People have turned to the social web in their droves to market themselves and their companies. The very medium that people are using to connect and sell their services also provides all the information, advice, guidance and tips needed to do this properly. Even though this information is readily available online, people still resort to tactics that do not work. Here are the top four things I have identified.
1. No research conducted
If you plan to use the social web to engage and interact with new and existing clients, spend time finding out where they are first. All too often companies use platforms that are not frequented by their target clients. Conduct surveys or acquire research to identify their platforms of preference. You should also consider influencers and brand advocates. Even though your clients may not use a particular platform, people who influence them may do so.
2. Too much selling and no interaction
According to Wikipedia, “social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks”. If you look at this definition, the word “selling” does not feature, but the words “create”, “share” and “exchange of information” are mentioned. Wikipedia defines marketing as “the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the PURPOSE of selling the product or service”. The first definition does not mention selling and the second definition mentions selling as a by-product, so if companies practiced “social media marketing” properly, information relating to their product, goods or service will be shared amongst their social media communities, and in time, their clients will make a “buying decision”.
3. Too much focus on quantity and not enough on quality
Whatever platform you are participating on, concentrate on the quality of the conversations and interaction rather than the number of subscribers, connections, followers, friends, shares, likes and retweets. The other consideration is the quality of the people you are interacting with. Are they potential or existing clients, influencers and advocates? If you are having quality interaction with the quality people, the quantity will come of its own accord.
4. Too much attention on yourself
The biggest mistake companies make is to initiate engagement by talking about themselves and their products, services and solutions. Take the time to understand the markets and industries you work in and their challenges and talk more about that instead. Anything relating to your company and what you do should always be secondary. If you create, share and interact around relevant content, the propensity for your communities to interact will increase substantially.
To summarise, find out where your clients are first, communicate with them on their platforms of process, understand the definition of social media marketing and develop your strategy accordingly and talk to your clients about their industries and business challenges.
I have only listed four things which people marketing to other businesses get wrong on the social web. What would you add?