According to Facebook’s blog, there are over 800 million users on the site. According to Alexa’s rankings, Twitter is the third highest rated social media site, with Facebook being the first and YouTube being the second. Many online marketing experts agree that social media can play a major role in small business marketing. However, many (if not most) small businesses are using social media the wrong way for marketing. Here are three common mistakes being made that you can avoid:
1. Brand Confusion
When launching a new business, it is common (though not wise) not to have your brand identity fully baked. During this period, be judicial about how you message and how often to the market through social media. If you blast everyone with your messaging, and then soon after change your positioning or value proposition and continue with a new message, you can end up confusing the market. Confusion usually leads to indifference which makes it difficult to cultivate a community through social media. Use the beginning stages as a “test” period. Test your message amongst smaller controlled groups to see what resonates. For example, create separate circles in Google+ that receive a different test message. The data you obtain from your testing period can be used to refine your brand and message before you’re going full tilt.
2. Sending Out Sales Messages
Fight the urge–don’t try to sell through social media. It simply doesn’t work, and can end up doing far more harm than good. Tweeting out price promos or bragging how great your business is, or worse yet, putting down the competition makes you look cheap and unfit for social media. Use this channel to generate conversations around hot topics related to your field of expertise. Demonstrate your knowledge by sharing helpful articles and useful tips that reflect well on your brand. Staying true to this approach will help you stand out from the competition, position yourself as someone worth following, and ultimately contribute to sales.
3. Sharing Frivolous Information
You may love watching the Jersey Shore, but tweeting about what Snookie did in last night’s episode through your company Twitter account is disastrous. And yet, surprisingly enough, it happens a lot. There is a fine balance between adding a personal touch and voice to your brand, and compromising its credibility entirely. Stick to talking about and sharing information related to your brand. Go ahead and insert your personality through style and tone of voice, but ensure the content is relevant and remains that way.
Guest Author – Kathleen Hubert is a blogger who writes on a variety of different sites. Check out more of her work at auto loans.