If you’ve ever been to an amusement park, you’d know about that one ride almost everyone is hankering to try out. It’s hugely popular and can be immediately identified by the long line of people waiting in anticipation to get on it. Those who’ve had their turn will either love it or think it was okay, but not worth the hype it’s been generating. Very few will really hate it. They will generally put it down as a worthwhile experience, one that was educative, even if it didn’t pan out the way they’d imagined it.
Social media marketing enjoys similar attention these days. It’s impossible to talk about SEO or the online industry (or for that matter anything else) without this topic making a sneaky appearance. You may love it, you may hate it, but there’s no ignoring it. Sites like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest have become the byword in the marketing industry and few other things have excited online businessmen like the social media phenomena.
True to human nature, those who’ve tried social media marketing are always willing to part with valuable advice on what to do and what not to do. How much of what they say is based on sound logic is questionable, but when people gather these ‘pearls of wisdom’ and string together a social media marketing strategy that isn’t very productive, we have trouble on our hands.
In this article, I make the attempt to go over a few common practices that may appear harmless but have the potential of sabotaging your social media campaign in the long run. Sounds scary, doesn’t it? If you don’t want that happening to you, stay hooked all the way to the end of the article. It promises to be educational.
The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing for Business
#1. Establish a Presence Everywhere
On. Every. Single. Social. Network. That advice sounds bizarre from the word go, but the number of people who take it seriously makes me believe that there seems to be a serious shortage of common sense in the world.
I mean, come on! Do you have any idea how many social network sites there are out there. Let’s take stock of them, shall we? And, for the sake of convenience, we’ll start with the more popular ones.
You still with me? Good, let’s continue …
- Live Journal
- Zorp ……
Let me know when you want me stop …
- Four Square
- Vimeo …
… Okay, I am running out of steam, but not names!
The point I am trying to make here is that there are countless social networks for the taking. If you’re hoping to be active on all of them, or even the top 10-15 ones, you’re going to end up dedicating many, many (exhausting) hours just managing your profiles – time that you could spend doing something more constructive like, for instance, furthering the interest of your business.
The saner thing to do would be to take stock of your market, resources, and objectives, choose 3-4 social platforms that your audience is most active on, and use them dedicatedly. For instance, if your business deals with travel, interior designing, landscaping, or fashion, Pinterest would be a lot more useful as compared to LinkedIn. However, the latter makes for an invaluable resource if you are offering products and services for business professionals.
Spread yourself out thin over numerous platforms and you’re in danger of burning out really fast. To conserve time and energy, be selective about the medium you are using and you’ll be just fine. Trust me.
#2. Keep Posting Updates Tirelessly!
Social media gurus will have you believe that inundating your hapless audience with a gazillion updates throughout the day is good marketing strategy. Yes, I can see how they’d arrive at that conclusion. After all, there are few things in life more pleasant than bumping into an ad every single minute or sorting through a hoard of irrelevant mailers with nothing but gibberish scrawled over them. Ah, the joy of logging into your email account and seeing 2671 spam messages or the thrill of finding your Facebook feed populated with nonsense from all quarters of the world! Who would want to miss out on such simple joys, right?
In case you are unable to detect the thick vein of sarcasm running through my tirade above, let me spell it out for you loud and clear – posting 10,000 updates is not the same as high engagement. Flood social networks with inane banter and the only result you are going to see is your followers bailing out you, attempting to put as much distance as they possibly can between you and their profiles.
What makes matters worse is when you refuse to customize your posts according to the social network you are using. In case you haven’t noticed, every platform attracts a very specific fan following that sets the culture and tone of conversation. You cannot get away with having the same kind of content everywhere.
For instance, did you know that Tweeters prefer text based updates whereas ‘Facebook-ers’ are more engaged by image based posts. Then again, the kind of content you might see on MySpace would be inappropriate for a professional platform like LinkedIn.
What I am trying to say is that the cookie cutter approach doesn’t work here. It’s extremely important to tailor your posts according to your audience. They are focus of your business and this is probably the very least you can do for them.
#3. Dealing with Negativity
When it comes to handling negative comments on social media, the advice varies from the comical to the baffling to the downright bizarre. When reading through them, I can’t help but question the motives of these so called experts who are ladling out wisdom to one and all so generously. If they are dead serious, we need to send them back to social media schools for some basic lessons. If they aren’t, I can only dismiss them as pranksters who revel in mischief and mayhem.
Here are some generic bits of advice you can follow … strictly at your own risk!
1. Don’t respond to negative comments: If you are planning on playing the ostrich and burying your head in the sand until the negativity dies out … well, good luck! Your audience might be able to forgive a genuine mistake but they’ll have a hard time forgetting that you didn’t even care enough to address the concern they raised. This would be brand management suicide at its apathetic worst.
2. Respond to every last negative comment you receive: … and you’ll be doing little else all day long! As a businessman, it’s important to differentiate between people who are raising genuine concerns and trolls who are out to cause trouble or capitalize on your visibility. Choose your battles and fight the ones that are the most meaningful.
3. Deleted post means problem fixed: Banking on the ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ adage, are we? You think deleting a post or a comment will get you out of the hot water you are stewing in? Sorry to burst your bubble, but what has been read cannot be unread and what is seen cannot be unseen. Besides, contrary to what people may think, the audience doesn’t always have a short memory span. Their ability to remember and hold a grudge will surprise you. Test it at your own risk.
4. Disable commenting altogether: Of all the ludicrous things I’ve heard, this one definitely takes the cake … and the icing and the cherry on top. Disabling comments is not going to stop people from saying what they have to about you. They will just do so on their own blogs or social media profiles where it will be a lot harder for you to mediate the discussion. Oh, and it also makes you look like a grumpy kid unwilling to deal with reality.
There is no one-size-fits-all policy I can recommend for handling negative comments, except one – Keep it genuine. Remember, one comment is all it takes to make friends out of foes and supporters out of detractors. While I wouldn’t ask you to chase down every unflattering thing ever said about you, there’s no harm in admitting to the mistakes you’ve made and taking appropriate steps to rectify them. You come across as someone who values feedback from a customer and cares enough to do something about it.
And the end result … ?
That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
So what is the worst social media marketing advice you have ever heard?
Author Bio: Sharon Michaels is a design specialist. A graduate from the National Institute of Design, Sharon currently works as a Subject Matter Expert, UX and Content for Addictive Media . In her spare time, she also turns her attention towards writing and photography.
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