When it comes to the world of Social Media there seems to be 1000s of experts out there. These supposed experts range from transformed marketing gurus to people like you and I who just do Social Media. I don’t profess to be an expert nor would I market what skills I do have to land a job or an engagement to help companies or organizations get better with their social media strategy.
Back in April, the Business Insider site posted 16 Social Media Mistakes and I figured I would “Krispify” this list a little with some of the things that I have learned along the way.
“Thinking it’s a sprint instead of a marathon”
Entering into the world of Social Media is not for the faint of heart. It takes dedication and commitment. It is not like a regular Ad Campaign that you can set it and forget it. It is a daily grind that takes monitoring and engagement to be successful.
“Not having a plan or strategy”
When I started this whole engagement process I didn’t know if anyone would want to listen to the Rants and Ramblings of a Sales Guy. I am shocked daily that there are those that do follow me on a daily basis. I quickly learned that I need to have a plan and a way of measuring if those that I really want to hear me are actually out there. Those that Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail!
“Talking too much and not listening enough”
I am a Sales Guy and this at the best of times a challenge for me. The level of engagement is not just about how much content you put out there, it is the buzz and the response that you get from those that you are talk to. Take a moment to listen. It is one thing to put out 1000s of Tweets but for the most part they are getting lost in the shuffle. Listen to those you are trying to engage and make your messages for them!
“Airing bad feelings”
Much of what I write about is about the things that I find interesting in the world of Technology. If I was to take the stance of a constant gripe or complaint (beyond my dislike of Apple Products) I would likely be the only guy in the room. Don’t be a “Debbie Downer”, even when it is time to complain, find a message that has a message to be shared.
“Too much time spent on self-promotion”
I may be the greatest thing since sliced bread but I really try to stay away from promoting me. The fact that as a Sales Professional I bring unique skills and insights to my conversations is not relevant to the reason that I am in this Social Media mixer. I find myself sharing more information about my competitors than I do about the company I work for…and this is part of my overall strategy. Don’t toot your own horn…it is often far to high pitched and you don’t need a pack of dogs following you around.
“Having unrealistic expectations”
You are not going to be an overnight success. It takes a lot of hours and a lot of dedication to make Social Media Work for you (unless you are already an established brand…then it becomes an extension of your other Marketing). I set realistic targets for myself along the way. My Blog I wanted to have a consistent readership by the end of year one, I wanted to double the number of Social Connections about 2 months ago (which was not hard considering I did not have many to begin with)…when you set achievable goals, you can then have a measure of success and then set new ones to move the bar higher and higher.
“Not making it relevant to me”
I try to write and engage as if I was reaching out to someone like me. This strategy has worked for me so far. I write like I talk, what you see is what you get…nothing more and nothing less. In real life I ramble, but there is a passion behind that rambling and that I think comes across in in what I do.
“Not responding to customers.”
There is a time and a place for apathy. Your level of engagement is open and plain for the world to see. Your business may only operate from 9-5 but the Internet is always on…and is available to everyone with a Web Browser (which thanks to Smart Phones is pretty much EVERYONE!). Ignoring customers and potential customers is more than just bad business…it is a dangerous game of Service Roulette…Engage often and as quickly as possible!
“Blurring the lines between personal and professional.”
When I started down this path, I was challenged with the fact that I would be laying my life out for the world to see. I don’t share EVERYTHING that is going on in my life, and my Facebook is still primarily a personal space (although even this line has become blurred). The world does not see things in just Black and White, it even goes across more than the “50 Shades of Grey”…YOU are who YOU are…and let that shine…that is the point of Socialization!
I think we all had that Grade 7 or 8 Teacher that defined what an ASSUMPTION was…but as we age we all think that we are better than the world around us. I have made some assumptions in this world of Social Media and at times they have come back to bit me. This is actually a good thing…as long as you learn from it!
“They create a business profile first and a personable profile later.”
Making your Business Profile more Personal is what humanizes the marketing. It doesn’t matter if you are building a Personal Brand or promoting a Multi Billion Dollar Company…people want to see what is REAL. Let the Personality shine. Have the CEO do a Weekly Blog Post and a Monthly Pod Cast. Monitor yes…but give your best and brightest the freedom to engage your customers and extend beyond just the Marketing Department’s view of the world!
“A serious underestimation of the amount of resources it takes”
I have done this on the cheap. With my only real investment being time and the cost of my Web Host. If I wanted to reach out to more people and organizations I could invest a substantial amount of time and money to this and expand at a rapid pace. The more popular your ads get…the more you will likely have to pay. This is because you pay per click in this brave new world. Just like any Marketing Campaign, you will only get out of it what you put into it…but remember that it is not just about throwing money at the situation…look to your Plan…and Engage!
“Expecting social media to do all the work”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Social Media was like traditional media…put an Ad in the Paper and wait for people to call…your message and voice is being drowned out by the cacophony of others shouting from their own Soap Box. Social Media is so far from being a set it and forget it endeavor. It takes weekly (if not daily) massaging and tweaking to get it right!
“Not engaging with the audience”
So you have done well, you have followers, friends and your circles are full! Great work. Now the hard part comes. You brought them in…the only way to keep them around is to engage them. New content…that is a good first start but what about actually looking at what they are doing. What are their REAL interests? Social Media is built on Engagement. It is a Two Way Communication…use that, embrace that and the world is truly your oyster!
“Getting on social media just because everyone else is”
Ah yes…the Band Wagon. “Everyone else has a Facebook page so we should too!” Yeah…does that really fit? Or jumping from new Social Media Channel to another like it is a Thursday Night with no new TV Shows and you are clicking around hoping to find something to do. Do it because you want to…not because you think you have to! Social Media for the sake of Social Media will come across like you are phoning it in and that will disengage any connections you may have made.
“Not understanding that it’s all about relationship building”
I do what I do because for me, the power of Sales is about the Relationship. Long after I have parted ways with a former client or long lost college buddy, Social Media can bring you together. The Relationship is all powerful in the world of Social Media and spouting marketing message after marketing message is more like an endless loop of commercials (and I PVR TV so that I can fast forward through that stuff!).
To sum things up…it is more important to do than to not do.
Focus on being REAL…if you are going to jump in to Social Media…commit to it. It can be fun and if done right…it can make you, your company and your customer all very happy!
Well that is it, good thing this wasn’t a Toastmaster’s Speech…I think I would be over time by a little bit!
Chris J Powell