TEN WAYS TO KILL A SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN
It’s no news that using social media can be a great way to market a business, blog, or service. The problem is that social media is a relatively new marketing tool, and the rules haven’t been fully developed yet. Even so, some things are just good sense. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t seem to realize that. They seem to view social media as a space where anything goes, no matter how far their marketing efforts stray outside traditional advertising rules of conduct. Even worse, they fail to tap into the new ways social media marketing could bridge the gaps between business and consumer.
Even if there is no one right way to do social media, there are certainly plenty of things you should not do. Here are the top ten ways to kill your social media campaign before it ever gets started.
Number 1: Blow up your followers’ newsfeeds
If you want people to unfriend, unfollow, or otherwise ignore you completely, go ahead and post 50 times per day. I mean, you have their undivided attention, right? You might as well let them know exactly what’s on your mind.
Nobody likes signing into Facebook to see their entire newsfeed being hogged by one person who can’t seem to shut up about themselves. Posting every business update you can come up with is the equivalent of that one Facebook friend who always alerts everyone to when he goes to the bathroom, picks his nose, or does anything else no one actually cares to know about. People will wind up disgusted and more than a little annoyed in both cases.
Number 2: Don’t interact with others
Think back to the most boring conversation you’ve ever had. You know the kind I’m talking about. No matter how much you blather on about the weather or the state of the economy, this guy had nothing to say other than “yes” “no” or the occasional head nod. Wasn’t that a fun time? No? Well your customers don’t like it either.
If a customer takes the time to interact with you via social media, then it’s the least you can do to say something in response. If someone tells you how much they love your products, say thank you. If another person has a complaint, then do your best to figure out what went wrong and fix it. Without the interaction, it isn’t exactly SOCIAL media. Use it to your advantage and form actual relationships with your customers. Novel concept, right?
Number 3: Only talk about yourself
The only thing customers love more than being constantly bombarded with advertisements and marketing messages is… well, just about anything else. It’s fine to let everyone know about your latest promotion, but just like in any advertising arena, don’t become too self-centered. The customer comes first. Always.
Number 4: Jump in without a plan
Businesses all seem to be acutely aware that the goal of any social media campaign is to get as many likes, tweets, friends, followers, and connections in the least amount of time as possible. That’s great, except that many of these businesses don’t seem to have a clue of what to do with these people once they have attracted them. What good is a friend if you don’t keep in touch?
The goal of any business is to make money. So it would make sense that the overall goal of gaining new social media followers would be to increase sales and earn new customers. To do that, you need to have some sort of plan. How will you get there? Holding contests? Giving free samples? There are plenty of options. Just make sure you know which one you’re using before you jump in.
Number 5: If you don’t see results in six months, go ahead and move on to something else
If social media doesn’t increase sales for you within the first few months, that obviously means something isn’t working, and you should probably just throw in the towel, right? Wrong. The problem with that is, social media isn’t the same as conventional advertising in many ways, so it can’t be measured the same. When you send out a direct mail piece, you’ll know relatively soon how well that piece did. With social media, however, things move more slowly.
Remember that customers aren’t always “liking” your page to buy something on the spot. Maybe they found a blog you wrote interesting and want to read new posts as they’re written. Maybe they want to ask questions to learn more about what you’re offering before making a decision. Maybe they only liked you because the person they have a crush on did, and they want them to think they have something in common. Whatever the reason, it takes time to build relationships. Get to know these new connections, listen to them, and give them the chance to become loyal customers over the long haul instead of persuading them to make one impulse purchase right now.
Number 6: Air your dirty laundry online
There is no better way to alienate potential customers than by arguing with or demeaning employees or existing customers via a social network. It should really go without saying, but don’t do this. Just because the Internet has given you a medium where you can post anything at any time for anyone to see, doesn’t mean you should.
Number 7: Don’t get to know your customers
Social media is different than other forms of marketing, right? So all those rules about learning your target audience aren’t really relevant, are they? Of course not, unless you want to actually make sales and develop a loyal following. Oh. That is what you want? Well then, the rules of conventional advertising still apply. Sorry.
Your readers want information that is valuable to them. Give it to them, and they’ll keep reading.
Number 8: Post your personal problems for the world to see
Social media is all about getting personal, so why not post about your nasty infection or that rude neighbor who stole your newspaper? Your customers will appreciate that you can “get real” with them, no?
It’s good to share personal details: how you got started in the business, the fact that you have kids who use the products you sell, and other things like that. There are boundaries, however, which shouldn’t be crossed. Your close personal friends may humor you when you post random personal and highly inappropriate content, but your customers will probably not extend the same courtesy.
Number 9: Don’t worry about hiring people who know what they’re doing
Any moron can put together a social media campaign. Sign on. Chat with some customers. Blah, blah, blah. How hard can it be? Well, pretty darn hard and time consuming, actually. Engaging in social media marketing can require a considerable number of hours spent doing market research, ROI, and actually engaging with consumers. Effective social media plans don’t happen by themselves, and it takes skilled professionals to pull them off effectively. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s something you can simply throw together.
Number 10: Set unrealistic goals
Social media is a helpful tool for marketing your business, but it won’t double your sales overnight. It takes a considerable amount of time and attention. Even when executed correctly, it is still but one of an arsenal of tools you should be using to market your business. Although it is extremely helpful in better understanding the needs and desires of customers (when used correctly), it won’t replace your other marketing efforts.