Anybody can sign up for a social media account and understand its general premise. Does that make you capable of using it for business? Like anything in business, social media (done right) requires extensive experience and understanding of people, some technology and — most importantly — marketing.
Primarily, social media users fail in one of two areas: understanding that social media fits into the larger part of a company’s overall marketing goals, and the ability to see correlations between activities on social media and quantifiable ROI. (Like in grade school math class, you don’t get credit if you don’t show your work.)
You — or your social media marketing ‘pro’ — might be using social media the wrong way if:
You don’t measure ROI
Utilize basic tools like Facebook analytics (which is free, by the way) to understand what your customers really respond to. Notice whatever seems to help you generate more likes, clicks and reach. Then, use tools like Google Analytics to see how the traffic is converting on your website. If you want to get a bit more robust, try simple, yet powerful analytics tools like Simplymeasured.com. They will help you stay connected with your audience and keep them interested, as long as you can interpret them correctly.
You call yourself a ‘guru’ or something similar
Keep your titles professional, people. Using a term like ‘guru’ usually screams that you’re a refugee from another industry and don’t really know what you’re doing. Anybody who has been in the marketing industry wants to create a professional appearance. Let others call you a guru if they’d like.
You’re not working with other departments in the business
Social media marketing is most efficient and effective when it’s coordinated with your company’s branding team, email marketing team, advertising team and other various marketing departments. For instance, your web marketing team can help drive your social media communities’ growth by linking back to your company’s social networks. Alternatively, you can gain potential leads that can convert into sales by driving traffic back to the website through content marketing. If you create original content and you work intra-departmentally, you will then be a social media rock star.
You are not identifying key influencers or competitors
Social media is a great portal for identifying potential allies and competitors. Keep an eye on your competitors to see what they’re up to. Make sure you add them to a private list on Twitter and don’t follow them, because then they’ll know. Use tools like Followerwonk.com to identify key influencers who may be driving the conversation in your industry. Interact with the influencers and try to involve them in various social media programs that you run. Soon you’ll have people adding you to their secret Twitter lists.
You use a tweet-by-tweet strategy
It’s easy to sign up for a social media account. The real magic happens when you have a strategy. To create a one, you must learn to understand what your audience needs through analytics, then implement a process that drives measurable ROI. With this strategy, you can plan out social media initiatives like contests. Ensure that they are successful by planning appropriately and implementing flawlessly. If you’re running a social media program but you don’t know what you’re going to accomplish next month, you are doing it wrong.
You don’t build relationships or listen
Social media is all about relationships — that’s why it’s called “social” media. It will draw engagement, encourage brand advocacy and keep customers happy. To build these key relationships you must listen to your fans’ needs. They will do some of the work for you, but you need to treat them right. Some businesses talk too much on social media. This comes across as “spamvertisement,” and their fans tune out. If a proverbial tree (your content) falls in the woods (into the newsfeed) but nobody cares, did it really happen?
Find out why people like your business by listening to them. Build your community around that.
Andy Karuza is the CEO of brandbuddee.com and a long-time social media consultant with experience in Enterprise, Startup and local small business. Also an active nightlife, fashion, entrepreneur and charity community member.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.