Social media marketing has become a business buzz word like no other. Every company knows that it should be implementing online social media in some form but, getting it right is a different story. We’ve put together a few pointers about what not to do in order to help you along with your social media strategy.
Just because fundamentally social media is about conversations doesn’t mean you should hire anyone who can hold a conversation to fill the position. The person undertaking the job will be answering questions about products and/or services, responding to or redirecting complaints, sharing interesting content, providing more information; you want them to be professional and knowledgeable at all times.
Although it will be cheaper than a traditional advertising campaign, there are still costs you need to factor into a budget. The tools used in social media are (mostly) free (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn), but the time, effort and expertise required to make social media marketing effective has a very real financial cost.
In reality the largest group of Facebook users fall into the 35 – 54 age group and further to this, the fastest growing users are 55+. Age is irrelevant in social media usage, and life experience is a plus for social media marketers.
Because social media marketing is all about creating relationships with customers the staff handling the complaints, comments and questions need to be the very best representatives that your business has. Hiring people offshore will mean that they have no working knowledge of the company or of the real situations that your customers may face.
Social media is very much like a snowball; the start up may be slow but once it starts gathering fans it will begin to move faster and faster. Social media is about building relationships and influence. It takes time, but the payback can be much more lasting than a typical “marketing campaign” as well.
The biggest mistake you can make is believing that your business is too niche to enter into the world of social media successfully. In almost every occasion someone, somewhere is discussing your brand, your industry or your competitors in social media. You’re missing out if you’re not listening and participating.
It would be foolish to believe that just because there isn’t a blueprint for social media yet, that there aren’t any rules at all. Try to remember not to be excessively self-promotional, don’t try to automate everything, be sincere, add value – there aren’t a lot of rules, but these are a few very important ones.
There will always be situations where a company has to be a little more cautious about its social media participation and content, whether legal or accidently offensive. This said however, remember that there are people in your marketplace (customers, prospects, analysts, journalists, shareholders) who will be talking about your company and/or industry across social media channels right now. The real risk is in ignoring those conversations and missing important snippets.
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