Guest contributor Dixie Somers outlines four of the key rules to keep in mind when marketing your business on social media.
The views expressed in this post are those of the author and not necessarily that of Return On Now.
The Internet’s profit potential has brought new businesses online in droves. While this is great for the overall business climate, there are side effects to the benefits of online business.
Social media provides a perfect example of these side effects. While social media is built around genuine human communication, many businesses simply use social media as another way to push an advertisement in front of potential customers.
This is essentially the model that television commercial breaks have operated under for almost half a century, but that model does not translate to social networking platforms that are used by hundreds of millions of people. People using social media are engaged overall, however, when a business stops respecting the nature of social media, they will begin to lose followers, fans, and credibility.
As soon as you can tap into what your customers want to see (and don’t want to see), you’ll be a much better “friend” in their social media circles.
Offer More Than Disguised Ads
Blindly promoting your product or service at every possible opportunity is the worst course of action. This might work for a brief period, but regular viewers will eventually become annoyed and unsubscribe from or ignore the perpetrating business.
The best course of action, then, is to create, share and promote a range of content items from relevant pictures to funny video clips. Offering interesting, inspiring, funny or profound content leaves a fantastic impression and distinguishes a business from all of the annoying ad spammers.
Many businesses have started doing this, and found that it elicits a great response from followers and customers. If you’re looking for ideas, you might try looking at the Twitter feed of a popular business, or even read some business intelligence blogs that have been posting things that are both promotional and fun.
Making crass, impolite, lewd or other potentially offensive comments can cause a massive backlash. A lot of companies try to appear relaxed and fun, and often post sarcastic or critical remarks.
Professionalism can be bent slightly when it comes to social media, but the fact remains that crossing the line will result in a damaged reputation and a loss of customers. This applies to all comments and shared content, as sharing anything that might offend a significant group of people is an unnecessary risk.
Don’t post anything that could potentially offend anyone, even if it won’t offend your customers, or your customers might think it’s funny. Putting people down to get attention is no way to run a business. There are very few exceptions to this rule, and the responsible social media marketer will keep it in mind at all times.
Be Active in the Social Media Community
Sharing, liking and commenting on the content of other local businesses and users is one of the coolest actions that a business can take. It shows that they are clearly involved in the community and aren’t merely promoting themselves at all times.
It’s still important to mention products, services and sales, but integrating with the community is a faster and more effective way to earn the favor of potential fans and customers. Those in your focal area (or areas if you’re a large business) will definitely take notice when you reach out to them directly.
Which brings us to the underlying theme of this entire blog post: move away from a robotic, systematic routine and toward a more human approach to business.
Deception and shady business practices are being increasingly frowned upon among the social media crowd. People are not responding to social networkers who are only out to make a buck; they are responding to those that fit into their lives. If the developments of the last half-decade on the Internet are any indication of what’s to come, social media will continue to change the game dramatically.
Moving away from obnoxious, annoying social media marketing is so easy, profitable and fulfilling that it no longer makes sense to be the spam-sending business of the early millennial decade. All signs point to a social media future that involves transparency, interaction and decency.
About the Author
This post was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write for business, finance, women’s interests, and home and family related topics. Dixie lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters, who are the inspiration for her writing.