First, there is deciding which platforms are important and current. This has obviously varied over time. Is it Facebook or is Facebook passe now, the last refuge of retirees with too much time on their hands? On the other hand, perhaps marketing to retirees would be profitable for your company.
Is your business or your niche photogenic enough for Instagram to work for you? Instagram is hot right now, but there’s little opportunity for customer engagement there. Rather than using it for direct marketing, it’s better for building excitement visually that can later be tapped in another way.
It’s important to remember, too, that people have learned to employ strategies to avoid marketing, advertising, or commercials because it’s not engaging and they feel manipulated. How many times in your life have you waited for a commercial to get up and get a snack or let the dog out? How many seconds does it take before you switch your radio station away from that commercial and see if there’s anything else on? These are old school examples of how captive audiences adapted to targeted advertising.
Today people are able to control more and more of what they watch and experience through the use of specific apps or just simply clicking away, and there is so much more content to consume. The rules have definitely changed. Therefore, inserting marketing in a place that’s not build for it – it’s trying too hard, and it will actually repel people, rather than attract. Imagine it’s 1979 and you’re in Red Square looking at a huge Coca Cola billboard, the only piece of marketing in the entire place. Does it make you want to buy a coke, or does it make you wonder what the Communist Party is up to now?
Given this, the last thing you want, after investing time in social media, is for your audience to dismiss your efforts or become suspicious of them. How do you avoid this? While the choices for social media are seemingly infinite, much of avoiding marketing mistakes still boils down to old-fashioned common sense:
- Know your business – If your company sells office paper, Instagram may not be your best bet. Figure out what your primary selling points are and also what makes your business unique and better suited to its niche than others.
- Know your customers – Who do you sell to now and what demographic or client base do you most want to engage. You can’t know how to interact until you’ve determined and studied your audience.
- Know your social media – Go through a list of social media options and study their strengths and weaknesses. Ask your friends and family members which ones they use and which ones they recommend. When you’ve made a decision, go online and observe how successful companies use that specific social media site. Then dive in. Remember, if you choose wrong, you’re not Coca Cola. Your client base won’t lampoon you online for the mistakes you make, and you can always try a different strategy.
Ultimately, social media is social. If you keep in mind the way people act in real life and visualize them as individuals with needs and motivations and not just demographic targets, you will be able to better avoid common social media pitfalls.