In the world of stock investing, there’s something called as “irrational exuberance”—a term coined by Benjamin Graham, author of The Intelligent Investor. He refers to the madness you see on stock markets as people trade mindlessly; it’s not too different from gambling.
You don’t trade that way. Well, who’s in the mood to listen, right?
Social media is something like that. Although there’s good advice out there, no one is paying attention.
Everyone is busy getting “busy” on social media. According to Jay Baer of Convince and Convert, about 76% of Facebook users post updates regularly. Facebook influenced 47% of Americans with regards to their purchasing behavior. Over 12 million Americans use social networks several times daily.
However, social media isn’t going to get you sales. It’s not for you to pitch, hustle, and spend all your time trying to build leads.
Social media IS NOT a marketplace. Even seasoned marketers and savvy business owners just don’t get it. Here are some huge faux pas you are likely to be committing on social media:
Big isn’t always better (for you)
You need to dig statistics. You can’t continue helplessly gawking at the hundred different “insights” about your social media provided by the various networks, and how these numbers and timelines grow over time.
Stats are nice to know.
Consider platitudes like:
“Social media is big.”
“Social media is where you ought to be.”
“Let’s be social!”
These don’t really help businesses. While the enthusiasm is appreciated, you aren’t doing this right. Social media is big and there’s no denying that. Your social networks could be sending you traffic, help convert your goals, and generate leads perhaps.
But it may not be the best medium for you. Yet.
Email marketing could be it! Econsultancy’s Email Marketing Industry Census makes a good case: Revenue from email alone has increased 28% in a single year from 2013 to 2014 for companies in the survey. More than 68% of the companies rated email as the best ROI generator for them by attributing 23% of their total sales from email alone.
Yet, the focus isn’t always on email because it’s unsexy, unglamorous, and old. Everyone likes “new” and “big” helps.
You are looking in the wrong direction. Social media isn’t everything; it’s a part of digital marketing mix.
You are madly in love with social. You can’t see its faults.
You know how it is when we fall in love, right? You don’t see the potential difficulties you are likely to have going forward. What (or who) seems cute today will turn out to be sore tomorrow.
Most people (especially marketers and business owners) are in love with social media. That’s fine, but you aren’t seeing the problems and glitches as they arise.
Facebook, for instance, is slowly pushing you into the “paid” and “this is going to be super-saturated one day” world of advertising. According to Kevan Lee of Buffer, organic reach has already declined to negligible.
Kevan’s tip: Don’t care so much.
Then, there’s “shelf-life.” Pamela Vaughan wrote on HubSpot that a link on Twitter has a half-life of 2.8 hours. That link will survive on Facebook for 3.2 hours. On YouTube, a link lives up to 7.4 hours. On an average, social updates live just for about 3 hours each.
You seriously want to depend on these short-lived updates alone?
Time and focus go for a toss
Either you spend too much time on social, or you barely manage to update once a week. Both those approaches are bad.
There’s a reason why tools like Buffer and HootSuite exist. Set up the updates scheduled to go live in the future and only login to do some real engagement.
Assuming you get the “time” part of it right and manage to squeeze out every hour, there’s another issue with social: focus.
Answer these questions:
- What are you on social media for?
- What was supposed to be the outcome of the 300 or so updates you made in the whole of last month?
Without answering these questions, you are not running a business. You are just lounging about in a virtual stronghold of people.
Look to other brands in your industry for inspiration, trends and choice of appropriate social networks to be on. For instance, IM Creator is a simple and free DIY website builder. Check out how they do a great job on Pinterest, where they post free template ideas, amazing sites that their users have built, and product videos, amongst other things of interest to their audience:
With tools like Snip.ly available for setting up a specific call to action for every update you make, the question is this: Why don’t you have focus?
Put up every update for a reason. Every engagement has to have motive and direction. All time spent on social should have a payoff.
Which leads us to…
It’s not always about money
Any talk of Social Media “Marketing” leads you to believe that there’s cash at the end of the update. It’s not there all the time. It might come in sometimes, but the new media isn’t for that.
Social media introduces you to people. It helps you “build a tribe,” as Seth Godin puts it. It opens up the doors for you to interact with anyone, anywhere, anytime. As a result, you’ll make friends, build relationships, find partners or vendors, recruit employees or contractors, and also get customers.
As to what comes when, no one really knows. So, the “ROI” you are looking for isn’t always revenue. The kind of ROI you get from social probably has no place on your financial statements (except for actual business earned).
It’s not straightforward.
It was never meant to be straightforward
One tweet here, a Facebook update there, a series of blog posts, and a downloaded report later, you might have a sale. Or you might earn yourself a raving fan. Randomly, you’ll hear people praising you. Or, scathingly criticizing you. Meanwhile, your content gets amplified. Traffic flows to your web properties. People talk. If they like you, they’ll take action.
There are multiple routes to your website (and to the sale). I could have first read about you in a print magazine, watched a YouTube video where someone talked about you a few days later, followed you on Pinterest the same day, and then contacted you using your fancy Ajax form after being amused by one of your updates.
The point is: stop doing anything that’s rigidly “defined and planned” with social media. You can, to an extent. But don’t sacrifice activity for structure.
What are some major mistakes you think people do on social media? Share your stories with us!