If you own and run your own business, and have taken to social media to promote your product or service, then bravo!
But be careful to avoid some of the common pitfalls that many entrepreneurs experience when building a social media presence.
Behold, the 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media Marketing…
Sometimes, it seems like narcissism and social media go hand-in-hand.
Look at what I’m eating.
Look how cute my kid is.
Look how much weight I’ve lost.
Look at all the books I’ve read.
I’m at the club.
I’m at the gym. Again.
Look at my selfie! Another selfie!
It’s like a barrage of self-importance coming from all directions.
Whether you believe that narcissism is an unavoidable part of engaging on social media or not, it has absolutely no place when you are trying to build a business brand.
Because when you’re a business, it’s not about you. It’s about your audience.
Who is your target audience? What are your followers’ needs? What problems do they have that need fixing? What questions do they need answering?
Nobody cares about what you’re selling or pitching unless it helps, entertains, distracts, or fills some basic void for your target audience.
Not only does your social media content have to be hyper useful, it needs to be easy to digest. If it’s a blog, it has to be well-written. If it’s a picture quote, it needs to be beautiful and impactful. If it’s a video, it needs to be well-produced and to the point. If it’s an ebook, it needs to be easy to download.
No one is going to go to any great lengths and invest unnecessary time or effort absorbing your social media content – make it easy for them.
When you are promoting your business on social media – especially when you are new at it – you might feel a bit exposed.
This is completely natural.
After all, you are putting yourself and your business out there, for the world to see. And you have little to no control over who gets to see what.
This can be debilitating.
Do not allow cowardice to limit your ability to take calculated risks when coming up with your social media content.
Dare to be original.
Don’t play too safe.
Safe is boring.
Boring is death on social media.
While it’s important to be mindful about how you represent your business in the public arena, you also don’t want to be so uncontroversial that you fail to stand out.
It’s a bit of a balancing act – If you don’t stand out, no one will care about what you have to say. If you’re too controversial, you are going to alienate some people.
Regardless, resist the urge to be everything to everyone. That is what cowards do.
Have the courage to stand out and lose the fear of upsetting some people. Understand that you will lose some followers, and that’s okay. The trick is losing the right people. This will draw the right audience to you.
Resist the urge to become overly obsessive when it comes to numbers when you are using social media to grow your business.
Specifically, the number of followers you have, the number of likes, the number of retweets, the number of comments… you get the idea.
These are vanity numbers.
Each of these vanity numbers represent someone out there thinking about us.
These numbers build us up… and they tear us down.
And they fluctuate. Sometimes a lot.
Numbers matter a lot. And as entrepreneurs, we learn very early on that we need to measure our successes and failures and pivot accordingly.
The thing is, you might be measuring the wrong thing.
Having lots of followers and engagement on your social media platforms does not automatically mean that you are getting the RIGHT followers and engagement. For example, if you have a post that goes viral, and it earns many new followers and shares and likes, BUT NO SALES OR CONVERSIONS, then the numbers you are tracking are meaningless.
Vanity numbers may feel or look good, but they can be superficial and meaningless.
Some entrepreneurs fall for the allure of vanity numbers and go as far as purchasing fake followers or likes.
Yes, it’s true – you can buy fake followers, and it’s very easy to do and cheap. Just Google it. I’ll wait.
In fact, some unethical marketing agencies will guarantee their clients a certain number of followers, take money up front, and then go out and buy fake followers. This benefits the client in no way, except it appeases their vanity.
Don’t fall for this.
Buying fake likes and comments can actually work against you. For one thing, the super nerds who create social media platforms have algorithms in place so that purchasing fake followers will hurt your ranking – resulting in LESS people seeing you on social media.
Don’t be so vain that you feel like you have to pretend to be something you’re not. Go for quality rather than quantity. It is better to have a small, loyal following that will sing your praises, rather than a vast, apathetic audience that will never buy your product or service in a million years.
A successful social media campaign doesn’t just happen. And it doesn’t just happen overnight.
We are bombarded with news about viral videos that get millions or billions of views within a matter of days, but you have to realize that those are few and far between. Sometimes, those viral videos are sitting online doing nothing for years before they suddenly go viral, maybe because a famous personality or celebrity references it.
The average social media marketing campaign takes time to build up a reputation and attract an avid following.
Over time, you can build rapport with your audience and sell them your product or service.
Figuring out what resonates with your audience takes time. Building trust takes time. Building an audience takes time. Discovering your niche takes time.
Have patience and do not quit before your social media marketing efforts have a chance to gain significant momentum.
Do not be greedy.
Give stuff away.
And give it away for free.
Give away helpful articles, video tutorials, ebooks, and advice.
Of course, you do need to learn to draw a line at some point. You are – after all – still running a business.
But more often than not, when it comes to using social media to market your product or service, you need to give away more of your expertise for free so that you can gain the attention of the right target audience. Only after you’ve earned their loyalty, do you earn the right to ask them to buy from you.
Give first. Give hard. And when it’s time to ask, be explicit so that the pitch doesn’t go over anyone’s head.
When it comes to social media marketing, the only thing worse than being impatient is being inconsistent.
There’s no point in having a LinkedIn account for 3 years if you’ve only updated your status 5 times: twice in the beginning, once in the middle somewhere, and twice yesterday. You may as well not do anything.
You wouldn’t be inconsistent showing up at the office day after day, would you? You wouldn’t open and close your storefront at different hours of the day, either.
Lights are on, but no one’s home.
As an entrepreneur, you need to be present and post frequently and with consistency in order to be taken seriously on social media.
Otherwise, no one will bother following you if your profile doesn’t show recent and relevant activity.
Speaking of being present, never go silent on social media.
Always respond to comments, questions and queries. A little bit of acknowledgement with your audience will always go far.
Clients and prospects will often turn to a business’s Facebook page or Twitter feed if they need immediate attention, and if they don’t get a response soon, it reflects poorly on the brand.
Further, if your business gets hashtagged or tagged in a post (say someone is using your product and likes it), make sure you thank them for the shout-out. This is how you will build customer loyalty and make yourself known to your fan’s peer group – a group who, by the way, is likely to have similar tastes and needs as the person who referenced you in the first place, and who might care to join your audience!
Got a deadly sin to add? Tell me in a comment below!
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