Social media marketing has become a hot topic for businesses and entrepreneurs are constantly bombarded by information about how to increase their social media impact and optimise engagement. Getting social media strategies right can be a great way for a business to engage with its target market, but bad social media efforts can drive potential customers away just as easily.
One of the most dangerous errors you can make is being overly promotional. Social media marketing allows you to engage and converse with your customers in a meaningful way. It is not just another way to sell your products or promote your brand. Sure, subtle, brand building is implied in the very essence of marketing and your social media presence will undoubtedly enhance the perception and value of your brand if it is conducted skilfully.
In the same vein, make sure you respond to all comments your followers post on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other channels you may be present on. This applies to both positive and negative comments about your company or services. The biggest pitfall to avoid would be to delete negative reviews and pretend it is business as usual. Address them and, if persuasive enough, you may be able to swing the odds in your favour and your critics may become your most ardent fans. And never post negative messages about your competition. Engage with as many thought leaders in your field as possible. Follow them on Twitter and comment on their blogs to ensure you are seen to be on top of the latest trends and news in your industry.
They will not share your content, won’t buy your services, won’t comment on your blog posts or appreciate your innovations. Quality over quantity is what really matters. I tend to automatically get suspicious of those with tens of thousands of followers unless they are a well-known company or a famous person.
How many of us have had those days when you have so much on your plate that posting an update on Twitter, LinkedIn or in other media just simply isn’t one of the priorities? And here comes another common mistake – not being consistent in executing your social media strategies. One of the things you can do to rectify this is to outline your goals and objectives for social media marketing, including the optimal networks you are going to concentrate on. I can’t stress the importance of deciding how you are going to measure return on investment from your campaign in various channels. Your ROI metrics for Facebook campaigns can be the total number of ‘likes’, people talking about your business and shares. For Twitter, it’s the number of followers, retweets and mentions. On your blog you may want to track the number of comments and subscribers. But the ultimate testament of the effectiveness of your social media efforts will be the total volume and value of sales achieved.
I would also recommend allocating a specific amount of time per day that you can dedicate to your campaign and setting out the limits, for instance, on how many updates you are going to post per day. It doesn’t make sense to even set up a social media account if you can’t allocate sufficient time on a regular basis to service it.
And the ultimate no-no of effective social media marketing? Not paying enough attention to proofreading. Proofread everything prior to posting on your networks, a few times, and ask somebody to read over the most important content for you if you can. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Dasha Amrom is managing director of Career Coaching Ventures.
– This piece was originally published in August 2013