As with most things, there is a right and wrong way to use social media marketing.
You can avoid common social media marketing mistakes by using these tried and tested best practices:
1. Make the right first impression
It is far easier to take your time making the right first impression than to spend time fixing the wrong one. First impressions go hand in hand with word of mouth. It only takes one dissatisfied or unimpressed customer to ruin an entire marketing plan. One blogger managed to shut down a whole new product line at lingerie store Victoria’s Secret when she suggested that a particular new piece on sale was “overt racism masked behind claims of inspired fashion”.
2. Have a unified marketing message
Don’t treat social media as something separate from the rest of your marketing – it should form an integral part of your marketing plan. Every marketing tool you use should drive your business towards the same goal. Some tend to limit social media to a mere branding tool, but it has incredible capabilities that go far beyond branding.
3. Adopt a social media marketing strategy
Don’t think that you have to use every social media marketing tool out there and when you do choose to use certain tools, do so strategically. If you are creating a Facebook group, are you also engaging people in forums and creating informative content for sites like YouTube? Are you just trying to get exposure? Do you want to introduce a new product? The bottom line is that you need to know precisely why you’re doing social media marketing.
4. Know where your audience is
There is a wide variety of social media platforms out there, all of which have a different audience and serve a different purpose. Go to the sites that your target audience populates. Take the time to research where your audience is. Facebook isn’t the only answer, and it isn’t the right answer for everybody.
5. Engage your audience
Do not sell through social media. Social media marketing is about building your reputation, building relationships with your customers and giving them the information they can use. If you have a Facebook page, that is not where you should sell your services. You should post content that provides value and directs your audience to another source of good content that will direct them to a “capture page” (where you can get names, emails and so on), and then you sell to them. Selling is never the first part of any effective social media marketing plan.
6. Don’t share too often
Just as there is email spam, there is social media spam. When you post too often on social networking sites, people stop paying attention. By all means, post those ten excellent tips you have to help your customers, but schedule them to come out at regular intervals. Remember, you want people to pay attention to what you say, not roll their eyes and click right past your post.
7. Manage your reputation:
Building a strong, well-liked brand using social media marketing can do much more than help sell your products or services. Strong brands with a loyal following cultivated by engaging your followers can help you bounce back from any negative comments or reviews your company has received. It’s one of the reasons why some global brands have overcome some really awful press. Building a solid brand founded on deep-seated, sincere relationships is key!
8. Avoid self-proclaimed social media experts
The bottom line is this: with thousands of different social media platforms out there, one person can’t be an expert at all of them. Can they specialise in a few? Absolutely! Can they be experts at one? Definitely! Is there a “be-all and end-all” social media guru out there? Unlikely!
9. Keep it simple
Our tendency as humans is to overthink things – keep your message to the point and authentically “you”.