Eighty-nine percent of marketers believe that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses, according to data from a Social Media Examiner study. Companies say they are using social media to collect market intelligence, develop a fan base, increase their SEO, and sell more products.
With so many social media possibilities, it’s easy to take a wrong turn from effective to erroneous, cautions social media marketing company HipLogiq. “It’s important to have a clear plan in place and understand how it integrates with other marketing initiatives so you maximize the time, energy, and money you’re investing,” says Lindsey Madison, HipLogiq cofounder and chief products officer. HipLogiq’s SocialCompass and SocialCentiv apps help businesses find new customers on Twitter. “Each social network has its own type of audience and style, and businesses will find the most success if they tailor their strategy to the individual social network,” says Madison. “Just having a presence on Facebook or Twitter isn’t enough to reach your goals. You have to maintain closer relationships with customers and understand what they’re looking for and what you can offer to help.”
To avoid rookie mistakes, Madison identifies the biggest blunders to beware of on the major social media networks.
1) Facebook. When it comes to Facebook, simply creating a business page isn’t enough. Small businesses’ biggest mistake with Facebook is not being consistent with posts and not using the social network to engage with customers. This can be especially disastrous if a negative comment isn’t addressed. Ignoring posts or being inconsistent shows a lack of communication with customers on a site tailored to creating better customer-to-business relationships.
2) Twitter. Just posting on a business’ Twitter page and not engaging with customers is a quick way to make a Twitter page useless. Small businesses need to join in on online conversations relating to their business and connect with consumers in a personal and direct way through @Replies and the use of popular hashtags.
3) Instagram. Instagram is all about the visual. A big blunder businesses make is to post a picture of text. Save the text for Twitter and Facebook. For example, instead of uploading a picture of a copy-heavy coupon, businesses can take advantage of Instagram to highlight a specific product and then write about a special discount or promotion in the caption.
4) Pinterest. Consumers want to be entertained, which makes Pinterest a great channel for accessing customers. Using a business’ Pinterest board only to share marketing materials, discounts, coupons, or giveaways will drive clients away. Customers don’t want to constantly feel like they are being sold something. By creating boards and sharing pins that the target audience will enjoy, it makes them want to follow a business’ Pinterest.
5) Google+. The biggest mistake a business can make when it comes to Google+ is to ignore it. The popularity of Google+ didn’t take off in the beginning the way Google expected, but it is quickly gaining momentum and is anticipated to make a dent in the social media world in 2014. Google+ is more visual than Facebook, allowing for a different type of marketing approach. Also, the requirement to have a Google+ account to be a part of YouTube is creating new users. Google+ currently has 300 million active users, and not making it a part of a small business’ social media strategy could be a costly oversight.
In addition to avoiding these mistakes, HipLogiq blogger Bailey Young offers five successful strategies for social media marketing. From customizing messages appropriately, social marketers should stay on top of trends, leverage content marketing, look for customers who are intending to buy your product or service, and communicate good customer service, according to Young.