Though 80% of people have adopted social media, only 60% of small businesses are on board. This gap isn’t huge in itself, but when you see the stats of the businesses engaging in social media, the majority are using it for promotional reasons rather than priming the pump by building relationships first. Businesses using social media for self-serving reasons shouldn’t be surprised if conversions aren’t happening.
Rushing social media relationships is similar to trying to rush through a vinyasa flow yoga class. Your instructor is going to urge you to slow down otherwise you’re not going to reap the benefit of the practice. The same is true with social media, if you rush to the sale; you’re defeating process and purpose.
And please don’t rush onto social media channels if you haven’t got your traditional marketing such as direct mail, cross marketing, variable data printing down to a science. It would be marketing ADD to try to master another channel when haven’t achieved mastery of the ones bringing home the bacon to your business.
According to CrowdAnalytix, community analytics experts, social media is an opportunity to listen to the conversation about your business not just broadcasting updates like many small to mid-size business do. According to a study done of a segment of its customers, CompTIA, found that 68% of small businesses are using social media to blast out offers when in reality they should be marketing 20% of the time and engaging in customer conversation the other 80%.
Social media expert Laura Roeder urges businesses not to rush their number of followers and likes. Roeder says her tipping point came after achieving 1,000 real, live, interested Twitter followers that then grew into 16,000 over the course of four years. No one is an overnight sensation if they’re truly building relationships with people. Remember social media is about being – well, social.
Michael Brenner, author of B2B Marketing Insider, offers these guidelines to keep your etiquette in check and not look like a self-serving pig on Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, or You Tube.
- Tell your customers stories about what you can dofor them. Warning: Don’t try to be too slick because it could backfire on your like it did with McDonald’s when they created a Twitter hashtag for #McDStories.
- Translate your content into something meaningful and emotional to create conversations that connect with people.
- The goal of social media is still to support your business by getting and keeping customers.
- Social media is a platform for change. You have to change your approach to marketing along with it.
Now let’s end with some basic dos and don’ts from J. Mattern of Search and Social Blog. We wouldn’t want you getting a bad rap in 2012 for sticking your mouse in your mouth.
- Don’t spam, period.
- Don’t keep everything private. If that’s your game stick to email or IM.
- Don’t create multiple handles to sling your weight. Multiple identities are fine for multiple businesses, but using many handles to pull weight is a no no.
- Think before you speak. Not everything that pops into your head should be shared.
- Personalize your messages when you meet someone new. Explain how you found them. It makes it less creepy.
- Expand your circles. If the people and customers you’re talking with are only the happy, agreeable ones, you’re working in a box.
- Don’t send automated messages to new followers. It’s annoying.
- Use your real name. It holds you accountable.
- Don’t excessively link to your own site. You’ll be eventually looked upon as a sleazy link spammer.
- Give back. It’s a two-way street. Give as much as you get, if not more.
Remember it is never more important in social media to remember – you get what you give. Create value for your followers and in the world of social media that value is not just dollars off promotions.