Social media has become part of almost every individual’s daily routine, and being the experts that they are, online marketers have quickly taken notice. This is why more and more businesses are now using social media to promote their respective brands. If, until now, you’re still unsure whether there are indeed benefits to be gained from social media marketing, you may want to take a quick look at some facts:
- About 70% of Internet users in the United States alone now use Facebook regularly and about 40% use Twitter.
- The cost of social media marketing can be up to 700 times lower than that of traditional advertising.
- A survey asking about how much people trusted information sources had social media with a 43% trust rating, compared to 39% for TV and radio, and 25% for direct mail.
These are just a few of the reasons why it can indeed be worthwhile for business owners to start marketing their brand on social media. In fact, about 93% of companies now use or are at least planning to use social media for marketing purposes. So, you may be wondering, why are there so few of these businesses that are actually reaping significant benefits from their social media efforts?
Survey says only about 12% of business that use social media are actually seeing significant positive effects from their efforts. There are several possible reasons why this is so. Before you jump into the social media pool, it may be a good idea to check these reasons and avoid committing any of these common social media faux pas:
1. Lack of a Solid Strategy
Here’s one very important reminder for using social media to promote your brand: Don’t get too excited. You need to sit down and take some time to map out a clear strategy for spreading the news about your brand on social channels. You also need to identify the individuals who will become part of your social media team. These are the people who will represent your company on your chosen social channels, so you need to choose them very carefully.Bear in mind that there are plenty of opportunities and advantages you are likely to miss out on if you jumped right into social media marketing without a solid plan in place. And the lack of a well-prepared plan is likely to result in nothing but wasted time and resources. You may even be doing more harm than good to your brand by going in without a plan.
2. Use of Automated Greetings and Responses
There are a lot of applications out there that allow you to input greetings that will automatically be sent to every person who follows you online. Some of these applications also allow you to input automated responses to questions commonly asked about your brand. The biggest advantage offered by these applications, of course, is the fact that it makes the management of your social media accounts very convenient.But is the convenience you get really worth the risk involved in automating your greetings and responses? Note that people have an uncanny way of recognizing automated greetings and responses. They know when they’re chatting with a bot and when they are really chatting with a human representative. In general, businesses that use automation are seen as lazy and impersonal. Surely you wouldn’t want to have that kind of reputation, would you?
3. Failure to Leverage Calls to Action
Surely you know what a call to action is, right? This is a vital part of any marketing campaign, whether you’re using traditional or online channels. Even on social media, where most of the marketing you do needs to focus more on meaningful conversations with your audience, you still need to leverage solid calls to action. Whenever you post content on your social channels, you need to clearly explain what you want your audience to do after consuming the content.
4. Failure to Perform Cross-channel Promotion
When you market your business on social media, you cannot use a single platform and expect resounding success from your efforts. You need to use at least three different platforms to reach as many of your target market as you can. In using these different social platforms, your efforts have to be integrated in order to create a unique voice for your brand and achieve optimum results.
When you map out your social media marketing plan, therefore, make sure your efforts on every platform you choose to use are all interconnected. The voice you use on Facebook, for example, should be the same voice you use on Twitter, albeit adjusted to maximize the strengths of each platform and address the needs of each set of audience. The approach may be different for each channel, but the overall image projected should be the same.
Yes, the main reason why you’re using social channels is to promote your brand. But that doesn’t mean you should use your social accounts exclusively for selling. In fact, doing nothing but selling is the surest way to kill your brand on social media.There is a reason why it is called social media. The primary reason people are there is to—you got it—socialize. Even when they visit business pages on social channels, they don’t expect to get an endless barrage of advertisement. Rather, they’re there because they want to know more about the business—who you are, what values you hold, what solutions you have to offer, etc.Promoting your brand on social media therefore means you have to be truly social. Talk to your audience. Thank them for following you and commenting on your posts, answer their questions, provide valuable insights on topics they express interest in. More importantly, learn more about them and their needs so you can continue providing effective solutions.
6. Irritating Repetitiveness
Picture yourself at a cocktail party. Would you say something to someone and then keep repeating it for the next couple of hours? You probably wouldn’t, unless you wanted everyone to ignore you for the rest of the party. But if you wanted to be ignored, why go to the party in the first place, right?So, if you won’t keep repeating yourself in a face-to-face conversation, why should you do it on social media? Remember that social networking sites are simply the online equivalent of physical venues where people meet and mingle. They are there to communicate with each other, not to listen to a boring playlist on loop.No matter how interesting or important your point is, no one is going to appreciate it if you keep rubbing it in their faces. Say what you want to say in each platform you’re using and then STOP. Check out what people have to say about your post and then respond to that; get the conversation going. That’s how you get people interested in your content, not by posting it again and again and again.
7. Failure to Use the Strengths of Your In-house Team
Many businesses make the mistake of “training” their entire social media team to say the same things and basically “speak in the same voice” whenever they address comments or answer questions online. While it’s true that you need to adopt a single underlying theme for our content across all social platforms, that doesn’t mean you have to turn the members of your team into boring mouthpieces.A better way of training your team would be to coach them on what they can and cannot do while representing you online and then allow them to converse in their own way. This is an excellent way of showing personality. It shows your audience that they’re conversing with actual people and effectively makes them more comfortable with your brand. This is a necessary step towards earning their trust and loyalty.
By reviewing these common mistakes, you should have a good idea as to how you can effectively use social media to promote your brand and how to make sure your efforts aren’t wasted. At this point, more than half of businesses all over the world admit that they still need to overcome a learning curve in order to effectively launch a successful social media marketing campaign. Knowing the above faux pas and avoiding them is a good first step towards overcoming the learning curve.
In many cases, businesses choose to conduct a sort of controlled experiment in using social media for marketing purposes primarily because they do not fully grasp the opportunities it presents and the benefits it offers. Understand, though, that you aren’t likely to reap its optimum rewards unless you’re willing to go all-out in using social media.
You should no longer be hesitant about using social media to market your business. It does indeed have some huge benefits to offer where your bottom line is concerned. The key is to craft a solid plan, take the right approach, and execute the plan as systematically as possible. Rushing is never a good idea, so when you decide to go social, be sure not to get too excited.