Social media is becoming a common marketing tool. Businesses are using social media in their marketing strategies as a way to gain new customers and reach out to their existing clients. According to MarketCharts.com states that social media has a direct influence on brand search. The fact that social media can have such an impression on brand discovery is a great thing to hear, but sadly there are many companies out there that are making common mistakes within social media and in fact are not getting the most benefit out of using social media as another new marketing tool. Businesses see that social media is ‘in’ and tend to dive in to the Facebook waters without carefully planning out their strategy or goals. Below are five mistakes in using social media for business, that you should be aware of.
1. Not Filling Out Your Profile or Fan Page Enough
When you first meet someone no matter where you are and you begin a conversation, does it usually start out with exchanging names and then silence? I don’t think so!! This is the way you should think about your profile. It is a conversation starter and a way for someone to get to know you, your brand or businesses while they’re doing their research. People nowadays research and then do some more research before purchasing, so make sure that there is enough information out there to educate the individual. Add links in your profile to your company site so people can access your business site with ease. Remember social media is a part of your search engine optimization strategy, so make sure you’re using appropriate keywords in your profile too, because this will also help your SEO efforts. Finally, add a photograph don’t just leave it blank. No one wants to see a white silhouette with a weird shaped head as a picture of you. If you’re not really comfortable showing your face, then post a picture of a place your like or even an avatar that shows your likeness. The point is to add some character to start a conversation going.
2. Think Before You Tweet
If you are posting content, it’s best to have a plan around what content you will be putting on social networks and how often you will be adding content. Posting random link after link will not only waste your time, but will also annoy people following you in social media spheres. Think ahead and make sure it is mixed up a bit. People not only want to educated, but also they want to be entertained so be creative and post not only words, but mix it up with videos, pictures or podcasts. For example, LinkShare’s parent company Rakuten is trying to expand their viewership to English speaking countries. In their international efforts, they’ve created a fan page on Facebook to educate individuals not only about who they are, their products and company information, but also fun content about Japanese fashion trends, food and culture. They also ask for feedback on what people have purchased an most importantly, respond quickly to questions and concerns. At the end of the day it is all about planning out your content and also timing the posting of your content so it is just right to entertain and educate without being too noisy. Secondly, make sure that what you’re posting on social networks is appropriate. There have been many instances where people were not thinking before they posted certain content which had serious repercussions. Remember not only can your friends see this content, but also work colleagues and even your bosses, so make sure what you’re feeding out into social networks is something you won’t regret later.
3. Expecting Overnight Success and Fame
Social media is NOT like any type of Pay Per Click (PPC) search program, therefore you will NOT see results in 24 hours or less. Social media is like two things, SEO and Relationships. They both take time and effort and you have to pay your dues for them to work. Social media does not only help you with engaging and building new relationships, but search engines give credit to individuals active in social networks like Facebook and Twitter. If you have any business related press releases, news, or any sort of insightful information for that matter, share on social media networks. You will be surprised how sharing knowledge can benefit you and your business. Once you’re on these social networks and creating conversations, sharing knowledge and news, over time you will see increase in your online brand presence. While PPC is quick and effective, if you stop, your results suffer instantly. Social media is not a quick success solution but like Search Engine Optimization is long lasting.
4. Not Measuring Your Efforts
While social media is still considered a new marketing tool, it is vital that before you set up any project utilizing social media, you want to find out what you are going to measure. Once you figure out what you want to accomplish with social media, you will then want t figure what metrics would be best in order to reach those goals. For example does increase in engagement on social media affect your ROI and does the traffic from social media go to your website? These are things that must be considered so you can track and find out what actions lead to revenue. There are many tools you can use to track your social media efforts. Mashable’s blog post on “How To: Measure Social Media ROI” will give insight into this matter so you can show that you’re in fact creating interest and brand awareness on social media spheres, not wasting company time.
5. Thinking Social Media is Free & Not Training Employees
I decided to have two parts for number five, because quite frankly it’s my blog post, but also that these two points do relate to one another.
If you are a company and think you’re wanting to get into social media because it’s free and easy, think again. While creating accounts in social media like Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are in fact free, the time and effort put into social media should be considered just as important as any other investment with marketing tools. It is somebody’s time that it is costing to be in these social media sphere’s and their time is money. Social media cannot be taken lightly and something that cannot be set up and left alone. There is not point in setting up social media accounts if you’re not going to engage in them. Also leaving them to be run by interns or employees without training leads me to my second point.
Training in social media is something that many, MANY corporations still lack. While social media appears to be simple, it is a place where it can make and even break your brand. Individuals who take part in social media represent your brand and reputation so you want to make sure that there are policies and guidelines in place to ensure that there is no way individuals can damage your company’s voice in any way. When hiring new employees, social media training and how to engage properly should be taught so they know what they can and cannot do. Social Media Governance is an online database of various social media policies. I suggest if your company does not have a social media policy, you should consider it. After all it is your company’s brand and reputation on the line.
- By Victoria Edwards, SEO/Social Media Internet Marketing Specialist