5 Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in 2012

Business owners have discovered the many ways that social media sites can enhance efforts to reach the public. Each business will find unique uses for the sites because of the industry, location and customer base. Mastery of the social media revolution is similar to any other business discipline. Experimentation with various approaches provides results that can be refined to grow the customer base while increasing sales and public awareness. Advertising over the Internet has become essential for any business that wishes to grow in the 21st century. While not everyone is online, the vast majority of the public gains most of their information from various types of websites. Social media sites have become the primary method of communication for the younger generation.

Business image is built through reaching out to people in the community and across the country. Common mistakes are repeated often when the employee overseeing the social media sites does not embrace certain truths. Effective methods will yield positive results, but the mistakes must be avoided to prevent negative effects on the business’s reputation.

1. Failure to communicate – Anyone can type a few words into an entry on Facebook. Followers will depart if the business does not offer insight at regular intervals. Effective communication creates community through conversation. The business can provide valuable information through the social media sites. Followers on each site will embrace certain topics and carry the conversation further. Early entries will set the stage for subsequent threads on the page. Synergy is gained as the two sides interact through the social media sites. Questions that arise should be answered with the proper level of detail. Long threads can be converted into company website pages that are helpful to everyone.

2. Unprofessionalism – Social media entries will travel far and wide. The business image will be marred by misspellings, inappropriate words and personal chat. Topics and presentation should reflect the business image that is most appropriate for the customer base. Customers of a construction business speak differently than those of a law firm. Followers on social media websites become interested in unique topics that allow them to participate. Anyone tasked with answering should be able to provide assistance. Responses are expected from the business. Questions asked by followers require timely answers. Competitors are on the social media sites, too. Whoever responds quickly will win new customers.

3. Overwhelming noise – Social media sites are monitored through various means, including smartphones. Followers seek various levels of communication from different businesses. A restaurant that sends Tweets about breakfast, lunch and dinner specials throughout the day is communicating. A retail store that sends the same Tweet five times in two hours is annoying. Entries on the social media sites should be focused on creating a response from the followers. Use of multiple sites requires creative planning that prevents duplication of the entries across the sites.

4. Failure to measure, monitor, adjust and control – Use of social media sites can be refined through accepting and evaluating the responses received. The approach on Twitter might not work on any other social media site. A savvy business will begin with one site and create a useful approach. As the social media following builds, another site can be added with careful monitoring for best results. Each site can have a different emphasis. Customer service might be best for Facebook. Specials and notices can be communicated through Twitter. Detailed information can be sent through RSS. Planning is essential for the most efficient use of the social media revolution.

5. Useless content – Followers will not hesitate to leave the business if the messages sent are meaningless. Videos, pictures and helpful information create variety that enhances the business message. Comments from followers will provide valuable feedback. Adjustments should be made based on the conversation. All social media participants must remember that everyone follows multiple conversations. One business that has a reputations for weak content will be eliminated, which cuts off access to potential customers.

Traditional advertising can be replaced with effective use of social media sites. Direct communication with the public is established through the proper use of each social media website. Business image is created, enhanced and maintained through innovative use of social media sites. Videos that resemble TV commercials are economical and effective. Posting these videos on the website homepage is an effective method of advertising. Social media pages would contain links to the video. How-to videos can answer customer questions. Photos and illustrations enhance understanding of the message.

Social media campaigns require business knowledge that reaches beyond simplistic phrases. A weekly plan for each of the sites should coincide with events taking place within the business. Advanced social media techniques are helpful for answering questions, reducing inbound phone calls and increasing sales. A business can gain a positive reputation in cyberspace through comprehensive campaigns that exceed expectations.

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