Afternoon Colony 🙂 Your resident Social Media Queen Bee is back in control of this post today, whilst trying to decide what to write today’s piece about so many things crossed my mind, but instead I’ve decided to focus on some REAL nuggets of information that will help you out a lot with your Social Media marketing.
“I’ve learned so much from my mistakes I’m thinking about making some more”
For some traditional marketers out there, Social Media can seem a scary place to be – as some of these mistakes can actually turn into a Public Relations nightmare, but in today’s online, connected world we live in these things can happen, so the SMART thing to do would to actively be a part of the conversation, engage with people because it will be too late to try and build your network once a problem has arisen.
7 Common Social Media Mistakes …… And HOW to Avoid Them
1) A Lack of RESPECT towards others on social media platforms. Who would have thought this, Social Media runs on the old fashioned ‘Good Manners’ …. It’s true, just like in those old mafia-esque films like The Godfather – the old fashioned values stick. Just because you work for a global brand / company does not mean those people in your social media networks will automatically listen to you. Think like a ‘customer/follower’ (if you’re involved in social media, you’ve been a customer, listening right?!) Remember they are thinking ‘WIIFM’ (What’s in it for me?) You might also want to note, that by just ‘tweeting’ them with special offers may not cause them to pay attention for any longer than making the purchase.
How do you avoid this – BY LISTENING TO YOUR CUSTOMERS / PROSPECTS AND WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ACROSS THE VARIOUS PLATFORMS. Be active in this, and where possible respond / engage where appropriate. It is VERY helpful to deliver some level of customer service to your clients via social media sites – so be prepared to build this into your social media activity.
2) Using ROBOTIC / TECHNICAL Corporate Jargon on social media platforms. PEOPLE BUY INTO PEOPLE, therefore social media requires a human presence. If people don’t believe there is a person behind the tweets / updates / pages then you are doing your business | product | service a severe injustice. Broadcasting messages only about your products / company repeatedly causes people to switch off. Me, Me, Me constantly is how a lot of marketers miss the boat in the social media world.
How do you avoid this – Before you start pushing out your business orientated messages, spend some time LISTENING (oh look it’s that word again!) to the conversation your network of people are having. Realise that there are many dimensions to what things people talk about, and understand that they are talking about many different things all at once. Constant messages that would of only be interest to those inside your world / business will not generate interest from your followers and lack power across all the platforms. You MUST participate in the conversations happening around you, People buy into People so always be thinking ‘How can I help/ what can I give?’ It makes you sound Human (which is exactly what we all are at the end of the day!)
3) ‘Buy My Product, Buy My Product’ There is NOTHING WORSE than a pushy salesperson – we’ve all experienced this haven’t we? It makes you want to walk quickly in the opposite direction. The exact same principle applies in social media, and infact it’s probably worse within social media, because your first encounter with someone isn’t a face to face one, it’s a virtual one. By pushing your sales message straight on people you’ve only just (virtually) met proves you do not understand how social media platforms work.
How do you avoid this – Change your tactics on social media platforms. You can opt for a ‘deal of the day’ or an ‘offer of the week’ or even a platform specific promotion –i.e. to get 25% off your first order just quote ‘Twitter25’ over the phone. And show these updates ONCE a day, and for every ONE self-promoting / company message you should make at least 10 messages to your prospects / customers offering help, advice & value.
4) Build a following for one campaign. Without fully understanding the time and effort involved to keep your social media going forwards, some marketers (or people in charge of social media within a company) may just build a following based on one campaign, without thinking about how to keep them active and interested once that is over. US Basketball player Lebron James did exactly this, built up a following / created interest around which team he was going to join in July 2010, and instead of providing fans and followers with reasons to support his decision, he seriously pi**ed them off.
How do you avoid this – Start by understanding the relationship nature of social media. Getting engagement for a one-time promotion = customers taking your deal and then leaving. Instead USE this promotion to build long standing relationships with your prospects. Create an action plan for on-going interaction/marketing with them, as this will be what turns prospects into paying customers.
5) Forgetting to incorporate your brand into your social media. Businesses work hard to establish and grow their brand right from the word go. Branding should therefore be an integral part of your social media interactions. Including pages, interactions, conversations and content. It runs much deeper than just a company logo avatar, and colour co-ordinating pages to match that of your business’s
How do you avoid this – EXAMINE your company from the inside out, think about how you will portray your company identity in your social media interactions. Social Media is about CONTENT and SHARING … A good idea is to look at case studies within your business and consider using those.
6) Employ a student who knows about Facebook. Naturally it can be attractive to hire someone who is young, enthusiastic and understands social media to handle this for your brand / company. BUT it kind of overlooks the importance you are placing on your company. Experience and maturity are required to really understand your business and most importantly the public. People take social media seriously, so you should be prepared to put your best foot forward.
How do you avoid this – To the people you want to reach you must show that your business is serious about social media, you do this by having employees that know your company / products/ business / branding running your social media activity. Provide them with the training that gives them the skillset to do so, create a social media policy which educates them how to represent your business correctly AND what to do as private citizens of these social media platforms.
7) Are you invisible in your social media activity? Social Media requires a level of ‘putting yourself out there’ this does not mean you need to divulge information on your competitive edge to others, nor does it mean you need to advertise your financial statements. But your target market and prospects will want to know where you stand and what you’re up to, so a level of transparency is very much needed.
How do you avoid this – BE TRANSPARENT (when required) don’t just open up a social media account and just hide in the shadows watching everything going on around you. Create a good profile that best represents your business and shows off your point of view. Make sure your representatives are trained in social media and that they understand your business, so that they can hang out on social media platforms engaging with your prospects with a level of transparency, without giving away all your corporate secrets.
Those are my 7 top tips there covered, we are all going to make mistakes when it comes to Social Media. It moves at such a vast pace and is constantly evolving; there is no way to guarantee (even with the best laid marketing plans) that you won’t face problems.
The important thing here is to be prepared to respond in the world that now seems to be running 24/7 and how to handle the communication publicly. For further information and online training, then we have “The Hive” which is our members only online learning portal for you to really understand all aspects of running your business online – which if you haven’t already done so, head on over and get your 30 day free trial!
Clair – aka Queen Bee 🙂