Avoid the Top Five Mistakes of Social-Media Marketing

Pam Lontos and Maurice Ramirez Comments
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Mistake No. 2: Collecting Friends

Social-media marketing is how you create instant buzz on the Internet by getting the same message out over and over. It's spreading your message and getting your company branded so you can get more business. Social networking, on the other hand, is about making friends.

For example, you've likely seen someone on LinkedIn who has 25,000-plus contacts. That's great, but what do you do with all those associates? Remember, just because you have a phone book in your office doesn't mean you can open the book at random, pick a name and call it for business.

When you collect a contact, you're supposed to be opening the door to exchange information and build a relationship. Think of it as relationship marketing in the 21st century, and the same rules apply. The only difference is you're building the relationship online rather than over coffee.
 
Mistake No. 3: Putting Out the Wrong Messages

You've likely seen people on Twitter or Facebook post, “John Smith is watching a great movie and eating popcorn.” Such messages may be fine for personal networks, but for business ones, you need to put out messages that are useful to your readers. In other words, don't talk about yourself. You want to give valuable tips and advice so the people who read your posts want to repost them to their own sites. That's how your message spreads virally.

The key is to keep your messages consistent. Remember, people are subscribing to various feeds to get your information. They’re essentially saying your message has value. That's why you can't do a series of sales tips and then post a couple of your favorite omelet recipes. You have to stay on message, and your message has to be for your readers.

With that said, it’s OK to occasionally have a press release-type message that says, “John Smith is speaking at ABC Convention on employee productivity today.” This kind of message does two things: It tells people they might not get a tip today or tomorrow because you're busy, and it shows that other big-wigs out there think your message is important. It's a positive reinforcement that boosts your credibility, so long as you don't do it too frequently.
 
Mistake No. 4: Posting Inappropriate Information

Don't allow yourself or anyone on your site to post anything online that you don't want your most conservative client to see. You never know where something will end up, especially since the nature of the Internet is for things to spread virally.

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