What has always been the most effective way to generate new business? Referrals from existing customers to their friends and families.
Creating raving fans who sing your praises to others is both the least expensive and most productive form of advertising. Most people tune out traditional means of advertising. Only 1 in 6 television commercials actually generate a positive return on investment. No one under 70 uses Yellow Pages for anything. But over 80% of consumers will make a purchasing decision based on the input of friends and family.
Social media marketing provides the electronic platform for word of mouth marketing to exist. Over 800 million users worldwide use Facebook. The average Facebook user has 130 friends and is connected to over 80 Pages, Groups, and Events. Over 1 billion tweets go out each week. YouTube has over 100 million views per day. The potential for your message to be spread by raving fans is more prevalent today through social media than any other time in the history of business. Can your company afford not to participate in this marketing revolution?
If you’re like me, you learn from making mistakes. However, if you can learn from the mistakes of others, then you will achieve success quicker. So why not learn from the mistakes of others? Here are some common mistakes new marketers make when trying to create and implement a social media marketing plan:
I’ll figure it out as I go- the biggest time waster is going into a social media marketing campaign without any plan. Take the time to get educated on social networking sites. Not all sites are designed for businesses. Also, once you learn a site, learn all the benefits of the site. Correcting mistakes is very time consuming and will lead to many business owners abandoning their plan and walking away from the strategy. Instead, learn the basics of setting up these site, understand the different options, and spend your time engaging rather than fixing problems. There are good online educational programs out there that are designed to teach business owners on how to create and implement a social media marketing plan.
Let’s add 100 sites in one day- it’s tempting to go out and create a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious, YouTube, and Foursquare account all at once. But the problem with this strategy is that if you grow too fast, you won’t be able to keep up with all the benefits of each site. The best approach is to create one site, like Facebook, learn the details and properly implement. Create your Fan page, join groups, participate in events, and engage with others. If you start up 12 at once, you won’t be as active and your lack of participation could defeat your overall goal. It’s better to have 1 or 2 completely utilized social networking sites than 100 poorly designed and ignored platforms.
Profiles don’t matter- users of social media won’t engage with people who don’t have complete profiles. Given the popularity of Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, many people will find you before they find your website. If they find your site and you have a pic of your logo, no pic, or very little personal information, then they will most likely ignore you. Your profile is your first impression, so be creative, be thorough, but most importantly, be personable.
Here’s the pitch- here’s the biggest stumbling block for most beginning marketers. Once they have an audience, they feel compelled to broadcast their message to the masses. This type of media is a huge mistake and you will be ignored if you try this on social media. Traditional one way marketing practices are a dying breed and trying to imitate these ineffective methods on a new medium will yield the same failed results. Instead of selling your product, educate the masses and establish yourself as an expert in the field in which you are practicing. For example, if you are a Realtor, instead of promoting yourself and your site, educate homeowners on what they can do to sell a house themselves. In reality, only a small percentage of people will act on do-it-yourself content. By providing valuable information, you will become an expert on the subject. Then, when the reader is ready to sell his or her house, they will most likely ask for your services.