Making Mistakes with Social Media

social networkingIt’s such a minefield, isn’t it? How do you set foot into the social media world without making mistakes, even if you are the most hardened industry veteran? The question often asked is how do you market using social media? The blunt answer is, effectively, that you don’t! At least you don’t in the more traditional sense of the word. Enter subtlety…

You may have read our blog on Monday (Top Hits on Microsoft’s Bing) on how Twitter was the second most popular term searched this year through Microsoft’s Bing search engine (Michael Jackson being number one). This shows the explosion of social media and the interest in this microblogging platform as a way of communication in the New World. Off-line marketers could be forgiven for salivating at the thought of engaging clients, both old and new through platforms such as Twitter and many have jumped headlong into the fray, blasting out and tweeting direct marketing messages to the world. This is a major mistake and one which is guaranteed to turn off both your existing clients and anyone who might be tempted to do business with you. Social media is not social marketing and it should be viewed from a very different perspective.

I mentioned subtlety and this should be your keyword. The fact that you are engaging in social media circles is effectively marketing enough for you. In other words, your presence is your marketing tool. By all means provide great quality information and get involved with a conversation relevant to your product or service, but never, ever direct sell something. Note that the minute you do this, you have lost all the credibility and trust that you have been working hard to build up through these social media channels.

Any messages that you send out into the social media world should be relevant to the people you are sending it to and the channels that you are using. If you come across, over time, as the purveyor of good news and information, relevant and usable and at no cost, you will build up a following of sorts, which will in time be convertible to sales. There is nothing wrong in sending interested parties to a URL, so long as the contents of the landing page are appropriate, relevant, educational, informative, enlightening or entertaining. This page should not be an out and out sales page, although subtle links to your more sales-orientated offers or solutions can be contained elsewhere on these pages.

Don’t try and short-circuit the process by paying individuals to authenticate your wares, one way or the other. Be creative and come up with a great, service orientated social media campaign and treat this form of subtle marketing correctly.

What lessons have you learned using social media?

Matthew Toren

Matthew Toren

Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs.org, BizWarriors.com and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley).

Comments are closed