Getting to post on Facebook for work may sound like fun at first, but once you identify the potential risks, running a social media marketing campaign can start to feel like walking through a house full of booby-traps. One wrong step, and you’ve done irreversible damage to your company’s reputation. What seemed like a dream job, can quickly turn into a nightmare if you don’t properly prepare yourself.
Here are 6 Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
1. Choosing the Wrong Person to Lead
To properly run a large scale social media marketing campaign, you need the right person to run it. Don’t just go with the first person who volunteers and trust that they will do OK. All too often, companies just hand over their accounts to unqualified people who will run their reputation into the ground. To avoid making this mistake, businesses should hire an expert, or invest in specialized training for an in-house person who wants to do it.
Saying the wrong thing won’t just make you look bad, it could get you sued. The stakes are high, so pick your leader wisely.
2. Using an Inconsistent Tone
A social media campaign that has different voices, alternating themes, and contradictory tones can make your business look unorganized and amateur. It will quickly become obvious to your users that your company has a revolving door of people generating content.
Start your campaign with a solid team of experienced marketers and establish a content strategy in advance so it doesn’t look like your company is all over the place. The most effective social media marketing efforts work to strengthen branding. Showing inconsistencies in your overall message quickly weakens your company’s brand and makes you look bad.
3. Not Responding to Comments
Social media is a two-way street. If you don’t use accounts like Facebook and Google + as an opportunity to communicate with your customers, they will quickly figure out that your company is simply manipulating these profiles for self-serving reasons, and abandon you.
I know it sounds harsh, but companies who use social media as an excuse to beat their chest and steal the spotlight are the equivalent to a selfish friend who only calls you when they need something. It gets old pretty fast.
4. Not Offering Special Deals or Incentives to Your Followers
Many businesses simply create an account and start posting, assuming that their customers will follow them because they like the product or service. In order to substantially grow your social media audiences, you should offer your followers something special that only they can get. Personally, I only sign up for email lists if I will be offered exclusive content that isn’t featured on the company’s blog. Otherwise, what’s the point of signing up if you can just read the exact same content on the blog? Likewise, if I am going to “Like” a company page or “follow” a brand on Twitter, there better be something good in it for me. Research suggests that most people feel this way. Offer special one-time deals to your social media audiences. These kind of incentives are a great way to keep your fans happy—and engaged.
5. Jumping in Without a Plan
Before launching a social media marketing campaign, take the time to establish an editorial calendar and select agreed upon topics the content team can post about. The social media marketing team should stay informed about upcoming promotions and deals so they can work them into their content schedule in advance.
It’s also smart to learn about your target audience, and deliver content they will be interested in. A thoughtful, organized social media campaign that has been crafted by professionals will be far more effective than letting a group of inexperienced interns dive in head first without clear objectives or planning.
Thanks to years of sleazy Internet advertising techniques and emails from Nigerian Princes offering us vast sums of money in exchange for a “temporary loan,” the average Joe has become ultra-sensitive to spam. Due to extreme levels of overexposure, the general public has an exceptionally low tolerance for this “high pressure” marketing style.
Your audience must “get something” from following you. That something could be entertaining or funny posts, exclusive promotions, or deals, or informative tips. In order to be successful, social media marketing must carry a deeper message other than “buy our stuff.” This single-minded messaging is both shallow and short-sighted.
Moral of the Story
Social media is a powerful tool that can either help or hurt your business. These days, everyone understands that incorporating social media into their business strategy is a must. But, this relatively new business add on comes with a fair share of pitfalls and setbacks. The right strategy can help you connect with your customers, promote your brand, and bring in sales, but a poorly managed social media campaign can backfire within seconds. And once something is out there on the Internet, you can never take it back!
Jessica Ruane is a copywriter and content strategist for Instant Checkmate. To read more about creating effective online content for your business, find Instant Checkmate on Myspace.