Just about every marketing professional agrees that social media is a very effective way for businesses to market to audiences. With nearly 1 billion people on Facebook alone, it is possible to reach one sixth of the Earth’s population. Twitter has more than 200 million users.
Hopefully, your business has taken the social media plunge already. So now you might be looking for tips and tricks of the trade. There are a multitude of opinions on how to best manage your social media presence. Most of the web pages, blogs, and news stories you search for pearls of wisdom focus on what TO do with your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn pages. But how about some tips on what NOT to do?
1) First, and most importantly, don’t lose hope. You will start your social media journey with high hopes. Most business owners think that hundreds – if not thousands – of fans will flock to their page, share content, get involved in contests, and hang on to every word written on your page. These things may eventually happen, but they won’t happen overnight. Social media management takes time. Don’t get discouraged if you are 2-3 months into the project only to discover that you don’t have Lady Gaga like follower numbers or that your content is being shared like the Honey Badger! Learn from what you are doing and refine your posts, tweets, and pins. Find what does get traction and do more of that.
2) Don’t employ the “hard sell” on social media sites. Be more subtle with social media. Think of social more like a cocktail party that you were invited to. Don’t be that annoying guy who tries to sell everyone at the party on their new Amway business. You want to be their friend first. Social media is about building relationships. If you do that properly, sales will follow. However, don’t expect the cash register to ring just because you have a Facebook page or Twitter account. See point #1 above.
3) Don’t replace traditional media just because you now have social. There are plenty of benefits to brand marketing on radio, television, print, outdoor, and more. Social alone will not produce the desired results of sales. Make it a part of your overall marketing potpourri.
4) It ain’t all about you, Skippy! Going back to the cocktail party example, don’t be the bore that shows up to the party and only talks about himself. Go ahead and share some interesting and fun content from third parties, the same way you would share an interesting story at a party. Engage in a conversation with your audience. Ask them questions about themselves. Let them share their opinions via polls. Allow them to leave comments and, most importantly, remember to respond to those comments.
5) Don’t treat social media like the red-headed step child. (Apologies to red-headed step children everywhere!) Social media isn’t free. It takes time, commitment, and yes, a financial investment. Don’t turn your social media marketing over to the high school graduate you just hired because she can navigate Facebook better than Mark Zuckerberg! Make sure a professional is handling your social marketing.
What are some things that you have tried with social media that did not work as expected? What did you learn from those experiences?