head in the sandpit mentality
Social media is not going anywhere soon. In fact, it’s increasing in popularity with the average Australian internet user spending 23 hours and 58 minutes per month and more time on Facebook than other social media sites. Companies need to engage in social media to stay relevant in the internet marketing space. The worst mistake would be to ignore social networking altogether and the tangible benefits it can provide to your business.
look before you leap
Admittedly, social media networking can take a chunk of your time so before you jump on the social media bandwagon, make sure you have the time and resources to actively participate in your accounts. It’s a mistake to think that social media is free. It is a cost to your business in terms of developing and customising social media sites and the ongoing cost of updating the accounts and keeping your knowledge about new media up to date.
taking your foot off the pedal
One of the biggest mistakes that companies make is to stop updating their social media sites. There needs to be a balance between providing quality content and updating too often – that the updates turn into noise and are ignored by users. The trick is to have a dedicated team updating the social media accounts and creating a schedule for updates. Some companies automate their accounts but this is not a recommended social media strategy. (see below).
Social media represents the opportunity to engage with your customers, clients and other people important to your business one on one. However, some time-poor managers lose sight of this and automate their new media accounts like Twitter so it turns into a monologue rather than a dialogue. People are adding themselves to your social media accounts because they want to interact with a real-life person. Start automating your social media sites and you may find people may start deleting you.
sell sell sell
Social media is about creating relationships with your clients and customers, strengthening the association to your brand and building trust and credibility. With new media, the idea is to provide added value in the terms of education, providing tips and tools and valuable resources and not just spamming your audience. Remember that social media is about return on engagement initially and not just about return on investment. People do not want to be overwhelmed by your brand message.
one size fits all
Each social media site whether it be LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook have their own different nuances and a different strategy should be applied to each social networking site. On LinkedIn, you may adopt a more businesslike tone and focus on certain elements of your business whereas on Twitter, you may prefer to have a more casual approach to your tweets. The audiences for each social media networking site may be different so tailor your message to each site.
not understanding the bigger picture
Another mistake that companies can make is to use social media marketing in isolation and not integrate it with other communication tools. Each internet marketing tool you use should reflect the look and feel of your brand and help establish your brand identity. It is also important that your communication tools feed off each other and work together. Used well, social networking can create synergy across all your communication tools and increase your brand equity.
think before you publish
Remember that anything you post on social media blogs and sites is most likely to become a permanent record on Search Engines. So think before you publish and make sure what you are publishing is in line with the company’s corporate values and reflects your brand image. This means exercising caution when responding to negative feedback, not participating in flame wars or writing sarcastic comments. If you’re unsure about what to post, it’s better not to post at all.
expecting immediate results
Social networking can do many great things for businesses but it’s not a get rich quick scheme. Similar to public relations, you won’t see an immediate impact on your business – especially overnight. Getting the most out of new media requires healthy and managed expectations. Building relationships, credibility and trust takes time, patience, persistence, and passion. Keep updating your social media networks and engaging with your customers and the rewards will surely come.
not measuring engagement
Another mistake that companies make when it comes to new media is not allocating KPIs and measuring results. Like all internet marketing campaigns, you need to set benchmarks for metrics such as traffic referral, number of followers or fans, comments and so forth. Social media like Facebook and YouTube have their own analytics programs and with some new media sites, you can also install Google Analytics on the website as well to help measure engagement.
Contact us to find out how our social media experts help you create a social networking campaign from customising social media company pages to ongoing maintenance. Done well, you can reap the benefits of social media in enhancing your online brand, building strong relationships with your customers and seeing the results of your social media investment reflected in your bottom line. It may not happen overnight but it will happen with a well managed social media strategy.