Social media is something that everyone is talking about as a way to market your company. Most companies look at social media as being a business to consumer (B2C) or consumer to business (C2B) tool. Yet it can also be a valuable marketing tool, even if you market primarily to other businesses (B2B).
According to Webbiquity, those businesses who are active in social media are able to convert 59% more of their leads from organic search traffic. Both consumer and business buyers like to engage and interact with the company they are considering purchasing from. Buyers like to see a social media presence.
Knowing this, it is important to be aware of the mistakes you want to avoid when marketing your company via a social media site. Buyers are looking at you via social media, so you want to proceed carefully.
Mistake #1 – Thinking that social media is only for the young
Facebook may have started for the college-aged. It has been embraced by every age group, all the way up to great-grandma. What you need to recognize is that different groups may favor one social outlet over another. Choose your target demographic market then choose the right social media strategy for that market.
Mistake #2 – Thinking that social media is only for nerds.
If you have ever read a blog, you know that social media isn’t owned by computer geeks. Ordinary people are writing and reading blogs every day. Blogging is a valuable social media tool that isn’t nerd territory.
Mistake #3 – Thinking the only social media sites that matter are Facebook and Twitter.
While these are big sites, there are also social sites that are niche oriented. If your business serves one of these niches, then failing to connect on those sites is an opportunity lost.
Mistake #4 – Jumping into social media without considering your other marketing and sales efforts
Before you begin marketing your company via social media, you need to have an overall marketing plan. It needs to be something that complements your existing marketing strategies. If the message you deliver when a potential customer clicks on a link fails to deliver a consistent message, the contradiction may lose business trust rather than building.
Mistake #5 – Expecting social media to close the sale
It’s okay to invite your social connections to make decisions from time to time, but it cannot be the focus of your company’s social media marketing campaign.
You must also beware of using a hard-sell approach. Consider social media an opportunity to interact and share knowledge. If you are blatantly using social media for self-promotion it will be hurt your business rather than doing good.
Mistake #6 – Using social media to push existing leads into decisions
Social media is rarely the place to push “buy now or you lose out.” It sends a message about your company that you may not want to deliver. It’s one thing to send out a special offer to existing social connections, but always assume that you may still need to nurture each connection’s interest. So do more than send an offer that makes buying now appealing. Also, focus on providing useful information and business advice that continues to nurture involvement with your company.
Mistake #7 – Overlooking the importance of trust building
Because social media is based on an environment where you are seeking to build relationships and trust, it is vital that leads that come in via social media be handled differently. You may have heard the expression “People love to buy, but hate to be sold.” It is especially true in connection with social media marketing. Handle these leads by focusing on needs and spending time listening to your customers. Resist the desire to push hard for a sale. Rather focus on sharing how your solution fits into their picture, not how they fit into your picture.
Mistake #8 – Expect immediate ROI.
The return on investment for social media can be difficult to track. Most of the marketing results that can be attributed to social media take time to appear. The bottom line is this. For social media to be effective you need to develop multiple online marketing strategies at the same time. You need to post solid, valuable content on blogs and provide status updates on developments within your company. You also need to look at other more traditional formats such as newsletters. (Update as an email, pdf download and/or webpage).
Mistake #9 – Not expecting to invest any time
Most social media sites are free to join. The real cost is going to be in investing time and effort into making it work.
Mistake #10 – Using social media as an advertising medium
Only after you have developed a relationship with social contacts can you send out advertising on social media channels. It’s one thing to send out a price- and time-sensitive broadcast once you have developed that trust. But you must be very careful not to abuse the trust you have earned. Your offer must be valuable, and it must be buffered with information that is useful even if you don’t make a sale.
If you think that social media is only beneficial to larger businesses, think again!
Social media is one way to define who your company is and what you have to offer. You can establish your company’s presence and value through social media—even grow it. What you can never afford to overlook in the process is that social media is about valuable, enjoyable interaction. It’s about what you can give, not what you can get. Focus on giving, and you will find that your efforts in social media will reap results.
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