5 Social Media Mistakes That Are Holding You Back
Congratulations on your website, blog, and new social media accounts. As a small business owner, give yourself a pat on the back for wading into the new world of marketing your business online. Now that you have Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest or other social media profiles, you have the tools to build an online following, grow your customer base and increase sales.
Don't get too comfortable just yet, though. Opening the accounts is merely the beginning. While many entrepreneurs are joining the ranks of businesses using social media to spread the word about their products and services, this new form of marketing has ample room for error.
Take some time to study what NOT to do and avoid wasting time and money on these social media marketing mistakes that could be holding you back.
Not Having a Social Media Marketing Plan
This is the first social media marketing mistake that businesses make. Tweeting or posting Facebook status updates on a whim without careful planning and a social media strategy is ineffective and can cause confusion amongst your followers, especially if posts appear inconsistently and are on random topics. Take some time to identify your typical customer, and schedule posts that will appeal to them at optimal times of the day or week. Integrate your posts with other promotions or marketing initiatives occurring in your business. For example, invite Facebook followers to your end-of-season sale, or provide Twitter followers with links to your latest "how-to" blog post series.
Social Media Branding Mistakes
Don't make the mistake of establishing your social media presence as separate from other public relations or marketing activities. Consistent branding across all online and offline business communications is crucial to building a seamless branding campaign. Social media profiles and posts should bear the same look and feel as your website, logo, and bricks-and-mortar stores or offices. Treat your social media accounts as additional tools in your business branding toolbox.
It's easy to get excited when you start posting for your business on social media sites, but proceed with caution. It is poor social etiquette to continuously post a stream of self-promotional status updates, tweets or pins. Social media isn't all about the poster, but rather about providing valuable information for the social media community. Posting too often, posting links to bad quality or irrelevant content, and posting exclusively about your own business are social media no-nos. Be sure to post links to other online articles, blog posts, images and infographics that provide some benefit to your readers.
Ignoring Opportunities to Engage on Social Media Sites
As businesses move towards relationship marketing or long-term relationship building with customers, the opportunity to interact and engage in two-way communication becomes increasingly important. Social media platforms gives a business the chance to build an entire virtual community around their brand by asking for input from their customers. Get readers involved by asking them to vote in a poll, post pictures or share a story. Most importantly, immediately respond to all requests, concerns, or questions especially negative comments - to illustrate your continued commitment to customer service.
Neglecting to Analyze Your Social Media Data
Your social media followers are the most valuable source of information about the likes and dislikes of your target market because they ARE your target market! Don't ignore the gold mine of data they provide. Collect, analyze and evaluate information about your followers and your posts to make decisions about future online marketing strategies. Which tweets were retweeted? Which Facebook status updates received the most likes? Which pins and boards on Pinterest have the most followers, favorites and repins?
Pay attention to what your followers pay attention to, and what questions they ask on your social media sites. Doing so can generate ideas not only for new social media posts, but new directions for product lines or services.
These are just a few of the common social media marketing mistakes that businesses make as we all learn about this new form of digital communication. Accept the fact that you too will make some mistakes as you learn about social media, but the important thing to remember is that your business won't benefit from the amazing marketing potential of social media if you don't give it a try.