Social media marketing has received a lot of attention from businesses wanting to reach out to customers. Sites like Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook have become main outlets for marketing and publicity for anyone trying to sell a product or service. The use of these platforms is an inexpensive alternative to print ads and broadcast media. It is also a good way to connect with a captive audience.
Consultants and “social media gurus” have made their marks online and created sites that offer insights and instructions. They provide advice and guidance on how to properly use social media tools to increase sales and attract new customers. While most of the information provided is based on experience and sound logic, there are instructions that can ultimately damage your business and reputation. The worst advice given about social media marketing: “Use automated tools to cover multiple social media platforms.” This piece of advice is flawed on so many levels.
Maintaining Multiple Social Media Accounts
There are dozens of social networking sites available for the picking and new ones popping up on a regular basis. It is a terrible idea to maintain an account on even just the ten most popular sites. You will end up dedicating several hours of work managing multiple profiles, posting duplicate updates, checking for messages and interacting with users. This is time that you can potentially use for more productive matters like business management and research. Spreading yourself out thin will make you lose focus and lose connection with your audience.
The Effects of Using Automated Tools
The popularity of social networking sites has led to the development of online tools that automate responses and updates. Business owners can simply program their devices to send repeated posts at different intervals or use canned responses that automatically address client messages.
While this technology can save you a lot of time, it takes away the interactive appeal of social media. You will miss out on opportunities that require human attention if your communication channels are left to auto-programming. Readers do not want to communicate with a robot; they turn to social media sites because they crave personal and real-time interaction. They want someone who will listen to their complaints and provide responses that actually address their concerns.
Flooding Customers with Posts and Updates
Social media users follow business accounts that provide value and information. They aim to find interesting articles, informative updates, entertaining videos and enticing photos. They do not want to see multiple posts about the same topic or status updates that are not interesting. These self-serving posts will just frustrate your audience and cause them to abandon your site.
Using Social Media Platforms to Your Advantage
Social media sites and automation systems can work to your advantage if used properly. They are, after all, still the best tools to gain immediate access to clients and customers. The trick is finding a right balance between using technology and maintaining a personal connection with your audience.
You need to limit your choice of social networking sites to a manageable number. Three to five sites allow you enough room to diversify your outreach coverage and maintain focus at the same time. Choose the platforms that your target audience is most active on based on personal interests and online habits. If your business involves fashion and design, Instagram is an obvious choice over Foursquare. Products and services that target business professionals, on the other hand, will benefit more from LinkedIn as compared to Pinterest.
Automation is not necessarily a bad thing. Leaving some of your social media tasks to automation can give you more time to engage with your customers. There are posts and updates that do not take away the personal touch from your online interaction with the clients. For instance, you can use tools to schedule unique posts ahead of time. This allows you to share your updates at ideal times throughout the day. You can also use canned responses to acknowledge receipt of your customers’ messages with a promise that somebody will contact them within a reasonable turnaround time.
Social media is an important tool for reaching out to customers. Misuse of these tools, however, can cause your business to lose customers. A good balance between technology and personalized service is needed in order to create an effective marketing strategy.