How to avoid shooting yourself in the foot on social media


People spend time and budget in various ways trying to attract new customers. Social media has risen in popularity as a de-facto way of promoting brand awareness and reaching potential new audiences. So as such many small (and large) companies expend effort and cash in various ways on social media chasing an illusion. The illusion is that social media marketing is a silver bullet that will automatically attract new business and customers. The reality is this social media is a powerful tool and research has shown that it can be very effective, but you have to know how to use it; otherwise, you can end up shooting yourself in the foot. That’s where good social media management comes in.
Now that’s a fairly broad statement which needs some elaboration.
Ok to start with the benefits of social media marketing…….

In August 2014, the number of social network users worldwide was recorded at 1.79 billion by statistia. In the UK, there are 31 million Facebook users, 15 million Twitter users and that’s just the big two. There are other networks Pinterest, Linkedin and Google + to name a few.
Douglass Karr posted a very nice infographic back in 2014.

In it, there are a few interesting statistics like;

• 46% of web users look towards social media when making a purchase
• 8 out of 10 SMBs use social media for their business to drive growth
• 3 in 5 SMBs say they have gained new customers by using social media
• 67% of twitter users are more likely to buy from the brands they follow on twitter

So from all this you can draw the conclusion that there is a big audience out there on social media. If you know how to use it effectively you can reach them and turn them into customers. There are many businesses doing it now.

That’s the key “If you know how to use it effectively”. So many businesses start out on social media and just don’t.
Mistakes on social media really can damage your presence and waste your time. Things like;

1. Not engaging: Forgetting that it’s called “Social media” for a reason. If someone interacts with you, sends you a message, tweets you, posts on your wall respond. Not responding can have an adverse effect. People don’t like to be ignored. You can find yourself quickly removed confined to a wasteland of people and businesses that quickly became irrelevant. It’s also bad for your brand to be perceived as unapproachable, or too aloof to reply.

2. Taking on too much: Its hard work building up a decent presence on social media. You need to put in the time and make the effort to interact with people, constantly. If you are going to make any sort of impact you need to be continually posting interesting and engaging content. People don’t want the same tired thing regurgitated. Doing that on just one platform takes effort. Multiply that by x number of platforms and it’s easy to simply run out of time and resource to post effectively. Choose your platforms wisely. Don’t attempt to start out with a presence on every single platform out there. Target the ones you think will bring you most benefit and start there. You can build slowly as you go. It’s better to have a good presence on one platform than a mediocre one on five.

3. Overselling: Here is the thing, social media users like offers, promotions and discounts. They like news and engaging content. They like lots of things for various reasons. They don’t like pushy sales tactics or continual sales posts. It’s about finding a balance.

4. Failing to identify success criteria: You are spending time, effort and money on social media. It stands to reason you need to define what your criteria for success on social media are. Are you looking to drive traffic to your website? Are you trying to grow followers, increase engagement? Whatever you are doing you need to define your success criteria. Then you can determine how well your social media campaigns are performing.

So in summary, the audience is out there. You have the tools to reach them. You can reach them! You just need good social media management to avoid some common pitfalls and avoid shooting yourself in the foot.



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