Who doesn’t love the idea of marketing through social media? It’s very convenient, and it’s not like it costs you ridiculous amounts of money. Couple that with the extremely wide audience that you can tap with it (by virtue of it being on the Internet), and you have every business owner’s dream investment. It’s no wonder that pretty much every brand you can think of has a page on Facebook, an account on Twitter, and a profile on Google+.
But having a social media presence doesn’t necessarily guarantee the success of your marketing endeavors. Not only do you have to deal with the competition – and you better believe that it’s hard to be heard when everyone is clamoring for attention – you also have to forge actual relationships with your audience. In other words, social media marketing takes a lot of work.
There’s no magic bullet when it comes to marketing via Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. However, there are some things that you MUST avoid when you first embark on a social media campaign. Avoiding these common mistakes can spell the difference between success and failure in the long run
Mistake 1: Treating it like traditional advertisement
There are many who still fall in the trap of talking AT their audience instead of talking to or with them. It’s easy to understand how and why this happens. For those who are used to traditional advertisement, letting customers give feedback is potentially messy. This can be especially disconcerting when they like having full control over campaigns and aren’t comfortable when the (arguably unpredictable) market contributes to them
The thing is, engaging in social media is almost like having a business telephone on a larger but less urgent scale. If you don’t answer or at least return people’s calls, they will take their business elsewhere. Likewise, if you don’t reply or at least respond to the customers who reach out to you in social media, then you risk losing them. Social media is not like a billboard or a television spot. It’s more like a means to get in touch
Mistake 2: Forgetting to tell the story
It’s far too tempting to use your social media accounts to promote your products – and nothing else. After all, that’s why you’re engaged in marketing in the first place. What’s the point of reaching out to all these people if you’re not going to be able to sell your own products and services to them? The problem is, of course, that this simply doesn’t work. Posting about nothing but your products will make people indifferent at best and resentful at worst.
People connect with you over social media because they want to be engaged. They want to know more about your brand, and want to get to know it like a friend. That means they want you to tell YOUR business story, share what you care about, and THEN incidentally tell them about your products. They want to know why they should care about you. And you need to give them a good reason.
Mistake 3: Trying to cast too wide a net
Granted, this is a mistake that businesses have been making even before social media existed. But that doesn’t mean that it’s less important now than it was before. In fact, you can even consider focused marketing more important now than it has ever been.
See, there is truth to that adage of trying to make everyone like you resulting in nobody liking you. When you try to please everyone, nobody is pleased. And, in the case of social networks, trying to attract too wide a variety of people can either result in community that won’t engage or a brand identity that individuals will find difficult to identify with and take interest in. You have to establish your niche, and interact with people who are actually interested in said niche. Cater to specific interests, and you’ll have an army of loyal clients.