For many people, launching a personal social networking account on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ and firing off some posts is pretty basic stuff. Even the technologically challenged among us find that, with a little help getting started, it’s not so difficult.
But using social media to market your book, product or company can be a lot like learning to play golf. The game appears simple: Put a ball on a tee and whack it towards a little hole. Then you discover all those pesky nuances you have to learn, like mulligans and handicaps and bogeys and hooks.
In social media marketing and with a social media marketing firm, if your goal is to develop followers, friends and connections to get the word out about your product or book, there are some things you should do. The goal is always to provide valuable content. With all of the competition for their attention, if your audience can’t quickly answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” they’ll move on to someone else.
And there are some things you should not do. Here are five common mistakes a lot of people make – even some social media veterans!
1. Overposting. People who send a flurry of tweets and status updates in brief bursts will get less response than those who measure out their posts over time. One or two a day at different times of the day allow people time to respond and doesn’t overwhelm them. It’s a marathon, remember, not a sprint.
2. Inconsistency. Update your social media on a regular basis. If there’s an event or news related to your topic, make sure to share or discuss it on a timely basis. If there’s nothing newsy going on, don’t allow your account to sit idle for long periods. Share a personal experience, an observation or a photo. If you forget about your audience, they’ll forget about you.
3. Lack of interaction. When people comment on your post, ask a question, or take the initiative to share something with you, respond to them! Too often, comments and compliments are unacknowledged and questions are unanswered. If you spoke to someone at a party and they ignored you, would you walk away and find someone more courteous and engaging to talk with? Of course!
4. Forgetting to tie in your topic. It’s perfectly fine to share an anecdote, observation or commentary that appeals to a broad audience, but don’t forget to subtly bring the post back to your topic, if possible. A financial expert, for instance, might share a funny comment about her family vacation and wrap it up with, “Good thing I left the credit card at home. I would still be paying for souvenirs the kids just had to have and lost before we even got out of the park.”
5. Not sharing your mainstream media exposure. If you’re getting coverage in traditional media, share it! Let your social media followers know you have a TV or radio interview coming up (along with when and where) and share a link to it after it has aired. Post links to the articles written about you. This not only increases the reach of that exposure, it tells people you’re a credible source of information and someone journalists trust.
If you do it right, you can use social networks to build your audience and drive traffic to your website. Remember when you’re posting to keep in mind your audience’s first question: “What’s in it for me?” If the content you’re sharing is mostly pleas to “Visit my blog!” or “Check out my wonderful homemade soaps,” the answer is, “Nothing.”
Find the message or benefit in your book or product that speaks to the public, then use it to shape your interactions – and build your following.
I’m in it for you!
Marsha Friedman launched EMS Incorporated in 1990. Her firm represents corporations and experts in a wide array of fields such as business, health, food, lifestyle, politics, finance, law, sports and entertainment. She consults individuals and businesses on a daily basis and is frequently asked to speak at conferences about how to harness the power of publicity. Outside of the office, she is also the founder of a non-profit organization called the Cherish the Children Foundation. In 1996 the White House recognized her charity which sets out to raise awareness of the plight of underprivileged and foster children.