Social media marketing: Pitfalls and how to avoid them

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By Megan Totka

Most people understand how to use social media to find friends, activities, games, etc. Businesses are also becoming more adept at finding both their current customers as well as new ones by using social media sites to their advantage. But social media can be a dangerous creature if you don’t know how to harness its power properly.

Social media marketing is quickly becoming a focus for many companies. Since some social media sites, Facebook in particular, are viewed millions of times per day, it’s critical to the success of small businesses to keep their page(s) up-to-date and use them as tools to interact with customers.

However, there are many pitfalls to social media marketing. Here are some common social media gaffes and how to avoid or remedy them:

  1. Spamming followers: Social media was designed to help you update your community. Make sure you are careful not to inundate your followers with posts. To avoid spamming your community, it’s a good idea to balance posts about your company with news shared by your community. Also avoid sending unsolicited direct messages.
  2. Not enough engagement with customers: Make sure that in addition to posting your own content, you are checking for replies and suggestions. It can make your company look distant if you are not bothering to reply to those who reply to you.
  3. Not having a social media marketing strategy: Before launching a social media account for your business, make sure you have a focus and an end result in mind. For example, there is a pizzeria in my town that posts its pizza specials, coupons, and customer spotlights around the same time each day. The focus of its page is to share what’s going on in the pizzeria with customers.
  4. Not knowing your target audience: Social media fans and followers are not one-size-fits-all. Know who you are looking to recruit as fans or customers and target them. Others who discover your page are a bonus.
  5. Failing to continue what you start: It’s all too easy to start strong with your social media presence and then, as life with your business gets busy, neglect it. Be careful to have a strategy that is long-term. You need to keep your page active to keep your fans.

As an additional resource, read the top 10 truths of social media.

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com in the U.S. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their businesses on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. Megan also specializes in writing articles about common-sense business best practices, from finding office furniture to hiring accountants.

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