Originally Published May 25, 2017
Social media is a breeding ground for poor marketing because of its dynamic and sometimes unstable environment. Rules are rarely well-defined and they’re often subject to change, making it very challenging for users to determine what habits may or may not be appropriate.
While there is no specific or perfect guideline for effective social media marketing, there are some common practices that are considered to be no-nos. These bad habits can be detrimental to any business’s brand and can often be traced back as the source of diminished credibility as well as loss of interest or even blocking on the part of followers. Don’t forget that if your contacts unfriend or unfollow you, it impacts your company’s growth. Steer clear of these bad practices:
Although your audience wants you to be a resource, they don’t want to be constantly bombarded with your information on a daily basis. Over-posting on social media can cause followers to ignore your messaging or unfollow you altogether. To ensure your audience will stay fully engaged, learn what is appropriate to post daily, and how to post it. Some platforms are more favorable to posting less as opposed to more, so it is crucial to find a posting rhythm that is conducive to the platform, while still being a fit for your audience’s needs. For example, Facebook’s recommended amount for posting is once or twice a day, while Twitter users are encouraged to tweet at least eight or more times a day. So you can use Facebook to post a morning and afternoon summary of the day, whereas you could use Twitter to have more current and frequent posts throughout the day.
Tagging or adding others without getting permission
Tagging or adding someone to a post, group or page unknowingly is a bad idea. Although your intent is to garner attention and interaction, you are actually being quite the annoyance. It often makes the user feel pressured into engaging, which can lead to feelings of resentment and reluctance. To ensure that your audience will be fully aware and make a conscious effort to participate, ask them for permission first before you tag them to your post, group or page. This is a perfect way to establish an authentic connection and have a high level of engagement in your groups. If users suddenly appear in a group or are tagged without their knowledge, they will be reluctant to interact. However, you can facilitate the process by informing users about the benefits of joining your group or receiving the information you provide. That way, you encourage more productive and trusting interactions.
Making your initial engagement an opportunity to sell
No one wants to be sold to. Moreover, they want to be informed consumers who are empowered to make purchases without a lot of prodding. So when making initial contact, resist the urge to get into overt sales discussions. It is just a waste of your marketing efforts to initially push and push for the sale, which can be a deterrent in building a long-lasting business relationship. To ensure that you build a proper rapport with prospects, try making connections to your target markets, if not directly, then indirectly through messaging and branding. That way, you can be a resource and not just a retailer. Make sure your preliminary contact involves a line of questioning that involves more about getting to know prospects and their business, so that you can properly assess their needs.
Sherron Washington is a marketing strategist, author, speaker and CEO of the P3 Solution, a full-service marketing and communications firm that specializes in providing simple strategy, design, and social media marketing solutions for small businesses, non-profit organizations, associations, and entrepreneurs. She has built her firm around the principle of “marketing simple,” which instruct clients to embrace simplified methods to promote their business.