With everybody jumping onto the social media bandwagon these days in a bid to generate business leads, reaching out to target audience, or thought leadership makes one think, "Can social media marketing offer solution for every problem under the sun?"
Social media might seem like a seamless process, where businesses can create social media presence by just setting up accounts in few social networking sites and start posting updates. But, is it as easy as it seems? Well, not really; for in reality it is a different ball game altogether.
Many business owners making their foray into social media thinks it to be simple enough to be managed by anybody - even their assistants. But remember, it is fine as long as you limit it to 'testing the waters' as social media expects full-time engagement.
If you are seriously keen on seeing results, it is important that you hire a dedicated social media manager. Social media is about the passion to connect with audience, building relationships, and fostering leads to gain business advantage.
You must have many a times come across several businesses (both big and small) making the identical mistakes over and over again in their social media initiatives. These errors crop up due to a lack of understanding of social media and many a times due to undermining of marketing efforts.
In this article, my endeavor is to try listing the top social media marketing mistakes that could cost you both - your followers as well as business fortune.
#1. Avoid Building Social Media Ghost Towns
LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, Tumblr, and Vine. What else am I missing out? You are probably on a social media high and have decided to create accounts for all social networking sites available. Voilà it is so simple. So what next? Now the question is, "Do you have a social media strategy in place"? If your answer is NO, you are very soon likely to abandon your accounts and turn them to virtual ghost towns in future.
Takeaway: This could be a very costly mistake as you will appear dumb and complacent to your target audience. Who would anyone like to connect with an organization that does not manage its social media accounts well? (Forget doing business with such organization. Many business owners take a plunge into social media without any planning or market research. It is important that you have a well-defined strategy set for your goals.
#2. Avoid Sticking to 'I, Me and Myself' conversations
It is understood that you are on social media sites to sell your products/services and make new connections or customer base. However, the strategy that works on social media is the one that is not just limited to selling, but also aims at helping others. Don't push yourself or your products on customers.
Takeaway: You need to create impression of genuinely trying to help others so that your friends and followers will look upon your promotional posts in a positive light and pass your promotions to their networks making it viral.
#3. Avoid Creating Controversy and Negative Publicity
"Bad publicity is also good publicity" does not literally hold true in social media marketing.
Social media activity is the reflection of your business ideology and principles. It may have taken years for you to build your reputation in the industry; however, one inappropriate 'social media goof-up' could ruin your social reputation in just a few seconds.
Always remember, a lot is at stake before posting a rogue tweet or offensive Facebook post targeting your competitor. Keep your image clean and don't use social media as a source to vent out your frustration. You can delete your posts from your timeline, but you won't be able to deny your social media fiasco.
Takeaway: Things on social media go viral in a matter of few seconds. It is imperative that you have a very well defined social media code of conduct policy in place for your team members about what should be posted and what kind of social etiquette is expected.
#4. Avoid Spamming, spamming, and a lots of spamming
We all detest spammy emails and make sure that such emails end up in our trash folder. Social media is not an exception to this rule. Don't bombard your followers with posts to the point that they 'Unfriend' you. So, if you publish too many posts in too short a time period, you will end up showing on the walls of all your followers.
Takeaway: Too many posts at any given time might irritate your followers and it also violates the unspoken best practices of social media. It is important that you spread out your tweets or posts in various sites throughout the day.
#5. Are your Followers experiencing 'Too little, too late'?
This is exactly the opposite of the 'spamming syndrome' we just discussed. While it is true that you should post messages only when you have information worth sharing - that doesn't necessarily mean that you post just once in a month. There are too many businesses that post only once in a while about their services or promo offers. This is a huge gaffe, which you should avoid.
Takeaway: Be regular with your social media updates - most importantly 'stay visible to create an impact'. Stay Connected!
#6. Don't Just Post - Engage!
Does your fan following miss your interaction? Is the social bonding missing? Well, social media is not just about updating your accounts like a robot. Even though these sites were not primarily developed for marketing, the main purpose behind these sites is interacting with your followers or customers and nurturing healthy business relationships. You simply can't afford to ignore people who like or follow you.
Takeaway: Just try posting a "thank you" message and make them feel valued. Small gestures don't cost fortune, but will do wonders in building long-term business relationships. If someone posts a comment or starts conversation with you, make it a point to reply.
#7. Avoid being Repetitive & Boring - Spice up, Spread a variety!
You are likely to bore your followers if there is no surprise element in your updates. Does your posts contain only videos, text, or a link to your blog article?
Takeaway: You need to mix updates and keep your followers guessing about what next to come. While it may not be possible for you to do so for each and every post, try to be as interactive as possible.
#8. You might mean Serious Business, Win it with an Element of Fun!
Yeah. You might be here on serious business, but that should not take away the element of fun from the platform. Keep your customers entertained! It is true that you have targets in mind, but it won't hurt to be funny once in a while.
Takeaway: Take off your masks of seriousness and see how things unfold. Sense of humor is much appreciated in the world of social media and you are likely to strike a chord with larger target audience.
#9. Avoid displaying "Multiple Personality" Syndrome
Are you telling different stories on different social platforms? Does your customer get conflicting information? Consistency is the biggest way to influence decision-making and improving your brand value.
Takeaway: Also ensure that your logo, brand images, and language are consistent across all platforms.
#10. Avoid using old content - Be creative!
Don't just promote the same content on multiple platforms. It is just not enough to lure your target audience. Keep content unique and informative. You also need to understand that what worked on Facebook might fail miserably on Twitter.
Takeaway: So keep experimenting.
Have you got a social media marketing strategy in place? Get SOCIAL and change the game!