Social Media is a huge thing today in the market. Every brand has a social media page or a profile to connect with their fans and target audiences. However are we on the social media domain only for the sake of being there because every other company has one? Or do you really believe in the magic of social media that will definitely help transform your brand online and in turn help sales.
Many so called experts who do not know much about the power of social media marketing feels that it is one more platform to generate sales and increase profitability. However it is not so. Studies show that as of January 2014, 74 percent of all internet users were on social networking sites. So it means, your brand has a huge chunk of potential fan base who can turn into your brand loyalists and spread the word for you if you connect with them correctly. In short, social media marketing or networking is an easier way to create awareness for your brand.
Creating a brand takes a huge effort however a small mistake can lead to hurting your brand’s reputation which in turn will lead to bigger and harsher consequences. In my opinion there are 9 mistakes every brand should avoid while they are on any of the social networking sites;
1) Giving Access to Wrong People: First and foremost you need to understand why you are on the social media networking sites. Obviously the answer is to connect with your potential fan base and to share your voice with them. How can one do that – simple, hire a social media strategist who has a good experience on the social media platforms.
Rather I have noticed couple of start-ups and brands who resort to hiring or engaging unqualified people with least experience on the social media platforms to cut costs. However they fail to understand that like any other marketing and sales function, social media is also a specialized field and a qualified individual will make a huge difference as every brand is unique and needs to be handled in a specialized way. So STOP involving people who have ‘ZERO’ knowledge about how social networking functions.
2) Stop Being Unoriginal: Being original always makes you unique and brings credibility to your brand. Therefore avoid sharing images, posts and information that you find on the internet that might tarnish your brand’s reputation. Like John Rampton (social media strategist) once said, “You want to establish yourself as an authority figure in your industry, as well as engage your audience. But you can’t do that by rehashing the work of others.” So in short develop original content that will appeal to your specific target audience which in turn will increase traffic and promote sales.
3) Hijacking Hashtags: Create original and exclusive hashtag for your brand as studies have shown that pictures and posts shared with hashtags receive more likes than those without. Always use hashtag with caution as their might be times when your hashtag will be hijacked to tarnish your brand. A famous example is of McDonald’s who asked their customers to share their #McDstories without specifying much about the kind of stories they were intending at. Resultant, people spoke of their horrific experiences with McD rather than telling heartwarming stories that the brand was expecting. So always define your hashtag clearly so that it reaches the target audience instead of it getting hijacked.
4) Spamming Your Followers: Sharing posts on a regular basis is very important however do not get carried away and post too many that your followers might just unfollow you and move away. What is good for one social media platform might not be good for the other and therefore they are unique and different. So how much is too much, you might ask. According to popular studies one should follow the below frequency calendar for the popular sites viz; Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+.
- Facebook: Although experts say 1 post every two days. Studies say max two posts a day, 7 days a week.
- Twitter: 1 Post every four hours, however depending on your brand you can increase it to 1 Post every 2 hours on week days and 1 post every 3 hours on weekends.
- Linkedin: Strictly 1 post a day and avoid weekends.
- Google+: 2 Posts a day and avoid weekends.
5) Not Understanding Your Platform Of Choice: Only because there are several social media platforms it is not necessary for you to open an account everywhere. Understand which platform will work well for your brand and give you maximum exposure. Although Facebook is a popular medium it only gives exposure to 10% of your page followers rest you need to pay for boosting your post to reach out to wider audience because its business for both you and Facebook. Therefore it is necessary to understand the distinct nature or use of each platform to set realistic goals and to also get the maximum value out of marketing over a specific social media platform.
6) Social Media Can Replace Your Website or Blog: Social media platforms can never replace your website or blog. What works for you today might not work tomorrow on any social media platform. Therefore it is very necessary to link your social media platforms to your website or blog to divert traffic to them. Ultimately any form of marketing should bring value to your product and here it is your website or blog.
7) Not Tracking the Progress or Impact Of Your Social Media Platforms: Just being present on a social media platform does not help. One has to track if your posts are reaching out to your target audience and if they are driving traffic to your website or blog. Without researching on the same you wont be able to find out the effectiveness of your campaigns. There are several tools in the market which can help you monitor your campaigns viz; Spredfast, Sysomos, Viralheat, UberVU, Sprout Special and Google Analytics (which is widely and commonly used). Apart from the tools mentioned earlier, Social Media Examiner too has a guide that can help you track your ROI (Return on Investment).
8) Paying For Fake Fans, Likes and Shares: When you see huge number of fans and followers on your profile it might give you an ego boost. Moreover when you get likes and shares on every post you publish it is again a wonderful feeling as you can gauge from the response how popular your brand is among its target audience. However if the fans, shares and likes are genuine and not fake then you can actually be happy and ecstatic as brand awareness is automatically done by your genuine fans. Alas these days fans, likes and shares are doctored and bought which most of the time are fake and do not contribute much to your brand apart from giving you a false ego boost seeing the numbers. Avoid it completely!
9) Never Get Too Personal: Your brand will have its own identity and personality which is essential for it to stand out from other brands. It is also essential for the people associated with the logo to be identified in the market. However never get too personal with your social media profiles as it might hurt your fans sentiments and hurt your brand in turn. Sharing posts that might hurt people’s religious sentiments, political bent, gender or class discrimination apart from engaging in negative feedback eg: Amy’s Baking Company is something to be avoided completely as it will not only make you unpopular amongst your fans, but you will also lose out on genuine prospective fans as bad news travels faster.
These are few loud pointers one need to remember when you are building a new social media page or promoting an existing one. Say a big NO to these 9 pointers and then you can definitely see a better and wider reach for your Brand without hurting it on the social networking sites!
Shaiju Mathew is an Indian author, social media strategist, blogger, reviewer, screenplay writer, and short film director, known for his 2010 book Knocked Up and short film Planchette. For more information please visit his webpage www.shaijumathew.com or blog www.shaiju-mathew.blogspot.in. You can also check him out on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaiju_Mathew)