As social media continues to cement itself as an effective online marketing tool for large and small businesses alike, thousands of marketers are making three very crucial mistakes as they search for the best methods of marketing their products and services to potential customers via social media channels. Avoiding these mistakes are crucial, as social media users are increasingly “unliking” and unfollowing brands in 2012.
Over-promoting your product.
This is the first and most common mistake that marketers make on social media sites. Remember: social media is a community (it does, after all, have the word social in it). As such, social media channels are places for you to share engaging and compelling content with followers. The mistake that people make is assuming that sharing “content” means blasting followers with products, products, and more products. I hate to break it to you, but the only thing that will come from slamming followers with product links and then sitting back and expect social media to do all the work for you is a massive wave of unfollows. You need to be social. Use your social media channels as a place to engage followers. An easy way to do this is to provide content that guides your audience. Ask leading questions that encourage dialogue with other followers. Ask customers for honest feedback on your company’s products and services. Respond promptly to customer questions and complaints. Show them their opinions and voices matter.
The bottom line: always put your social media followers before your product.
Although everyone is in the market for water, different brands of water have individual target audiences.
Believing your product is for everyone.
It’s not. Case in point: everyone needs water. Yet there are thousands of different products, brands, and types of water available on the market, and some people inexplicably prefer Dasani over Aquafina. The worst mistake that people make in believing their product is for everyone is that they fail to target the audience that’s most likely to actually buy their product or service. It’s crucial that you define and then get to know your target audience. Learn their consumption patterns. Don’t underestimate the amount of research you need to do to fully understand them. For example, knowing that your target market “uses social media” isn’t enough. What platform do they prefer? Are the majority of your loyal customers engaging with you on Facebook or Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest? The social media platform your followers prefer can clue you in on their preferences. And keep in mind from the first mistake: social media marketing should focus on building relationships with followers.
The bottom line: make sure you understand who you’re building a relationship with on social media.
Getting impatient and giving up.
The first lesson of inbound marketing is simply this: it takes time. Inbound marketing isn’t a quick-fix solution to your marketing problems. If you think you can build a strong following on social media overnight, you’re making the previous mistake all over again by believing your product is for everyone. You need to have a well-defined social media marketing strategy, and it needs to be a long-term strategy. Commit to posting creative, compelling content that differentiates you from others and engages your target audience on a regular basis. Schedule posts for x number of times a week depending on the size and scope of your company. Be sure to differentiate content across social media channels, as users who follow you on multiple platforms may feel overwhelmed by seeing the same post more than once. Commit to building real relationships with your followers, and remember that building a solid relationship with someone takes time.
The bottom line: don’t give up if you aren’t seeing immediate results. Social media marketing is a marathon.