© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images“Giving to get” is the path to success in social media. This strategy requires a generous spirit. Small companies succeed in social media when they go out of their way to help people by providing useful content, sharing other people’s content, jumping into conversations where they can lend a hand, and making it easy for people to try their products and services.
6. Selling Too Much
Social media users don’t like the hard sell. As a matter of fact, many use social media to escape commercialism. Don’t try too hard to sell your products and services; there will be a backlash. Again, social media is social. The best path to generating sales is to build relationships with your social media community, and then introduce the idea of doing business together.
7. Not Selling Enough
The flip side of No. 6 is also a big mistake—not attempting to sell through your social media campaign. This amounts to not having a strategy at all. If you view social media as a way to build credibility and brand awareness, that’s fine, but at some point you have to turn that credibility and brand awareness into sales. Smart small businesses gradually ramp up lead and revenue generation activities on their social media accounts; not doing it prematurely, but when the time is right to convert the “soft” asset of brand affinity into hard dollars.
8. Failing to Leverage Your Knowledge
© KeremYucel/ iStock Editorial/ Getty ImagesSmall companies know a lot about their products, services, markets and audiences. This knowledge, when communicated on social media, attracts the interest of potential customers. When a small business delegates its social media campaigning to a junior staffer with limited business knowledge, these potential customers will not be attracted, and may additionally conclude your entire firm is inexperienced and incompetent. By overdelegating, such companies turn their biggest potential advantage into a crippling disadvantage.
9. Failing to Establish Metrics
Many small businesses that have been on social media for a few years have absolutely no idea how well their campaign is working. Obviously, not having a way to evaluate a social media campaign leads to wasted investment and an inability to improve campaign effectiveness. Popular and useful metrics include tracking brand mentions; social shares of your company’s content; referred traffic from social media sites to your company website; and the number of engaged community members as measured by comments, direct messages. and other measurable actions. These metrics are not perfect, but provide a reliable sense of whether your campaign is stagnant, improving, or worsening.
10. Putting Too Many Eggs in the Social Basket
Social media marketing is really, really tempting for small companies because the financial barriers to entry are basically zero—signing up is free and the main investment is time. However, for revenue generation, brand awareness, and credibility building, other Internet marketing options may produce far better and quicker results—pay-per-click advertising and email marketing, to name two of the more obvious. Companies are smart to test various options. Social media could be the path of most resistance, but you won’t know unless you test. Budget accordingly and prosper!