social media strategy

Social media has become a key component in the online marketing campaigns of every savvy business owner. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social networking platforms are giving businesses an unprecedented opportunity to build brand recognition and to connect directly with a growing customer base.

When used effectively, social media outlets can help a business to flourish, increasing sales and establishing the kind of brand loyalty that will serve them well both online and in the real world.

But, using social media to promote your brand isn’t foolproof, and there are many pitfalls to avoid along the road to success. Social media blunders can sometimes be costly for a company, and in extreme cases, can bring an otherwise successful brand to its knees.

Let’s look at a few of the possible stumbling blocks businesses face when they use social media to promote their brand.

Choosing the Right Online Personality

Like it or not, people and businesses are judged by their social media posts. That judgment is not only based on what you post; it is also colored by the way you handle your posts.

Everyone wants to be witty and amusing online, and there is certainly a lot to be said for the witty Instagram or Twitter posts that brighten an otherwise dull afternoon at work. But, business owners need to ask themselves if their brand truly lends itself to a succession of comical posts and if that is what will appeal to their customer base.

What works for a skateboard manufacturer will not work for a dentist’s office. Understand your customer base and develop a persona that speaks to them. There is no need to perform for the internet. Strike a tone that is inviting, conversational, and respectful of your audience.

Understand the Difference Between a Business Profile and a Personal Profile

A business’ social media profile should always remain professional, no matter how light-hearted the actual posts may be. Resist the urge to post funny YouTube clips of dogs running in their sleep (unless, of course, you’re an online outlet for doggie beds) simply because they amuse you. Remember, this is not your personal profile.

Refrain from making controversial statements, and never let your personal beliefs shape the subject or tone of your business’ social media posts. This is a sure-fire way to alienate a large portion of your customer base, and you need only perform a cursory Google search of “social media blunders” to find a long list of otherwise successful businesses who experienced a social media backlash after posting something controversial on their business profile.

Provide Value for Your Followers

Just like your business blog, your posts on social media should provide interesting and informative content for your followers. The purpose of your social media presence is to increase your brand’s online visibility, and that can only happen when you provide your followers with content that they will find interesting and useful, and that they will want to share with their followers.

Is there a right time to promote your product or brand? Of course. However, it takes a lot of touchpoints to fresh eyes before they even consider purchasing what you’re selling. And, with multiple decision-makers, the touchpoints increase.

Measure the Metrics that Matter

There are a variety of social media metrics that you and your marketing team can use to gauge the success of your social networking strategies. Unfortunately, most of these do not directly relate to your bottom line and are mostly vanity metrics.

While it is helpful to know how many followers you have on Twitter or Instagram and to know how many “likes” and “shares” a given post has received, it doesn’t tell you how your social media presence is affecting your conversions and your return on investment.

Using the Assisted Conversions feature in Google Analytics will allow you to track the origins of your leads and conversions, and determine just how big a part social media plays in your overall sales. With this information, you can better gauge the success, or lack of progress, of your business’ social media strategies.

To Wrap Up

Social networking platforms will continue to play an essential role in the way businesses interact with the public, and having a social media presence has already become standard operating procedure for companies and brands of all sizes and descriptions.

While social media offers a relatively easy way for business owners to attract customers and build brand recognition, it does have its pitfalls and should be approached with the same level of attention and professionalism you bring to every other aspect of your business’ marketing strategies.