One of the most common mistakes companies/social media marketers make, especially when they are starting, is to just blast out their marketing message over the social media channels. And while it’s fair to say that ultimately the goal is to sell, acquire new customers or otherwise expand your business, what works in print media (blasting out your message) doesn’t work with social media, because social media is really a two way conversation, or should be. When taking your marketing message online in a web 2.0 world you have to build trust all over again and you do that by building relationships which in turn begins by offering up something of use to the people at the other end. Something useful might be informative, or it might be by providing a customer with a chance to give you feedback, it might mean pointing them to something else that could be useful to them or it might mean making them an offer then can’t refuse.
Remember, social media is not a “marketing channel” it’s a relationship channel. You’re dealing directly with individuals now, even if you are doing it online and in mass.
Here are a few ways to provide value and usefulness, focus on doing so and you’ll get more bang for you buck in the long run:
- Listen to your audience online and let them know you hear them by making change.
- Don’t spam or blast out marketing messages constantly, people will become numb to them.
- Don’t “can” your messages, in social media it’s ok to have personality, in fact you should. People want to feel like there is a person at the other end of what’s coming at them.
- Be careful not to spread misinformation. Always know your facts. When in doubt, double check.
- Always remember that anything you put on-line can and will be used against you.
- Every time you send something out ask yourself if it’s useful. Ok, in all fairness, rules are made to be broken so a little fun quip here and there is fine but no one cares to know every time you are going to walk your dog or every time your business offers some special, because after a while, it isn’t [special].
- Ask questions
- On Twitter, Retweat things you found useful or share blog posts or other good resources throughout your network
- Figure out what people are looking for and help them find it, even if you don’t provide it
- Target people that you are most certain will be interested.
It’s not a huge list but should get you started, just remember to always ask the question “is this useful” before you blast it out and most of the time you’ll be adding some value.