5 big so­cial me­dia mis­takes to avoid

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE - By Mar­i­ana An­tonescu

No mat­ter what size company you are, so­cial me­dia can be a pow­er­ful mar­ket­ing tool which if done right can help ex­pand your company brand. But used the wrong way it can hurt your brand cost­ing you good­will and prospec­tive cus­tomers. Many fel­low en­trepreneurs and in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies have a pres­ence on so­cial me­dia but like oth­ers they are strug­gling to find the right way to es­tab­lish them­selves. So, let’s look at what it takes to have a suc­cess­ful so­cial me­dia pres­ence and what blun­ders to avoid.

1. Not hav­ing a strat­egy. Less than 20% of busi­nesses say that their so­cial me­dia strat­egy is ma­ture. Too many com­pa­nies jump into so­cial me­dia with no plan. They grab an em­ployee who seems to un­der­stand “the Face­book” and put them in charge. This rarely works. If you make mis­takes in your so­cial me­dia mar­ket­ing, they can come back to haunt you. So­cial me­dia users are bom­barded with too much in­for­ma­tion ev­ery sec­ond of the day. Busi­nesses that don’t have a strat­egy won’t ever cut through the clut­ter and de­liver an ef­fec­tive mes­sage to their tar­get au­di­ence. Cre­at­ing a strat­egy in­cludes hav­ing dis­tinct and mea­sur­able goals, de­vel­op­ing a clear so­cial me­dia pol­icy, and plan­ning out a con­tent cal­en­dar with end goals in mind. With­out a clear strat­egy, busi­nesses could cre­ate the best con­tent on the web, but re­ceive lit­tle to no en­gage­ment.

2. Try­ing to do it all. If you think that your company can de­vote its re­sources to ev­ery so­cial net­work and be suc­cess­ful, you may want to re­con­sider. So­cial me­dia mar­ket­ing is meant to build and so­lid­ify re­la­tion­ships with your cus­tomers, bring in new cus­tomers, and ul­ti­mately grow your business. It takes tremen­dous re­sources to do this right. You are bet­ter off pri­ori­tis­ing one or two so­cial net­works if you want to see real growth and suc­cess. If you only have enough time, money and en­ergy to de­vote to one or two ac­tiv­i­ties, then do it and do it well. Don’t spread your­self too thin by think­ing you can con­quer the so­cial me­dia world. You can’t. No brand can.

3. Fo­cus on qual­ity not quan­tity. Some com­pa­nies are will­ing to do any­thing to get more fol­low­ers or ‘likes’ from buy­ing fol­low­ers to stag­ing fake Twit­ter hacks. The prob­lem is likes don’t equal sales. While you may have to pay for ads to reach some of your au­di­ence, pay­ing to boost your fan count is a bad tac­tic that should be avoided. They add very lit­tle to your cam­paign since they won’t be as en­gaged as real fans. Real fans can spread brand aware­ness as well as be­come brand ad­vo­cates. It may seem like a great idea to boost the num­ber of fans by pur­chas­ing them, but it can ul­ti­mately be detri­men­tal to your brand. The so­lu­tion: fo­cus on qual­ity over quan­tity.

4. No mon­i­tor­ing and in­ter­act­ing with fol­low­ers. Rep­u­ta­tion is your big­gest mar­ket­ing weapon. Cus­tomers now place more trust in on­line reviews than ad­ver­tise­ments. Bri­tish Air­ways learned this the hard way when a Twit­ter user de­cided that the world needed to know about his lost lug­gage. An­noyed by BA’s fail­ure to find his lost suit­case, he paid for a pro­moted tweet, which was seen by more than 80,000 users. BA failed to re­spond for 8 hours as the mes­sage had been posted out­side its cus­tomer ser­vice hours. BA’s fail­ure to see the 24/7 na­ture of so­cial me­dia and im­ple­ment some sort of cri­sis man­age­ment meant that the prob­lem went on for far too long.

Re­spond­ing to posts helps con­sumers feel more con­nected to the brand. Busi­nesses should have a strat­egy in place to re­spond to posts, both neg­a­tive and pos­i­tive, and how to use the so­cial me­dia plat­form as a part of a cri­sis man­age­ment strat­egy. Re­spond­ing to fol­low­ers helps build trust be­tween brands and con­sumers, which can af­fect fu­ture sales and wordof-mouth mar­ket­ing.

5. Not in­te­grat­ing with other dig­i­tal as­sets. So­cial me­dia works best when in­te­grated with other dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing ef­forts. One mis­take many busi­nesses make is to leave their so­cial me­dia ac­counts sep­a­rate. Not only should the ac­counts be linked, they should also be di­rectly tied to web­sites, emails and paid search ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paigns. Not con­nect­ing th­ese ac­counts re­duces the amount of reach each as­set has sep­a­rately. Max­i­mize tools that will help you in man­ag­ing mul­ti­ple ac­counts, and sort­ing in­for­ma­tion rel­e­vant to your business such as HootSuite.

There will be bumps, sharp rights, and many un­ex­pected ac­cel­er­a­tions but as long as you have the de­sire to play the game and put in the ef­fort, you’ve got a solid chance at win­ning. All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets bet­ter ev­ery day you learn and ap­ply new lessons.

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