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September 20, 2012

Five Biggest Mistakes Small Businesses Make with their Social Media Marketing

Are you only posting links and videos to your social media platforms or are you working according to a plan?

Here are some mistakes you may be making that will hinder your success:

1. Unrealistic Expectations

You may have heard from others how fantastic social media is and how much success they’re having. You may also have had some success yourself and now think social media marketing is the only way to go. This may even be the only marketing you’re doing and you expect miraculous results.

Getting it right is a science, not luck. Social media marketing is not a quick fix. It takes time to build your followers and to change them into raving fans. It requires daily interaction and engagement with your fans. You can’t “set and forget.”

2. Spending All the Time Promoting Yourself and Not Building Relationships

It is a serious mistake to promote yourself too much. Online is about good, valuable, free content. It is about promoting your brand and creating brand awareness. It is about driving traffic to your website and capturing your visitor’s information. It is about building relationships and interacting with your customers.

Your followers will become tired of you if you continually promote yourself. Remember, everyone wants what’s in it for him or her. You need to listen to what your prospective and current clients want and then decide how you can give it to them. It’s about them, not you and it’s about having fun.

3. Not Responding to Questions and Conversations

When your customers and prospects follow or “like” you, it is because they are interested in your product or service. When they start conversations around it and you’re not responding, they will think you are not interested in them and will find someone else to do business with.

It is much like having a store when someone comes into make a purchase. If you’re busy on the phone or are talking with someone else, eventually they will get tired of waiting and go to shop somewhere else.

The point of social media is to build relationships, to get people to trust you enough to do business with you. Not listening to your followers and not responding to their questions will destroy any possibility of a relationship.

4. Not Having a Strategy

Not having a strategy is like driving to a town in another state without a map or a plan of what you will do and where you will stay once you get there. Maybe that is fun for some people, but it could turn into a disaster if you want to sleep, eat and freshen up but find yourself in the middle of nowhere.

Similarly in social media marketing, or any marketing for that matter, you need to know what you want to achieve, when you want to achieve it by, and how you are planning to achieve it. Don’t just jump in and start posting random things. Have in mind a reason for each post and an action you want your follower to take, otherwise you’re posting for nothing.

5. Underestimating the Time It Takes

It takes time to build a relationship. You don’t meet someone and immediately decide to marry them, do you? No, you take your time to find out if he or she is the right one, and if you have things in common. You go through a dating period first to get to know each other.

Business relationships are similar. Your prospects want to get to know you first, to see if you understand them and their problems. They will do business with you when you have earned their trust – not before.

If you take time out to plan your social media marketing with defined goals and structure, you will have better results. Remember, it is about the relationships you are building with your followers. If you make anything else more important than that, there will be no success.

Article by Hannah Du Plessis. For more information on social media marketing, visit Attraction Marketing.