Social Marketing Leads. Don’t Make These Online Mistakes

Networking and marketing online through social media is catching on with a vengeance. Whether the goal is to attract customers, raise awareness, or personally market ones self, this relatively new approach means trial and error and miscues for many. Don’t let these mistakes sabotage your social marketing efforts.

Doing Nothing and Expecting Something

Like all marketing techniques, effectively utilizing social media requires effort. We all know and accept this for traditional marketing, but sometimes expect online methods to require less. To be effective, one must update information or communicate with key connections on a regular basis and stay visible, but not annoyingly so. Your credibility and following builds over time.

The “So What?” Factor

Whether you are developing personal networking leads, marketing an event, or building potential customer leads, members of a social networking site have to find what you have to say or show relevant to them. They will respond if they find what they see or hear interesting and want to know more. Both components have to work in harmony to create a viable customer or lead.

In a recent case study of the Discover Columbus social media campaign, Jennifer Laylock pointed out how YouTube videos for the campaign flopped on the “leave them wanting more” component:

The idea of the campaign “was to catch people’s attention in a different way, cause an eyebrow to raise or a chuckle to occur and then deliver the punch explaining why Columbus was a worthwhile destination…When the first video started playing, I had high hopes. When it was done playing, I was a little bit dumbstruck. For the life of me, I can’t fathom how that would make someone want to visit the Experience Columbus web site. They hit the ‘what we don’t have’ key perfectly (and with humor) but they never even tried to hit on the what we do have.”

The videos did not deliver on the campaign goal ? inciting viewers to visit the city or its Website.

Taking a Single-Pronged Approach

Jennifer goes on to point out that the campaign was touted as having a social media focus yet the YouTube videos were the only social media component of this campaign. She then makes some good suggestions for expanding the campaign to better integrate social media.

Sidebar: The case study also includes several insights into developing a fully integrated marketing campaign with offline, Website, and social media based elements. It is an informative read for anyone struggling with the relatively new world of social media.

The Wrong Connections

A multi-pronged approach does not mean trying to reach everyone on the planet. Some try to generate more leads or awareness by sending connection requests to everyone they’ve ever ? and never ? met. This is not only ineffective, if taken to extremes can also get you barred from many networking sites.

If you are an employee, remember that current and future employers can and will monitor your personal online networks. Before asking for or accepting an online connection from a casual contact or stranger, consider that anyone in the world may see that association. Targeting only certain types of people as contacts and screening connection requests for appropriateness can make all the difference in how employers and others perceive you.

If you represent a business, then a non-targeted approach can be perceived as spammy and turn off potential contacts. Also, just as with traditional marketing, considering anyone and everyone a potential customer is ineffective. Provide useful information and material your best customers would want and the right people will find you.

Online networking can reap high business or personal rewards. Go about it intelligently and social media can generate new business for years to come.