With the popularity of social media on the rise, more and more companies are entering the fray. Many recognize the value of branding themselves online in a low-cost, transparent way and engaging with consumers in their target demographic, many of whom have become accustomed to ignoring traditional advertisements and basing their purchase decisions instead on word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and peers. For this reason alone, any brand seeking a foothold in the future can almost not afford to leverage social media on some level; the problem is many brands simply don’t know how.
If you are a business looking to get started in social media, you are on the right track. But just as social media done well will help expose your brand to the right consumers, committing social media faux pas can leave you worse off than before you started. Don’t let this happen.
To help you get a handle on navigating what is still very much a new frontier, we have compiled a list of five social media don’ts and what to do instead.
1. Don’t use an alias
When conversations about your brand are taking place online, valuable knowledge can be gathered regarding what the consumer wants and how your company is stacking up against competitors. While it may be tempting to eavesdrop on these conversations without revealing your identity, doing so would defeat the entire purpose.
Identify your social media profiles with your company name rather than an alias and you will have taken the first step towards creating a lasting relationship with consumers by enabling them to connect with you online. In addition to the branding benefits you will reap, using your real name will help your social media profiles rank in the search engines for keyword searches related to your brand, giving you more control over valuable online real estate.
2. Don’t use a hard sell
Social media is about conversation, and leveraging these conversations as marketing tools requires a delicate hand. Using a hard-sell approach in your communications is almost guaranteed to fail and should be avoided no matter what. This is not to say spreading the word about your new priuct launch dr 50% sale is prohibited, but the majority of your communications should be focused on engaging consumers.
Rather than focus on selling your products and services, devote your energy to culling and sharing interesting and useful content (articles, blog posts, quotes, etc.) that doesn’t directly benefit your brand. Make sure this content is aligned with ideas and values that matter to your demographic and consumers will form positive associations with your brand.
3. Don’t ignore your users
Setting up your profiles on popular social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter is important, and sharing proper content is key, but it doesn’t stop there. If you do the first two things well, you are likely to amass a network of interested consumers who want to talk to you. Let them.
Succeeding in social media requires active participation from you, the brand. Failing to engage in real, 2-way conversations with your users will hinder your efforts online and hurt your brand offline. Users expect interaction, so make it a priority to respond to messages, comments, and posts. Doing so will let users know you ‘get it’ and help brand your company in a tangible, transparent, and memorable way.
4. Don’t neglect your profiles
Once you setup your initial profiles, build your network, and begin conversing with users, it is easy to get bored. Results may not be obvious or immediate and taking the time out to engage with your network may not seem like a priority – after all, you’ve established a presence online and you own your brand name across all the important networking sites, so what more is there to do? The answer is a lot.
Continue updating your profiles with fresh content and engaging with users even after the initial push. Not only does failing to update your profile make your brand look bad, it prevents your brand from reaping all the rewards of social media such as access to valuable market research and strong relationships with consumers. Likewise, being lazy about updating your profiles can undo the good work you did initially by making your brand appear behind the curve and giving consumers a reason to engage with competitors.
Help yourself stay on track by scheduling time each week to maintain your social profiles and then stick to your schedule until it becomes habit. Consistent interaction is the only way to make a real impact!
5. Don’t be an island
Not every social media site is the same. Demographics skew differently on individual sites and messaging can be tailored accordingly. Once you identify the social media sites relevant to your brand and create profiles on each, don’t forget to connect the dots.
Include links to profiles on other networks on each of your individual profiles and you will pave the way for more users to discover you online. Even if users don’t visit you on another site, making it clear you have a presence elsewhere will raise awareness for your brand and generate word-of-mouth, maximizing your chance to reach users who would not have found you otherwise.
We hope you enjoyed these tips. If you have any questions, or want to learn more about social media marketing, please email firstname.lastname@example.org!