly, after sending acceptance letters, a college may continue to court prospective students through social media tags and posts while the recruits make their decision about where to attend.

Perhaps the single-most influential factor (but still difficult to measure) may be the responsiveness of a school’s social media curators. When a student makes a comment or asks a question and gets a quick response in social media, they’re likely to judge that school as accessible (just as your business should be!)

The Take Home:

If you’re courting a potential customer or simply experiencing a gap between projects with a client, keep them in the loop by engaging them on your social sites.

Lesson #4. Don’t Rely on the ‘Tried and True’

If you’re 25 or older and worked hard in high school, you likely remember the barrage of pamphlets, magazines and course descriptions that began arriving around your sophomore year from colleges around the country.

Today’s students, however, view much of that paper outreach like junk mail. After all, print marketing materials allow a school to portray themselves however they choose, while active social media outlets, with frequent comments and student involvement, can provide a far more realistic picture of what a school is actually like. As the advertising world changes, so do college admissions.

The Take Home:

In a business (and college) world that’s fueled by Tweets, comments and user reviews, marketing can no longer shine-up an inadequate product and sell it to the masses.

Fortunately, if you’re doing good work, the secret to success is to follow the example of the leading social media savvy universities to get the word out and build a following.