It is hard to read any marketing story these days without being bombarded with news about social media and how profitable it is for businesses.

The hype is understandable considering how much people have embraced social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. When it comes to reaching a much wider audience social media marketing is hard to beat as you can easily reach millions of potential clients.

We know that a lot of savvy businesses looking for new and innovative ways to promote their business feel a sense of urgency to jump in and try their hand at social media marketing. Who can blame them? After all there is money to be made and no business can afford to stand by and watch the speed at which social media is gathering momentum without wanting to become involved.

However, much of the information and noise that they hear about social media marketing is not very helpful. In the rush to join the social media party some small businesses are being misled by certain myths about social media and are making critical mistakes that are damaging their pockets and their online reputations.

Here is a guide to some of the social media myths and errors that business owners are making and how you can avoid them:

Mistake Number 1
Using social media networks as a sales platform

Social-Media-MarketingSocial Media is NOT the place for the hard sell. It is not hard to spot a small business that is just entering into the social media world. Their posts are littered with clumsy hard sell messages that do nothing but annoy other social media users.

It is the most difficult lesson that most business owners learn from. After all they are used to a world where every contact counts and they have been trained to try and close every potential sale. Not only that, because their time and their marketing budget is limited they want to make every second and contact count.

However that is not how things are done on social media sites. It is a much more subtle environment. There are no “buy’ buttons and blatant promotional messages are frowned upon.

In fact, if your social media strategy is just about marketing and sales then you are not doing it right.

Social media is about engaging with your followers and building relationships with them in order to establish trust and loyalty.

You do this by answering questions, providing helpful information and being seen as a trusted authority within your niche.

The process might be slower than traditional forms of advertising and requires a lot more dedication and consistency but in the long run it will help you to create a well-loved brand within the social media circles and be far more productive over time.

As it is a much slower process social media should work alongside your traditional marketing methods. It shouldn’t be seen as a replacement to your other marketing efforts.

Mistake Number 2
Making it all about YOU!

know your audienceSocial media is not about endless self-promotion. Not so long ago I was attending a networking event and got cornered by one of the attendees who happened to be there.

I had previously noticed that not many people were associating with him and I quickly understood the reason why. Talk about self-obsessed. This person only spoke about himself and bragged constantly about his business from the second I met him until I made my escape.

We did not have a conversation. He spoke AT me for the entire time. He spent the entire night cornering other victims and people were trying to avoid him like the plague.

You do not want to be ‘that person’ on social media sites.

To be liked you have got to be gracious, interesting and entertaining. You need to be genuinely interested in others, especially your followers and customers and not dominate the conversation.

How do you do this on social media sites? You need to make it easy for people to leave comments when you post. Ask questions and encourage participation. Share informative and interesting content that engages with your customers and they can identify with it.

Sometimes it is better to talk less and listen more.

Mistake Number 3
Being on every social network

Social mediaYou do not have to be on every single social media platform. First we had MySpace. Then we had Facebook followed by Twitter, which was quickly followed by Pinterest and then Instagram. My point? There will always be a new social media network to get involved with.

As a small business owner, you simply don’t have the time and resources to devote to every social media platform. To have a meaningful and engaging relationship with your clients you can’t afford to spread yourself too thinly by being anywhere and everywhere. It will wear you out and you won’t have time to establish a good relationship with your followers.

If you are going to look after the social media marketing for your company by yourself it is important that you choose and concentrate on just two social media networks. Choose the one that is more effective for reaching out to your target customers and focus entirely on them.

If not and you spread yourself too thinly, you will neglect some of the sites and it will reflect badly on your business causing damage for your brand.

Mistake Number 4
Competing with big boys

internet vs traditonal marketingLearn from the big brands but you don’t have to keep up with them. The big brands are masters at social media marketing and you can learn a lot by following them and watching what they do to engage their followers and create raving loyal fans.

However there is a huge difference between your marketing budget and a company like Coca Cola. Remember that you don’t need to keep up with these brands when it comes to contests and campaigns to make a big impression on your target clients.

There is no denying that creating giveaways and hosting contests is one of the most effective ways to generate ‘Likes’ and to engage with your followers. However, don’t feel under pressure to offer expensive flashy prizes that are beyond your marketing budget.

While the big brands are giving away expensive iPad’s and Play Stations away you could offer one of your products or services as a prize. It is budget friendly for your business and your followers will appreciate and be keen to participate because they are interested in your products and services – that is why they follow you.

Mistake Number 5
Thinking social media is free

Social media marketing is not free. Okay. It doesn’t cost you any money to join Facebook or to create a Twitter account. For a small business that is what makes social media so attractive.

However, social media costs you in other ways when you consider the time and energy required in maintaining a well cared for social media account.

Close up of a social media business planSocial media requires a lot of commitment and dedication. You need to consistently keep adding fresh content on your account and go out of your way to engage with your followers.

Your time is worth a lot so you need to remember that when you decide to set up a social media campaign.

It is easy to see why business owners fall into these traps and how their social media campaigns can be damaged if they don’t learn how to follow social media etiquette quickly.

As a business owner we realise that you don’t have a lot of time to invest in your social media marketing and that is why we are here to help if you need us.

We spend a lot of our marketing time engrossed in the world of social media. From campaign strategies and social media community management as well as keeping track of the latest trends in technology, we give 100% to make sure our client’s social media platforms are covered and looked after.

We deal with all aspects of social media and online marketing and without trying to blow our own trumpet, we’re pretty good at developing online communities and building passionate audiences for local small businesses.

We work with you and your company and will custom make and tailor every aspect of our work based on your goals and objective, generating a bespoke strategy for your brand’s needs.

Social media is a powerful tool for any business. It pays to have the best strategy in place from the very beginning. We look forward to working with you and helping to give your business more exposure and more customers.

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