5 Mistakes Business Owners Make with Social Networking and How to Avoid Them

It’s all the rage. People the world over have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and other social networks. So it stands to reason that business owners too are flocking to these sites in search of free advertising and a way to reach large numbers of people with their marketing message. But most every business is making the same old mistakes that have given them a bad name ever since the online world came into existence.

If your business is making any of these mistakes, stop it because it’s costing you more than a few lost sales – it could well be damaging your company’s reputation!

Here are the top 5 social media marketing mistakes and ways to avoid them too!

Mistake #1: Missing the Point of “Social”

People come to social networks and the chat rooms and usenet groups that preceded them NOT to be marketed and sold, but to SOCIALIZE, meet new people, make new friends, and maybe even learn something new.

So when a business plows into any social network and leads off with a full-power marketing message, users tune out. As in all things, it’s better to build a relationship before you make your sales pitch.

Worse, when a business leads off any relationship on a social networking web site with advertising, they will lose friends and followers, and those that remain will likely tune out future messages.

This is by far the biggest complaint you’ll hear from those who love social networking web sites. As a business, you’ve got to first build relationships, then provide value, and literally allow your friends and followers to ask you about what you have for sale.

While it sounds like this would never work in the real world, you’d be surprised to find out just how powerful and how effective it can be to sell to people who really do consider your business to be a friend.

Mistake #2:  Not correctly setting up their profiles

Have you ever been asked to be a “friend” or to follow somebody on a social web site and when you go have a look at their profile, there’s no photo, no information, and few people are even following them?

This is a key point for you as a business owner, especially in today’s market where “hiding behind your e-mail” just doesn’t cut it.

Your customers want to know all they can about you, about your company, and about the products you offer. They will get very jittery when the basic information they would expect to find on your social networking profile is nowhere to be found.

Mistake #3: No Activity/Postings

What have you been up to? What’s new with your business? There are literally thousands of things you could be posting to your social networking pages, so why then do so many businesses fail to have any meaningful postings on their pages?

When I see this, I wonder why they even want to connect with me in the first place. The lack of updates or posts in their account suggests to me that they are not in this game to socialize. Maybe they just want to connect with me so that they can send me their marketing messages, yet provide nothing of real value in return.

In any event, I rarely, if ever, connect with any person or business that does not show signs of actually using their social networking account!

Mistake #4: Talking Over People Instead of To Them

You want people to respect you. In fact, you demand respect if you’re going to give your attention to anybody. Why would it be any different for those in your social network? It’s not. Yet far too many businesses simply use “drip marketing” and “broadcast marketing” techniques that are downright disrespectful to those they are hoping to do business with!

No, you don’t “drip” on people, you engage them, encourage them, motivate them, and inspire them to do business with you. This is the stuff great businesses are made of, and it’s also why some people have tens of thousands of friends while most others have very few.

Mistake #5: All Sell, No Value

In the early days of e-mail, a very common question was “how often can you send a sales letter to your mailing list?” The answer was illustrative. The thinking back then was that you could send out one sales piece for every 3 content pieces you’d send to your list, and nobody would really mind.

The same idea holds true in social networking. Give your followers real content, give them real value, and they won’t mind what you send them a promotional message now and again.

This is the best strategy I know of for creating a following of hungry buyers. It just won’t happen when all you can do is send one sales letter after another to the very people who make it possible for you to live the kind of life you want to live. Think about it.

Now get out there and make the most of your social marketing efforts!

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