Social media isn’t your average sales partner. It is really much more than that. Keep off the most common social media mistakes
Thanks to the internet, it has never been easier to start a business. You have a ready podium from where you can pitch your product (or service) to your audience. But how do you know if they are in tune with your pitch? How do you assess if your audience has been listening to you while you’ve been speaking?
For all the convenience of using social media to further one’s business objectives, it is getting increasingly difficult to identify the ‘right’ audience and put your message across to them.
Doing the ‘right’ things on social media can be hard
However, it is certainly worth the effort, considering social media is a powerful tool for marketing. If done correctly, you can win loyal customers who will support you through thick and thin. You’d be able to convert customers into brand evangelists. But if executed wrongly, it might dent your objectives.
A survey of 1000+ respondents by Sprout Social revealed:
● Almost 58% of the respondents were likely to purchase from brands they regularly followed on social media.
If there were any right way of using social media as a marketing tool, it would be to stop selling immediately. Instead, you must focus on understanding the ‘gap’ in utility in the customers’ lives, creating awareness about the new product, developing rapport, building credibility, and in the process, building your BRAND.
Social media isn’t your average sales guy; use it to market yourself, your offering, and eventually, build a brand that customers would vouch for and fiercely protect
The lack of a clearly-defined social media strategy
Social media strategy is an umbrella term that is not only limited to posting up-to-the-minute updates. It may seem lucrative to sell in the short term. But remember, peppering potential customers’ social media feeds with irrelevant information and pushy pitches is only going to kill your brand in the long run.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes; think about how you’d react to your inbox swamped with mindless spam emails from marketers. Not something you’d want, right? I already have and will be throwing in this disclaimer some more -- put the focus back to where it belongs. Interact and engage with your audience for there is no other way around it.
Creating mindshare is the key to building market share
For example, if you have started a business coaching service, it is not because you think people have lost their way, and need to be mentored. Explain the value proposition, tell people why coaching is vital to leverage one’s strengths optimally. Show them that your service could add value to their lives, instead of mindlessly wasting resources on selling yourself.
Posting for the sake of it? Think again
One of the more common social media marketing mistakes that entrepreneurs and business owners commit is posting blasé content. Use social media to create meaningful conversations. If you don’t have an important thing to say, don’t say. If a message doesn’t inspire you, don’t expect it to inspire your audience either. Social media users are becoming increasingly intelligent by the day. They have stricter information filters to sieve unauthentic, forced updates out of the relevant and useful ones.
The Social Sprout survey also revealed:
● As much as 86% of the respondents said that while they follow their favourite brands, they’d prefer meaningful content instead of ‘in your face’ adverts and cringe-worthy sales pitches.
Customers want to buy; they don’t want to be sold. Respect that
More importantly, sending out hourly updates that are not utility-driven will cost you dearly. Time for a reality check! It is not going to help you stay any more relevant. On the contrary, low-quality content is a real dampener to engagement rates, and it will eventually damage your BRAND and disconnect your audience. Isn’t that bad now?
‘No’ to run-of-the-mill content
This is in keeping with the previous point. While you must consciously avoid lazy posts, putting up high-quality content consistently is easier said than done. Instead, you can share top content from industry leaders. Besides, make sure that you are engaging with your audience. If you’re not doing that, chances of your post getting optimal, organic reach diminish.
Sticking to your guns till it hurts?
Do you often share identical posts despite them not offering the best engagement? As important as it is to curate a definite strategy, it is equally essential to create room for flexibility. After all, what is the point of being too much in love with your idea, and sticking to a rigid agenda even if it is clearly not engaging your audience?
Being blinded by a single plan will only cripple creativity. What if you feel a sudden spurt of inspiration and want to post something meaningful, but then realise that it is not according to your ‘strategy’? That will not do well to your creative juices, and undoubtedly hinder the potential reach of your content.
Think about what your audience considers valuable. Don’t be scared of spontaneity. Remember that the best strategy is what works for you.
Strategies don’t have to be set in stone. Focus on your audience, give them what they want. Decisions should depend on engagement results, not a fanciful idea
Is excessive product promotion tarnishing your BRAND?
Now I know that there’s a popular argument for inducing the need for a product in the customers’ mind. I am not saying this idea doesn’t hold water. May be it does, but you cannot keep them interested for long. Promoting your product way too much than what is necessary is eventually going to turn them off.
New York Times bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk, in his book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, asserts that the end-game is to build relationship with your customer.
You begin by fostering faith, trust. This survey reported trust in a brand to be a great catalyst for purchase and a hefty bottom line in the balance sheet.
Think about how you can build a connection. One way to do it is by letting your customers see your ‘real’ self. Why? That’s because it is your authentic, unfiltered self that projects your BRAND. Be honest, for it will cultivate a sense of belongingness within your customer.
Another way to build trust is by giving unconditionally. Don’t think about what you could ask for in return. This mindset can go a long way in sealing customer faith. This could mean inviting people to attend your webinars for free where they get real value. Let them in on the humanness of your brand to establish a deep-rooted connect.
Ask yourself – “Will my audience pay me for what I have been offering to them for free?”
If your answer to that is a resounding ‘YES’, you are on the path to success.
Customers are humans, and humans are emotional beings. They will not buy from you if they don’t trust you
Over to you
If a client walked into your office, how would you treat him? Would you start by throwing at him your big, fat product brochure, or ease him into opening up about his requirement? I can take a guess; it is surely the latter. So why treat your social media followers any differently?
Don’t sell on social media. Instead, build your BRAND, brick-by-brick.
Connect. Engage. Build a relationship.
Hitesh Porwal is a certified executive coach specializing in Career-Transition Coaching for executives and business owners who are looking for a change in their 30s or 40s.