The 3 Worst Ways to Use Social Media to Grow Your Business (And What You Should Do Instead)

FixCourse
Brad Smith Partner, Codeless Interactive, LLC

Posted on September 10th 2012

The 3 Worst Ways to Use Social Media to Grow Your Business (And What You Should Do Instead)

New media has changed the way we interact and communicate.

To understand and adapt to these changes, "social media experts" popped up to help organization's evolve their marketing communications accordingly.

But while their intentions might be good, their results aren't. Because having more Twitter followers and a high Klout score won't necessarily help you get more website traffic, bring in more qualified leads or increase sales.

The tools and technology may have changed. But the underlying marketing principles still apply.

Here are 3 of the worst ways to use social media to grow your business, and what you should do instead.

 

Social Media Prism - Germany V2.0 Image courtesy of Ethority

 

Bad Strategy #1: Creating Too Many Social Networks

According to "social media experts", you should be on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, and every other network possible.

Marketing Pilgrim recently reported that the "the average large company has 178 corporate-owned social media accounts".

The problem with this strategy should be obvious. Who's going to manage all of these? How can you really do a great job on ALL of them? And which accounts are your customers supposed to follow and interact with?

If you want to see big improvements in growth, then you should't split your budget, hours or focus into too many things at once.

Corrective Strategy #1: Invest MORE resources in to LESS tactics.

Diversifying your financial investments is a great way to minimize risk. But when you minimize risk, you're also minimizing the possible returns. So if you want to grow quicker, then you need to put all your eggs into one basket.

The same thing applies in social media. Identify the top performing channels and invest more into them. Of course, you'll have to expand into other channels to keep reaching new people. But that doesn't mean you should "spray and pray" too much.

If you want to grow visitors to your blog, then produce one exceptional blog post each week. If you want to grow your email list or database, then make that your primary call-to-action (and don't even bother promoting your Twitter or Facebook accounts). If your customer demographic doesn't really match Pinterest, or if your competition is already dominating it, then don't even bother using it.

 

Bad Strategy #2: Relying on Others to Share for You

Getting people to share your blog posts, or Retweet your updates is one of the best things about social media marketing. It exposes your content to new people, and turns customers and fans into ambassaders of your brand.

But serendipity is not a marketing strategy. And it doesn't matter how many social media buttons you plaster on your site. You can't sit around and wait for others to do the work for you.

Social media for large companies is easy, because everyone already knows who you are. They'll follow, interact, and pass along your stuff (even if it's not that good).

New or smaller organizations can't rely on lucky "word-of-mouth" to significantly impact your bottom line.

Corrective Strategy #2: Drive visitors to specific points of conversion.

You'll get better results if your activities more focused and deliberate. Funnel people from one marketing asset (your existing website traffic, email list, offline displays, or another social network) to the new place you're trying to grow.

But don't just refer people to your homepage or Facebook Timeline. Direct them from a specific marketing channel to a matching landing page, tab or update. And increase performance by aligning an appropriate offer that this target segment cares deeply about. Use offers and incentives that appeal to their emotional triggers, and you'll get better response rates.

Another way to to drive more users is to piggyback off other's success. Which leads us to #3...

 

Bad Strategy #3: Focusing Too Much on Easy, Ineffective Tactics

Engagement is a vital step in the marketing process.

But joining Twitter chats, leaving 3-sentence blog comments and doing a lot of manual outreach is ineffective and inefficient.

Instead, you should position yourself so people want to come find you. That way you're pulling people in, and they'll be more receptive to engaging with you.

But how do you do that? Especially if you're new, small, or virtually unknown?

Corrective Strategy #3: Focus on business development, not just community management.

Community management is important if you already have a huge audience. But if you want to grow, then you need to focus on business development and create partnerships with other entities.

Maybe you can provide content to a larger media property. Or donate time and money to an important nonprofit that will position yourself in front of affluent or influential people.

Either way, the goal of business development is to use these new tools and technologies to create partnerships with important people and organizations.

It's more difficult because there's no pre-defined script. And it takes more time to develop trust and figure out how to help each other properly. So you won't see quick, fast returns.

But the long-term ROI is much higher.

And it will contribute more to your overall business growth than a Twitter chat or blog comment ever will.

FixCourse

Brad Smith

Partner, Codeless Interactive, LLC

Brad Smith is a Partner at Codeless Interactive, LLC, which specializes in custom web development and customer acquisition services.

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Comments

Kent Ong
Posted on September 10th 2012 at 9:28AM

When we do have goal, we won't create too many social networks, or join too many social networking sites, create too many social media marketing strategies.

AmyKnowing
Posted on September 10th 2012 at 10:14AM

This is an excellent post. As I stare at my hootsuite account,I am overwhelmed. even though it is meant to simplify my life, I have created a mess with a maze of social media for marketing. Time to trim the tree and  put more eggs in fewer baskets!

CXthecloud
Posted on September 10th 2012 at 2:39PM

Great article, Brad! Indeed, focus is so important when it comes to social media--thanks for sharing these great tips! 

Lexie Forman- Ortiz
Posted on September 10th 2012 at 2:41PM

Great post. I think it's very easy to get caught up in  how many followers you have or need. It is important to remember quality not quantity. Social media is taking a major roll in almost all aspects of the business world, it's important to use it to your advantage. http://www.smartrecruiters.com/static/blog/social-presence-attracts-talent/

gmbdaly
Posted on September 10th 2012 at 8:38PM

Really enjoyed your post and totally agree. Regardless of all the great technologies and new apps we have out there, QUALITY not quantity.  One should always use only what a team can manage, otherwise your campaign will get lost and impossible to manage at all.

TashWord
Posted on September 10th 2012 at 9:28PM

Excellent post, Brad. I see so many people jumping on every bandwagon and aiming for the most followers/likes/etc and forgetting that followers/likes/etc don't pay any bills - it's sales that matters and sales come from more than good social media profiles.

 

I like the idea of driving people to good content rather than hoping the social media world will promote your work for you (as much as I'd love others to promote me, lol!)

 

FixCourse
Posted on September 11th 2012 at 9:19AM

Thanks! I definately believe social media can help drive sales indirectly - but like you said, too many people are chasing the latest trend when it doesn't really mean much at the end of the day.

Dodie Preston
Posted on September 11th 2012 at 12:22AM

Well written, Brad!

Marketing for social media---as in print---should be targeted, scripted, focused, and each piece scheduled to be released at an optimum date so as to squarely "land on its feet."

 

FixCourse
Posted on September 11th 2012 at 9:17AM

Thank you Dodie - agreed!

Mahendra
Posted on September 11th 2012 at 4:41AM

Thanks Brad, it's a great article, creating too many social networks can generate back links to the site but you won’t able to manage it in a right way, so instead of focusing on all the social sites sits, it’s better to concentrate on limited social media sites where we can get the right people, thanks once again Brad for sharing it.

.

FixCourse
Posted on September 11th 2012 at 9:18AM

Thank you Mahendra!

Jurriaan Schokker
Posted on September 11th 2012 at 5:46AM

Tx for the article! Can you elaborate on your first point? Am I to understand that there are 178 different SM-platforms per company? For example, Coca Cola's numerous national FB-accounts count only as one in your opinion?

FixCourse
Posted on September 11th 2012 at 9:16AM

Hi Jurrian, thanks for the comment. RE: the 178 accounts - here's the original article from Marketing Pilgrim.

"Twitter has the highest number with an average of 39.2 accounts per company and Facebook is right in there with 29.9."

I think it's different product lines and departments, etc. claiming their own "company accounts".

Jurriaan Schokker
Posted on September 11th 2012 at 3:01PM

Tx for the additional information, Brad!

Ramya
Posted on September 11th 2012 at 7:43AM

Hi smith...Thanks for enlightening us in terms of usage of social media networks for sake of business. I agree with your point that instead of having too many accounts in social media networks, it would be better if we able to choose right channel and try to put efforts on it for the flourishing business.  

FixCourse
Posted on September 11th 2012 at 9:17AM

Thanks Ramya!

WARREN SOLOMON
Posted on September 11th 2012 at 3:06PM

I think a lot of folks today adopt the "this-is-easy/fun" approach with social media and try to shy away from the legwork (the basics) of getting to the customer with a properly priced product.  "Spraying and praying" has somehow become the new basis for identifying KPIs and the CEOs and Boards of Directors will catch on soon!

tonyveroeven
Posted on September 12th 2012 at 10:26AM

Brad,

Great Article and I agree. I don't know that I would say these have always been bad strategies. (Well, maybe #1 has always been bad...)

They may have been what was best practice just a few years ago. All of this [Social Media] is changing so quickly that I'd say your article is more about pointing out how social media marketing best practices have evolved.

By the way, check spelling of "ambassaders" I think you meant "ambassadors".

Keep up the great work!

Tony

realtybiznews
Posted on September 14th 2012 at 12:38AM

Excellent Brad ! All points are well taken

 

al

David Tong
Posted on September 14th 2012 at 1:30AM
Excellent article, carpet bombing is never a solution... Thanks.
loup1818
Posted on September 14th 2012 at 9:10AM

Very good top Do's & Don'ts for sucuessful Social Media use.

clbrightwell
Posted on September 14th 2012 at 11:06AM

Thank you for this article. I have listened to dozens of podcasts of experts who say be everywhere. However, my business is just me, I am employed full time, and I just can't keep up with every social media network. I have been frustrated but I believe your tips will get me on the right path.

FixCourse
Posted on September 17th 2012 at 9:40AM

Hi, thanks for your comment!  And I'm glad I could help!  If you're solo, then I would suggest picking one or two max (that are most important to your business) and then focus on getting email subscribers. Here's a post with more in-depth information on social media marketing.

Posted on September 17th 2012 at 1:04AM

A focused post. Thanks. And 3rd corrective strategy just made me rethink and rebuild my social media strategy to focus more on business development for some of my startups :)

Brent Skinner
Posted on September 17th 2012 at 6:31AM

This is a helpful entry. Thank you, Brad. The third corrective strategy is especially savvy. The question is probably this: At what point does an organization know that it must switch to community management?

Randy Milanovic
Posted on September 17th 2012 at 10:53AM

Excellent article. I often encounter prospects who want it all done for them. It baffles me that so many business managers jump on a possible sale but ignore online leads

spearson
Posted on October 1st 2012 at 1:08AM

 Brad this post is wonderful.  Social Media engagement can be overwhelming without an outlined strategy and you have tackled the most important components here. I especially appreciate your explanation of corrective strategies.

npacificcompany
Posted on October 9th 2012 at 10:22PM

Thanks Brad, its definitely crucial to have good intent and build authentic brand equity for for the long term, even if the short term ROI is not impressive. Gots to be real these days. Cheers!

 

Aahh Motherland
Posted on February 10th 2013 at 7:17PM

This is a great article, that pinpoints the misunderstandings of multiple brands in engaging on social media. Less is certainly more.

crocuss
Posted on March 5th 2013 at 1:08PM

Nice post and totally agree with you. Quantity is very important for us if you are sell lot of apps but in this apps no extra fetures then your apps is useless for customer. Regardless of all the great technologies and new apps we have out there, QUALITY not quantity. If you are Visit : Moability this company provides the iphone, ipad, blackberry and other mobile company mobile apps.

 

 

Kelly Wheat
Posted on March 20th 2013 at 8:43PM

I found this very helpful, as my company is just now dipping our toe into the social media world (I don't work for early adopters!)  As the sole marketing person, I am concerned about choosing the correct social media channels for our type of busines - we're B2B, so some of what is right for B2C just doesn't make sense for us. I'm always learning. Valuable advice, thanks!

theaLight
Posted on April 29th 2013 at 12:07PM

This has been very helpful especially since I'm planning on relying the advertising on this small business I'm going to put up. Thanks for this.