Social media is an effective tool for promoting businesses and interacting with others, but like any other tool, the potential of social media can be leveraged only if it is used correctly and effectively. Everything we do on social media is under the scrutiny of millions of people, and with its viral nature even a small mistake we do can prove to be catastrophic for the business. Agreed, that it’s impossible to not make mistakes and master the art of social media marketing at the same time, but one can always learn from the mistakes others have made and avoid a great deal of trouble.
So, here are few mistakes businesses commonly make in the social media space. Read and take a cue from them, so you avoid repeating the same in the future:
1. Jumping into all social media platforms
With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and other social media outlets available these days, we get tempted to jump into every new platform that creates a buzz and use all of these for marketing our businesses. It is impossible to effectively keep track of activities, and regularly make updates on all of these platforms. To be more effective at social media marketing, it is better to focus on one social media tool and put all your efforts into making that an effective medium for broadcasting your ideas, posting blog updates and interacting with your audience.
What are your goals of marketing? Is it getting more traffic to the site, increasing sales, building links, spreading awareness about your brand or interacting with the customers? Who are your audience and, on which social media site do they hang out more often? Based on these factors, choose the most appropriate medium to convey your message and connect with others at the maximum level.
2. Having unrealistic expectations
Social media is not a magic wand that would bring you more business and create brand awareness, without your time and effort. It takes lot of time and effort to establish a strong network of faithful followers and fans. The social media journey can be quite challenging and you must be prepared to handle the hurdles you face on the way, and not give up hope after few failed attempts.
3. Lacking consistency
People get started with multiple posts and tweets in a day and then the posts and tweets gradually dwindle. The issue might be lack of enthusiasm or lack of time-whatever it is, your lack of consistency displays lack of commitment to social media and your brand. Your returns on social media are directly proportional to the amount of time you spend interacting with the audience and the effort you put into all social media related tasks. Have a fixed time slot dedicated for social media marketing and don’t falter from your schedule at any cost. Once you start something make sure you finish it, and don’t start something you can’t finish.
4. Not measuring your returns
So, you are clear about the purpose of your social media presence and have solid goals to achieve, but if the social media strategies are not generating any monetary returns, then you are not achieving anything tangible. It’s important to access the impact of social media marketing efforts by studying different factors like number of fans and followers on Facebook and Twitter, blog subscribers, blog comments, web traffic, brand mentions and extent of interaction on your blog and page. With Google Analytics, PostRank Analytics, TweetStats, TweetReach.Twitalyzer, Social Mention and various sentiment analysis and reputation tracking tools, you can measure the ROI of social media.
Want to know more about social media ROI? Check out Olivier Blanchard’s ‘Basics of ROI” presentation on Slideshare and learn why measuring social media ROI is important for your business.
5. Not Planning
Social media planning is a must. Action can begin and returns can be measured only after we set clear goals and plans to achieve them. Companies often overlook the significance of planning for effective marketing. “Failing to plan is planning to fail and this is a lesson that strategists and practitioners will learn as they progress. If transparency and authenticity were prevailing maxims over the last several years, accountability, metrics, and outcomes serve as the foundation for social media success in the immediate years ahead. An effective social media plan must address business dynamics and it takes much more than a Facebook and Twitter presence. ROI isn’t discernible when the R (Return) or the I (Investment) are undefined.” Says Brian Solis, one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in the social media space in the post “In Social Media, Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail”, on his blog.
6.Selling, Selling and Selling
Social media is about interactions and connecting with people, that inadvertently brings you more customers. Direct selling doesn’t work here. If all you talk about is your brand, products and services, then don’t expect to get much out of social media. People are looking for entertainment, knowledge sharing and interesting conversations. The only way you can expand your social media presence is by engaging with people.
7.Making errors frequently
Social media provides an informal environment to interact with others, but that does not mean we should be careless about our tweets and wall posts. Frequent spelling mistakes and other errors on wall posts and tweets can make your page look unprofessional. So run a spell check before you submit your blog posts, status updates and tweets.
8. Starting an argument online
Starting an argument when someone makes a negative comment on your wall, or complains about your products, is a complete no-no. Never start an argument online, even if you feel the other person is wrong, as this would only draw more attention to the negative comment. Take the issue offline and resolve it immediately. Also, instead of worrying too much about the issue be happy that you got to know about your customer’s complaints directly, and not through someone else.
9. Deleting negative comments
Businesses dread negative comments and reviews. While some deal with the issue by starting an argument online, others try to pretend that everything is fine by removing all traces of negative feedbacks and complaints. This does not improve the situation and in fact makes it worse, sending out the message that the company is censoring the comments of its customers and not willing to resolve the issues that they are facing. Respond to all negative feedback in a positive manner. This shows that you care for your customers and are ready to help them.
10. Blindly following the herd
Just because everyone is using a particular social media tool and application, doesn’t mean you should use it too. There are new social media tools creating buzz everyday and even if it is working well for others, you should consider your purpose, plan and other resources before going ahead with something that is creating waves in the social media space.
11. Not focusing on community building
So, you have some great content on your blog and you have already joined social networking sites and online forums to market your products. Most of us would be thinking at this stage, that everything is set. But, the real action begins after that, when you have to build your community of fans and supporters. “What you do after you tape a show, or write a post is the whole game. Creating a community,that’s where the bulk of your hustle is going to go and where the bulk of your success will be determined”, says Gary Vaynerchuk, in his book Crush It. Ask yourself how you can provide meaning and add value. How can you be helpful to your community?
There are countless other mistakes that businesses make in the social media space, time and again. Know any other social media blunders? Share your ideas and let us know what you have learned from them.