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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Austin

Social Media Marketing Pitfalls to Avoid

Social media marketing is about connecting with your audience. You want your clients, customers and prospects to see your organization as a friend who gets them, circulating information that’s relevant to them.

Your goal is to make your followers enjoy having you in their networks, because you enhance their feeds with insider lowdown, useful information and juicy updates. You want your audience to see you nailing this - using social media as an extension of your professional prowess.

The key is being a savvy and deft practitioner, which means understanding how to do this well, and also knowing what to avoid.

Don’t half-heart it:

In The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda famously advises: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” This wisdom is relevant in life and in social media marketing. Enacting a skillful social media marketing presence is about being relevant, current and up-to-date. It means making a commitment to tending the social media persona you cultivate.

If you take the initiative to engage in social media marketing, that means sending out regular posts, checking your social media accounts to see what your followers need and responding accordingly. If you don’t have the time to tend to this, hire a social media marketing manager to do so.

Social media marketing only works when you create a routine and reliable presence. “There is no try.”

Respect the form:

Social media seems light-hearted, casual and fun. It can be all of those, but when you’re using it to market your business, you have to treat it like the powerful marketing tool it is. Don’t take it lightly -don’t dabble. It’s a mistake to underestimate it.

Strategize, plan, then roll out. Be meticulous and mindful, and get expert guidance along the way. Think about the time you spent building your brand. Your social media presence is a multi-dimensional expression of that brand. Build your presence with the same care, diligence and adhere to form.

Don’t masquerade:

Your business’s brand and social media persona should capture who you are and what you know. Your content should reflect your expertise, your visions and your values. You want to engage your clients, customers and prospects from a sincere place.

Work with your social media marketing manager to develop content that is true to you. Your audience doesn’t need you to be younger, hipper or more tech savvy than you are. Know yourself. Know your audience.

Think about the clients and customers with whom you interact every day. What do they need? What do they ask? How do you help them? Use the voice with which you talk with them to generate the content that you develop. Use the questions you most commonly field, for example, to write compelling blog posts. Nerd down on the industry events and conventions that you attend annually, and share pictures and updates with your followers.

Use this technology to loudly champion the work you do and the industry you love. Show your followers why carpentry is awesome, home care rocks or real estate is making waves! That’s why they follow you.

Don’t give up:

The ROI on social media marketing efforts are hard to measure, but don’t give up just because qualifying success can be elusive. Social media is where your clients and customers are shopping, researching and recreating. It benefits your business to hone a presence there.

This is particularly interesting as it relates to Gen Z, those commonly recognized as younger than 22 years old. This cohort, our country’s next powerhouse generation, is slated to comprise nearly 40 percent of consumers by 2020.

Gen Z’s use social media deftly and regularly. In an article he wrote for Adweek, Josh Perlstein explains: “Gen Z uses different platforms for different activities. On Instagram, they showcase their aspirational selves; on Snapchat, they share real-life moments; on Twitter, they get the news; and on Facebook, they glean information . . .” Social media marketing is where you meet and cultivate your future support base. So even if it feels a bit outside your comfort zone, keep working it.

Don’t begrudge it:

Social media is all about connection. When it’s used well, it can be incredibly powerful. Connect. Reach out. Enjoy the opportunities social media presents. It’s an exciting way of interacting with audiences in your neighborhood and around the world.

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