Social Media Marketing (SMM) can be compared to having a conversation with your friends over a coffee.  It is also like getting a surprise call from an old friend and just talking to each other as if you had only seen each other yesterday.  Social Media is about being conversational, informal and laid back.  Whilst many businesses understand that social media marketing could be good for their business they really do not understand how to get the best out of it and often try too hard.

The purpose of this post is to try and help you identify where you might be going wrong with your social media marketing campaign.  We list below a few of the common mistakes we find that some marketers make when they enter the social media arena

Common Social Media Marketing Mistakes

Keep it Conversational: Never try to control your readers or followers and don’t try and force your opinions or point of view on others.  Your Social Media objective is to build trust and enhance your online reputation. To do this you must demonstrate that you are prepared to listen to the other person’s point of view as well as your own.

Of course you should put over your views but always try and avoid any direct criticism of your readers and take care not to cause offence.   Whilst you want people to listen to you remember all conversations are a two way process.  Your posts to your Blog, Facebook, Twitter account etc. should be written in a conversational way, not too formal.  Let your personality show through in the tone of your posts.

Listen to Others: Social Media Marketing (SMM) is all about being conversational.  The way it works is that people listen and then interact as they want to on the various social networking websites.  If you are only focused on broadcasting your opinions then you are not engaging with others so your network is not really ‘social’. Building strong online relationships involves listening to and understanding the other person’s point of view.

Participate in the Right Social Networks: Don’t try to participate in all the different forms and channels that make up social media otherwise your participation will look contrived and be inconsistent. You can experiment initially with a wide range of tools but eventually you will find the areas that you really enjoy and that you are good at and these are the ones you should stick with.  Settle on your favourites and focus just on those.  In the long run this strategy will enable you to build better online relationships – and you will enjoy it more!

Self Promotion: If you do not provide added value to your readers and simply use social media to promote yourself and your products and services you are making a fatal online marketing mistake.  Social media is all about starting conversations, joining in with existing conversations and actively participating in your online community.  There are countless examples where companies have started a social media marketing campaign by setting up profiles on all the social networking sites, blogging, and generally spending time and energy aggressively marketing their brand, their services or their products on the social networking sites.  This is almost guaranteed to make sure that people run away in the other direction!  Your website is the place for self-promotion, not social media marketing.

Keep at it: Social Media Marketing (SMM) is a long-term commitment, a process – not an event!  Social networking is about building and sustaining long-term online relationships.  Social networking rarely works as a sales platform but it does work as an excellent platform for you to demonstrate your expertise / knowledge and is one of the best ways we know for you to build your online credibility and increase awareness of your brand.

Successful Social Media Marketing takes time and effort.  It is not an instant solution to get your company to the top of the search engine rankings.  To achieve success you need to be prepared for a long term commitment both in terms of time and resources.  If you cannot make these commitments you are better off not starting ‘Social Media’ at all.  Done well Social Media is a very powerful way to market your business online, done badly or half-heartedly you will do more harm than good.

Do you agree?  Please leave a comment below or visit WSI IMS – WSI Digital Marketing Services in Surrey, Sussex, Kent & throughout the South East of England

Chris Griffin
Chris Griffin
Chris has been a Digital Marketing Consultant since 2005. Since 2007 he has specialised in Search Engine Marketing, both Paid Search and Organic SEO. He has an excellent record of helping businesses of all sizes, both in the UK and overseas, to achieve their online marketing goals.

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