Words of Advice for the Social Media Marketer

If you’ve ever been to an amusement park, you’d know about that one ride almost everyone is waiting to try out. It’s hugely popular and can be immediately identified by the long line of people waiting in anticipation to get on it. Those who’ve had their turn will either love it or think it was okay, but not worth the hype it’s been generating. Very few will really hate it. They will generally put it down as a worthwhile experience, one that was educative, even if it didn’t pan out the way they’d imagined it.

Social media marketing enjoys similar attention these days. It’s impossible to talk about SEO or the online industry (or for that matter anything else) without this topic making a sneaky appearance. You may love it, you may hate it, but there’s no ignoring it. Sites like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest have become the byword in the marketing industry and few other things have excited online businessmen like the social media phenomena.

True to human nature, those who’ve tried social media marketing are always willing to part with valuable advice on what to do and what not to do. When marketers gather ‘pearls of wisdom’ and string together a social media marketing strategy that is very productive, we have a great strategy on our hands.

In this article, I make the attempt to go over a few common practices that have the potential of benefiting your social media campaign for the long run. Sounds good? If you don’t want to be successful, stay hooked all the way to the end of the article. It promises to be educational.

#1. Establish a Presence Almost Everywhere

The number of people who don’t take this seriously makes me believe that there seems to be a serious shortage of common sense in the world. There are many social network sites that are out there, but you should only go with the most popular. Let’s start with those:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Instagram

There are countless social networks for the taking, but if you’re hoping to be active on all of them, you’re going to end up dedicating many, many (exhausting) hours just managing your profiles—time you could spend doing something more constructive like, for instance, furthering the interest of your business.

The saner thing to do would be to take stock of your market, resources, and objectives, choose 3-4 social platforms that your audience is most active on, and use them dedicatedly. For instance, if your business deals with travel, interior designing, landscaping, or fashion, Pinterest would be a lot more useful as compared to LinkedIn. However, the latter makes for an invaluable resource if you are offering products and services for business professionals.

Spread yourself out thin over numerous platforms and you’re in danger of burning out really fast. To conserve time and energy, be selective about the medium you are using and you’ll be just fine. Trust me.

#2. Don’t Keep Posting Updates Tirelessly

Social media gurus will have you believe that inundating your hapless audience with a gazillion updates throughout the day is a good marketing strategy.

Posting a gazillion updates is not the same as high engagement. Flood social networks with inane banter and the only result you are going to see is your followers bailing out you, attempting to put as much distance as they possibly can between you and their profiles.

What makes matters worse is when you refuse to customize your posts according to the social network you are using. In case you haven’t noticed, every platform attracts a very specific fan following that sets the culture and tone of conversation. You cannot get away with having the same kind of content everywhere.

For instance, did you know that Tweeters prefer text based updates whereas ‘Facebookers’ are more engaged by image based posts.

What I am trying to say is that the cookie cutter approach doesn’t work here. It’s extremely important to tailor your posts according to your audience.

#3. Deal with Negativity

When it comes to handling negative comments on social media, the advice varies from the comical to the baffling to the downright bizarre. When reading through them, I can’t help but question the motives of these “so-called” experts who are ladling out wisdom to everyone so generously. If they are serious, we need to send them back to social media school for some basic lessons. If they aren’t, I can only dismiss them as pranksters who revel in mischief and mayhem.

Here are some generic bits of advice you can follow:

  1. Respond to negative comments:Don’t play the ostrich burying it’s head in the sand until the negativity blows over. Your audience might be able to forgive a genuine mistake, but they’ll have a hard time forgetting that you didn’t even care enough to address the concern they raised. This would be brand management suicide at its worst.
  1. Don’t respond to every last negative comment you receive: Do this and you’ll be doing little else all day long! As a businessman, it’s important to differentiate between people who are raising genuine concerns and trolls who are out to cause trouble or capitalize on your visibility. Choose your battles and fight the ones that are the most meaningful.
  1. Deleted post doesn’t means problem fixed: Don’t bank on the “out of sight, out of mind” adage. Deleting a post or a comment will not get you out of the hot water you’re stewing in. What has been read cannot be unread and what has been seen cannot be unseen. Besides, contrary to what people may think, the audience doesn’t always have a short memory span. Their ability to remember and hold a grudge will surprise you.
  1. Don’t disable commenting: Disabling comments is not going to stop people from saying what they have to about you. They will just do so on their own blogs or social media profiles where it will be a lot harder for you to mediate the discussion. Oh, and it also makes you look like a grumpy kid unwilling to deal with reality.

There is no one-size-fits-all policy I can recommend for handling negative comments, except one: keep it genuine. Remember, one comment is all it takes to make friends out of foes and supporters out of detractors. While I wouldn’t ask you to chase down every unflattering thing ever said about you, there’s no harm in admitting to the mistakes you’ve made and taking appropriate steps to rectify them. You’ll come across as someone who values feedback from a customer and cares enough to do something about it.

So what is the best social media marketing advice you’ve ever heard?

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