December 22, 2015
Don’t be seduced by viral content. Consistent value beats a flash in the pan.
Most of your customers use a handful of social networks—so should you!
You don’t need a billion followers to build a successful brand.
Social media marketing is 90% informative, 10% promotional.
Are you and your company thinking of taking the plunge into the uncharted waters of social media marketing? Have you been at it for a while, and just haven’t been getting the results you wanted?
Or did you give it a shot in the past, but quit because of trolls or a lack of audience participation?
If so, you may be looking at social media marketing in the wrong light. Check out these seven myths about branding on social networks to see if you’ve been making any of these common (but costly) mistakes.
It takes a perfect storm of arcane factors to make anything go viral. The topic has to reach the right audience at the right time under the right circumstances, and even then, nothing is guaranteed.
Expecting to set up shop with a new account tonight and waking up to a million followers or five million likes on your picture is unrealistic and harmful to the growth of your business.
Play the long game. Stick to steadily building your brand, and you’ll eventually strike a chord with your audience. Maybe you’ll create the next big thing tomorrow, but betting on it will only make steady, incremental gains seem insignificant.
We’ll pick on Twitter for this example. Twitter is a tempting platform to use when establishing or promoting your brand—it’s quick, simple, and sharable.
But despite the network’s underlying simplicity, companies still manage to create massive blunders and commit social suicide.
For starters, don’t always assume the handle you’ve picked to represent your company is up for grabs. If you do, be prepared for some damage control—much like Netflix when they were promoting their Qwikster service.
People attempting to follow @Qwikster found out the account was already being used by a guy who liked to talk about drugs…a lot. That’s fine if your company sells drugs, but not the type of image a movie-streaming service wants associated with their name.
When picking a name for your Twitter account, don’t be annoyed if the exact handle you want is already taken. If your company is called “Painting By Dan” and you can’t get the handle @paintingbydan, you’re gonna have to settle.
The key is promoting your brand so people know how to find you.
Nope. In fact, doing so is actually counterproductive. Casting a wide net online will leave you sending a weak message to the same people on different platforms.
Instead, focus on a handful of sites, like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. Each network has its own pros and cons, but if you’re working hard at a couple of these, your brand will be in good shape.
The fact of the matter is, spamming your message to every corner of the internet will prevent you from crafting well-made content and generating loyalty using the platforms your customers are most likely to use.
Social media is a useful tool. But like all tools, you need skill to wield it effectively. Post boring, clichéd updates on Facebook, spam people on Twitter with self-promotion, or generally be a nuisance, and you’re only going to damage your brand.
Put the “social” back in social media.
Social media in our growth-oriented business world is all about forming relationships with potential clients and customers.
Instead of mindlessly spewing out information about your newest product, try to begin a discussion with potential or current followers. Get them talking about your brand—people are more likely to be interested in something their friends are talking about than a faceless business.
Because sites like Twitter and Instagram typically don’t require an investment of money, companies sometimes make the mistake of putting their social media marketing campaigns on the back burner.
Don’t fall for that trap—a successful advertising campaign still requires an investment of time, so put a little effort into your tweets or status updates or they WILL look like spam.
Sure, you may never reach the same audience as Kanye West or Taylor Swift. But do you really need to?
As a business, the point of using social media is to reach out to existing and potential customers. It’s not a popularity contest, and your business won’t wither and die because you don’t have 50 million followers retweeting every single one of your bathroom mirror selfies.
Companies have been hugely successful using social media without reaching an audience the size of a small country. Keep your posts focused, interesting, and people-centric, and you have a good chance of building a dedicated following, no matter how big it is.
Unless your brand is a household name known around the world, odds are people tune out when they see boring or sales-y posts. Coke can tweet “Come buy our new seaweed-flavored Diet Coke” and get a decent response because they’re, well, Coke.
Instead, your updates scream “Hey! Look at me and my cool thing!” People can’t wait to unfollow, unsubscribe and tune out.
Building on the previous point, focus on creating a community around your brand. Painting By Dan isn’t just a residential painting service operating in the Atlanta metro area—it’s a community-focused, proud, local business run by Atlanta’s everyman, Dan.
Market yourself as an expert interested in providing information to your customers at no cost, one who is dedicated to maintaining a tight-knit group of like-minded followers.
Engagement is based on visibility, and visibility on Twitter lives or dies by the number of hashtags associated with your tweets.
“FREE car wash from Marty’s Sudz Plaza tomorrow!” #clean #suds #tomorrow #carwash #happy #water #free #soap #yeehaw #pleasecometomorrow
Wrong. If that mess of hashtags looks good to you, look at it from the perspective of a future customer.
It’s annoying and amateurish, and it shows you’re out of touch with how social media works. Stick with a few popular hashtags, including ones created by your business. For example, #carwash and #martysudz.
Don’t make social media more complicated than it already is. The trick is to be as dedicated with marketing on Facebook and Twitter as you are in “real life,” and the rest will fall into place.
Because like it or not, social media is a critical part of “real life” for a huge number of your customers and a huge portion of money you’re leaving on the table.
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