Social media are the future. They’re going to play a huge part in how we interact in the ever-expanding virtual world. While we believe the various social media are still in their formative years, we have already learned many things.
We now know that social media have the power to make or break us. Even in business, social media offer an enormous opportunity for companies to get ahead of the competition.
On the flip side, social media could, at best, do nothing more than waste precious time and resources if used the wrong way (or neglected altogether).
With the explosion of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and rising star Pinterest, Mark Zuckerberg’s statement that the Internet is defaulting to social is becoming more evident.
As more and more people scour the social space for ideas and brands, it’s hard to ignore the awesome leverage that social media bring.
For businesses, social media offer the following benefits:
Indeed, social media are becoming steadily more important, possibly even indispensable. They’ve barely gotten started, but they’re already set to change the way we do business.
However, while social media provide simplicity and ease of use, there are certain mistakes to be wary of.
Let’s take a look at the five social media mistakes that every business needs to avoid.
Mistake #1: Posting updates just for the sake of posting
Participating actively in social media activities is important. It promotes better brand recall, and it’s good for SEO.
However, for most people on Facebook, Twitter, and other heavily populated social media sites, one of the most annoying things are posts that have been published by people or brands just for the heck of it.
Posts that lack purpose or are entirely useless waste your audience’s time, as well as yours.
Try to be useful when pursuing social media activities. Before updating your social media page, ask yourself, “What do I want to achieve with this post?”
Is it to engage? Is it to provide information? Is it to drive traffic to a blog post that addresses a certain issue? Is it to entertain?
Mistake #2: Getting too promotional
It’s good to inject some promotional zip into your social media posts, but you should keep it to a minimum. Being overly promotional is one of the surest ways of reducing the number of people subscribed to your updates.
Vary your posts, but stay as relevant as possible. It won’t hurt to share funny videos and images once in a while.
A good rule of thumb is that for every five posts, only one should be promotional in nature.
Mistake #3: Not posting enough
Social media marketing helps boost your brand. If you are just starting out and looking to use social media as a way to promote brand recall for your business, update your social media pages on a regular basis.
People will forget you if you don’t post often enough throughout the day or week.
But how regular is updating on a regular basis? Twice per day? Three times per day? It depends on your goals, but I recommend posting at least once each business day.
Also, for maximum exposure, pay attention to the time of day when there’s a high level of activity within your social network.
Mistake #4: Not reaching out to your network’s circle of influence
Your network’s circle of influence is composed of people who are authorities with substantial influence and a mouth-watering number of followers. These are people others follow for their expertise.
Reaching out to influential people within your circle raises the chances your content might go viral. The problem is, too many of us are afraid to do so for fear of rejection. The thing is, a lot of things in life are uncertain. Just reach out to them, anyway.
To increase your chances of persuading heavy hitters to share your content with their network of followers, show them the value of your content. Show them how your content could be beneficial to their audience.
So where do you find influential people around your network or niche?
Twitter. For one, Twitter offers a list of people to follow based on information you put in your profile. Take advantage of this list by following these people first. You can then build rapport with them by tweeting and re-tweeting their updates. It’s also a great idea to send them direct messages on Twitter once in a while to pitch your idea or simply to send your appreciation.
Google+. Like Twitter, Google+ offers a list of people to follow or add to your circles based on your profile. The great thing about Google+ is it’s teeming influential personalities, thought leaders and industry experts.
LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn. With its recent redesign, I love it even more. It’s a place where you can find experts from a wide range of industries and niches, and finding them is quite easy, thanks to LinkedIn’s vast collection of groups. You can join up to 50 groups and follow discussions to get an idea of who the influencers are in each group. It’s also recommended that you provide meaningful contribution to the discussions to make it easier for you to reach out to influential experts.
You can also take advantage of knowledge sites such as Quora to find experts and influential people from various niches.
Mistake #5: Failing to seize lead-generating opportunities
This is what social media marketing is: generating leads and revenue. While it’s recommended to keep promotions to a minimum, always include a call to action each time you do promote. Show people where they can get your product. Show them how to sign up for your service. Show where to get discount codes for your items.
When including a call to action, communicate it with a sense of urgency. Let readers know why they should act now. Is your offer for a limited time only? Are you offering your services to just the first 10 callers?
Social media are here for the long haul, and keeping yourself abreast of all the changes happening around this thriving online marketing channel could help you keep your brand right in front of your customers.