Here’s the truth: Social media marketing doesn’t have to be difficult.
Many businesses decide, “We need to get on social media,” tweet out a few promotions, sit back and wait for the revenue to fall in.
And when it doesn’t, they wonder why.
Well, you’re probably making a few mistakes. Here are five of the most common, and how to avoid them.
No. 1: You send your message only to your small following.
Many companies focus primarily on communicating with their own followers. While it’s important to do that, tapping into other people, especially influencers, gives your business a one-two punch that’s more potent: You tap into the influencer’s audience, and you add credibility to your brand with an influencer’s endorsement.
Spend some time learning where your customers, and your competitors’ customers, are visiting online – not just whether they’re using Twitter, Facebook, or Linked In, but what topics are engaging them. What blogs posts attract readers and comments? Are you writing on these topics? Are you contributing to these conversations in other places (for more, see tip No. 4)?
Finding people beyond your inner circle is one thing; initiating a constructive relationship with them is another. Think about what insights you can offer them.
Here’s one way to reach beyond your circle to key influencers in your field. It’s called the Skyscraper Technique, a term coined by and explained by Brian Dean.
The Skyscraper Technique boils down to three steps:
Find link-worthy content.
- Don’t just pass that content along. Improve it. Add tips. Update it. Do a deep dive the part of the original content that most interested you.
- Reach out to the influencers who might see your New & Improved version.
I particularly like another simple technique to reach out, because it piggy backs on an ethical practice we all should be doing anyway when we post: linking to sources and contacting them.
If you’re borrowing information you found from another post, it’s only fair to reward your source by linking to her post. That gives your readers a chance to learn about the subject in greater detail, and it steers a few readers to your source – a nice way to say thank you. And now I’ll do that right here, suggesting you check out the No. 2 tip in Chapter Seven of The Complete Guide to Building Your Blog Audience, by Neil Patel and Aaron Agius.
Here’s an example of a blogger building their network (and social reach) by simply contacting the person they linked to in an article:
Action Steps: Directly promote your post to influencers in your field.
You generally know who the major players in your field are. Just write them an email that gently introduces them to your post.
No. 2: You say it once.
Like any other kind of marketing, effective social media marketing requires multiple repetition of your message, using multiple platforms to reach your audience in a variety of ways. This keeps your message fresh, even as you repeat it, and greatly increases your chances of reaching your target audience – and getting the message to stick once you’ve succeeded.
A word of caution: Be careful not to overdo it. That’s a quick way to find yourself unfollowed and unfriended. Social media consultant Julie Norris, owner of Tailored Thoughts, offers:
Many of her ideas come down to this: Find creative ways to repackage what you’ve already said, such as:
- Collect your tweets for the day, add an introductory comment, and turn them into a Facebook post.
- Use hashtags prudently to reach out to a wider audience.
- Embed your tweet stream in your blog. WordPress, for one, has a plug in to do this.
Action Steps: Make a graphic of several key tweets and post it in Pinterest, another suggestion from Julie.
No. 3: You buy followers to build your social profile.
Dozens of companies are offering to sell you thousands of followers. It’s easy and relatively cheap (roughly $2 per 1,000 followers, but prices vary widely), so it’s tempting. Do you want to invest the time and effort to build your followers steadily, or do you want to spend a few bucks and have your followers double overnight?
Here’s our advice on this in one word: Don’t.
First of all, you’re likely to get found out. Since the advent of StatusPeople’s simple app a couple of years ago, it’s easy for anyone to estimate quickly the percentage of your Twitter followers who a real and who are “fake,” inactive accounts who’s sole purpose is to boost your Twitter followers, which is what you can expect to get if you buy followers.
Over the past two years, celebrities from comedian Dan Nainan to reality star Kendall Jenner to President Obama and his 2012 challenger, Mitt Romney, have been called out in the media for sudden, large jumps in their Twitter followers.
Once you get found out, your reputation takes a big hit, as social marketing expert Ian Anderson Gray points out in this excellent post outlining the down-side to buying followers.
Action Steps: Use the StatusPeople app on your own Twitter account. If your Faker Score runs higher than 25-30%, consider purchasing a subscription from StatusPeople or find another way to cull some of your fake followers.
No. 4: You don’t engage in other people’s conversations.
You’ve heard it before: Social media interactions, including social media marketing, is about conversations. You’re not just speaking to your audience; you’re listening to them, too. Now, just take that a step further, and extend the conversation to other places.
According to Fast Company, Rutgers University researchers determined that only 20 percent of us are truly informers on social media. To describe the rest, the researchers coined the term “meformers.”
What’s a meformer? Someone who posts social media updates mostly relating to herself. An informer posts update to share information that’s relevant to her audience.
Felix Tarcomnicu, the founder of the advertising marketplace Adsable.com, gives wonderfully simple, practical suggestions to help you engage in other people’s conversations in this post for the marketing analystics site kissmetrics.com, saucily titled, How to Steal Your Competitor’s Social Media Followers.
Action Steps: Identify the leading authorities in your field. Then:
- Follow Felix’s step-by-step guide to analyze their Facebook and Twitter activity. Here is an analysis of the American Kennel Club’s Facebook activity, using Fanpage Karma
- Identify their most important followers
- Reach out to those followers in an ethical, constructive way. Make sure you’re offering them something of value.
No. 5: You’re not connecting with influencers.
That’s what Raynforest is all about, helping match the right companies with the right influencers to make the biggest impact. But here’s a quick summary of some work you can do on your own to reach out to influencers. For more detail, check out our step by step guide on starting an influencer marketing campaign on your own.
- Pick specific, measurable goals, based on your budget and your objectives (lead generation, repeat purchases, upsells, etc.).
- Create an ideal influencer profile, considering your budget, values, most effective channels (Facebook, Twitter, E-mail subscriber list) and other factors.
- Develop a value proposition for the influencers you’re trying to reach. That doesn’t just mean offer a commission on any sales they generate. Let them be a pioneer, by being among the first to review your product or visit your store, or give them some attention on your own web site.
- Then go out there and connect with these influencers. And, for the ones who say yes to you, maintain and grow the relationship over the long term.
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