Although social media is being widely used to promote businesses, you should never forget that it is designed primarily to network with friends and peers. If you do decide to engage in social media marketing, be prepared to learn the rules and etiquette of the site unless you want to become a social outcast. Social media marketing experts suggest the following dos and don’ts to follow if you want to launch a successful marketing campaign on social networking sites.
- Familiarize yourself with the site before posting comments. Learn about the social culture of the community that you want to become a part of.
- Build trust and credibility. You cannot buy credibility; it has to be earned. To do this, join the conversation and establish yourself as a credible and trusted expert in your chosen field.
- Be human. A social networking site is a place where people can interact and connect. If you can connect to the community, you’ll find it easier to market your products and services.
- Provide original and interesting content to attract the right audience. The content should provide the opportunity to start a dialogue focused on your brand or product to give it media exposure.
- Socialize and be friendly. After all, it IS a social site. If you see something you like, vote on it. Leave helpful comments if you have something to say. Add friends and spend time on the social site. This is also a great way to establish credibility.
- Keep your social profile fresh and updated. Post comments, new information, blogs, photos, etc. Nobody wants to view a “dead” profile.
- Don’t promote yourself. Remember, this is a social site. That means no press releases or blatant marketing. While this may seem to run counter to your ultimate goal which is social media marketing, keep in mind that people will be alienated by overt advertising on a social site.
- Don’t spam. This type of submission will get you banned from the social site. If you send out a lot of messages about your site and products, users will see you as a spammer. Post other messages and leave comments on other users’ posts. Interact with them in meaningful ways. Don’t just send links to your site.
- Don’t forget you SEO efforts. Social media marketing should complement SEO. Optimize your site and use social networking to build links to your site.
- Don’t use software to add followers or fans to your lists. This is looked down upon and some platforms like Twitter do not allow certain uses of software.
- Don’t deceive or pretend to be something you are not. News travel fast in social networks, your deception would eventually haunt you in the long run which could lead to a tarnished or trashed reputation.