Social media marketing is still the hot topic in town.
But even large businesses with expert marketers on the job make rookie mistakes when it comes to social media. Here are the top five social media marketing mistakes that you need to watch out for.
#1. Using the wrong metrics
When people are forced to deal with a subject that they don’t understand, they often try to gain some sense of control by applying the same rules to it that they’ve seen to work in their area of expertise. This kind of simplistic thinking can be the rot of many mistakes.
Many conventional marketers make this sort of mistake when they try to measure the success of their social media marketing efforts. They use the number of fans or followers that their efforts have gained for the company as the primary yardstick by which to measure their success. They tell themselves that if viewership numbers matter in the television business and circulation numbers matter in newspapers, follower numbers should matter in social media.
In truth, though, it doesn’t matter how large a social footprint you have. You could have thousands of Facebook fans without it making a difference to your business. In social media, what matters is how much people feel compelled to talk about your business by tweeting about it, bringing your business up on Facebook and sharing your videos among their friends. Businesses that truly understand social media marketing use metrics that make sense for social media. They measure brand sentiment, the number of times their customers share their experience with the company’s customer service department and so on.
#2. Setting up too many social network accounts
At one point, IBM discovered that hundreds of their managers had an IBM-branded Twitter presence, each one with his own handle. People who wished to follow IBM on Twitter had no idea which one of these was the real IBM. Top management had to intervene and shut down all but a few accounts.
Managing one social media business account properly can be a huge responsibility by itself. Even large companies often have trouble adequately staffing and running a lone Facebook account. Many small businesses, though, make the mistake of jumping headfirst into every social media platform, major and minor – Google+, Pinterest, Vine, Ning, Tumblr and FourSquare, among others. They only think of how they are stretched too thin after they’ve set up pages everywhere and got a handful of fans. They are then forced to abandon many networks and lose face. The lesson to learn here is that no small business has the resources to run more than one or two social networking accounts.
#3. Making your social presence all about you
Just as no one likes to be around a person who just likes to talk about himself, no one likes hanging around the Facebook page of a brand that can’t get enough of itself.
Brands that have no idea how social networking works jump in thinking that it’s a traditional advertising platform. All they ever give their followers are advertisements and unimpressive discounts to buy stuff with. While it isn’t wrong to get in a little advertising, it won’t do to plan your Facebook content around advertising. Even conventional TV advertising doesn’t work without offering humor, good music and visuals and an interesting plot. If you are going to get your business on a social network, you should concentrate on finding out what kind of content your customer base is interested in and invest in high quality content creation to meet the need.
If nothing else, you should try to make your Facebook presence customer-centric by promptly responding to every comment.
#4. No communication
Businesses run efficiently through division of labor. They create separate departments with specialized knowledge of HR, customer service, marketing and so on. Creating a separate, self-contained department for social networking, though, doesn’t work. Every business needs to involve multiple departments in its social media marketing effort.
The marketing, PR and customer service departments need to be in the loop.
#5. You don’t have a plan
In many companies, the decision to jump on the social bandwagon is an emotional one, not one that’s the result of thinking and planning. This results in a social presence that is always run on improvisation and seat-of-the-pants creativity. An unplanned approach can result in lost opportunities. For instance, if your business doesn’t have an editorial calendar for your social media presence, you may simply neglect to say something important and relevant when the Super Bowl comes around, when the back-to-school shopping season starts and so on.
Sometimes, businesses manage to be unsuccessful without making any of these mistakes. This can come from unwillingness to try anything new. The most important thing with putting your business on a social network is to be engaged and to constantly try to find a way to reach out to your customer base and be relevant to them.
Guest author: Bill Nixon is immersed in all things social media and marketing. An experienced writer, you can find his interesting articles mostly on marketing, business and financial blog sites. Check out these reviews about services like Yodle for more ideas.
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