Social marketing has a lot of moving parts. But it’s not rocket science. With a little background and inspiration you can take your first steps toward stellar content, conversation and care. To that end, we’ve compiled a helpful list—for newbies and pros—of 10 things your brand should avoid if you wish to excel.
1. Don’t underestimate your data.
You can’t get anywhere these days without planning and data. Whether it’s travel, fitness, a big purchase or business—you need to compare data to make the best choices. So too with social marketing. If you’re not measuring your performance you can’t expect to move ahead.
2. Don’t be careless with your story.
Steer the conversation!
Everything you post—whether content, a tweet, status update, community response—tells a public story about your brand.
What story are you telling? Is it a coherent, fun story about the problems your products solve for customers? Great!
Is it just about products that people need to buy? Boring.
Is your story all about you? Boring.
Is there a lively community which involves dialog, relevant content and customer care? Great!
3. Don’t wander off topic.
Stay on target!
Naturally, telling a good story means being a good storyteller: Imagine you’re immersed in a wonderful book and suddenly the narrative is broken by the author’s vacation plans. You might ask yourself, ‘How did that even get published?’
No doubt there’s a lot of vacation photos on social media. But your audience has done you the favor of accepting your content for a reason—they want to hear more about your brand and its values, not its dinner plans or opinion on global warming.
4. Don’t just introduce yourself.
Talk to your audience!
You’re at a cocktail party. You’ve dressed to impress; put hours into choosing the right tie or necklace, colors and jewelry. Now, at the party, what if you were to say nothing at all beyond introducing yourself? How awkward would that be for everyone you “talked” to?
Social media is a giant cocktail party, where hundreds of millions of people interact everyday. Social marketing, therefore, is all about interacting. You ought to see your creative work, ads and content, as a way for your brand to dress and impress, but make sure you don’t stop the conversation there.
5. Don’t be impersonal.
Put on a smile!
Just as you can’t show up to a party and say nothing (even though you look amazing), you also can’t be insincere with what you do say.
When you receive a question or comment, don’t rely on automated responses. Answer personally, and respectfully. We realize this can be a big task, especially since you’re likely on multiple platforms, and the deluge of people and opportunities for you to interact with is intimidating! So look into a good social media management tool and give yourself a tactical advantage.
6. Don’t neglect transparency.
Keep it positive and responsive!
Social is tenaciously public. Anything you post can and will be used against you. So keep it positive—and responsive! Providing customer care on social is not just what the cool kids are doing, it’s what customers are demanding. The opportunity for brands ready to accept the challenge of social care is that these brands publicly validate their values and trustworthiness.
Likewise, ignoring customer demands for care also validates something about a brand—and it’s not good.
7. Don’t be a profile.
Be a presence!
Your Facebook Page especially is like one of your stores that is open 24/7. Give people something to see when they walk in!
Keep a consistent publishing cycle, and tailor your content to match the interests of your audience. This is another aspect of social marketing perfected with analytics: measure your content performance and understand what resonates most with your audience for the most compelling results. Test, analyze and optimize your content to inform your creative process.
8. Don’t just collect Fans.
Get to know them!
You’ve done a great job collecting all those Fans and followers. But now that you’ve got hundreds and thousands of admirers, your work has just begun. Every one in your audience has given you the privilege of appearing in their daily content. So what are you going to say to all these people?
First, you need to segment and target your messages for different audiences among your fan base. Whether by time zone, demographic or other identifiers, get acquainted with who your Fans are and deliver appropriate content. The days of cheap reach are over. To get the best performance from your content you need to know who you’re talking to. (Did someone say something about analyzing performance data?)
9. Don’t wear out your welcome.
Pace your content!
Social marketing represents exciting new forms of advertising that favor personalized communications and stories over taglines and pitches. But you can’t get carried away. Pace your content and, like a great storyteller, leave your audience simmering in expectation before you deliver your next piece. Think and plan like a storyteller!
10. Don’t take anything for granted.
You know the rules. Now know the tools.
What should be clear by now is that having your Fans, followers and subscribers etc. is a great achievement, but it’s only the beginning. Without content that compels your audience to keep listening, you can wake up one day to find that they’re looking elsewhere.
Take command of your social strategy. Analyze your performance data to optimize your content, and put on a smile with a management tool designed for social marketers by social marketers.