Having an online presence is vital for any business, but this goes beyond just a website with your address on it. Social marketing is just one way to get noticed and keep your business in the forefront of your customers’ minds, but there are some serious mistakes that can be made with social marketing. Making these mistakes can actually damage your business’s reputation. Sites like Twitter and Facebook can do a lot to boost sales, but you want to make sure that you approach these sites the right way.
Put the Social in Social Marketing
With any type of social marketing site you need to make sure you are being social. Social marketing doesn’t work like print, radio, or television advertising does. You need to have a real presence and be a real person. If you just post an advertisement for your store every week on Facebook and Twitter, you won’t be helping your business. In fact, you will most likely lose followers and fans because you aren’t offering them anything to keep their attention focused on what you do.
This also means that you need to be consistent; posting a quick ‘hello’ to your fans and followers once a month isn’t going to cut it. You need to regularly post and interact with the other people posting. You need to seek out followers and actually follow them. Find businesses that are in alignment with your own and talk to them. Create relationships and share with your followers what these businesses are doing that you like. Be supportive to the people you are connected to online. In other words, be social.
Having a presence on Twitter or Facebook isn’t going to make you a million dollars overnight. Being engaged with social marketing is about connecting to your customers and giving them a reason to connect with you. This will bring more customer loyalty than any sale discount ever could.
Stay Fresh and Invest Some Time
Keep things fresh for your existing customers. Yes, social marketing is a great way to get your business information out there and bring in new customers, but what social marketing is really good for is customer retention and loyalty. But this means that you actually have to engage with your current customers and make sure they know how much you appreciate their business. Don’t just market to the potential newbie, but remember the ones that have been paying your bills all this time.
One of the worst things that you can do to damage your business’s reputation with social marketing is being boring. People on social marketing sites actually have to choose to read what it is you are posting, follow you, or become a fan of your business. You have to make it worth their while or they will just stop following you. Being repetitive or predictable is the same as being boring. Make sure that you give your customers something interesting to read.
Creating a Facebook or Twitter page and then ignoring it isn’t going to work either. One of the most common mistakes that business owners make is creating a Facebook page and then never touching it again. Social marketing requires time. Social marketing your small business means that you need to determine how much time you are willing, and able, to invest before you even getting started. If you can’t put in the time and effort, don’t bother doing it at all.
Know the Features and Follow the Rules
Having an out of date website is bad, but using Facebook ineffectively is just as bad. Facebook has a wide range of tools and functions that can help your business create fun and interesting pages for your “fans”. Make sure that you fully understand all of the features and use them.
Follow the rules. You don’t want to upset your customers by breaking the rules of the social marketing site you are on. Some of these are obvious; like not posting rude or offensive material. But less obvious, is tagging people in your posts or creating a personal page instead of a business one. If you don’t know or understand all of the rules get help, do your research, and ask questions.
Don’t spam. This is the biggest number one no-no of social media marketing. If you spam your customers you are going to lose them. No one likes getting spam. This is true in email, on Twitter, and on Facebook. If someone doesn’t ask for information to be sent, then don’t send it!
Social Marketing is Marketing
Many business owners make the mistake of thinking that social marketing is easy and with just a few clicks they can have a great and active online presence, but this is a serious mistake. Social marketing is just that, marketing. You need to create a social marketing plan and stick to it. If you don’t have time, or the ability, to deal with marketing your business look at hiring someone to do this for you.
Know your audience. If you blanket market to everyone on the planet your marketing isn’t going to be as effective as it could be. Find out who is going to benefit the most from the information that you can provide and connect to those people specifically. Find your niche and go for it.
The biggest mistake that businesses make with social marketing is not paying attention to the results. The internet is constantly changing. Fads come in and out of the scene all the time. This is even truer for social marketing. There are many ways to monitor results and each of the social marketing sites out there offer ways to track how effective you are being with their services. Again, if you don’t have time or the ability, hire or pay someone to do this for you. Not staying on top of what is happening in social marketing could end up costing you your business.
The internet is where business is happening. It is easy to get involved with this way of marketing, but there are also a lot of pitfalls as well. Know what you are getting yourself into and stay informed. You will be happy with the results if you do.