Opinion | Social media pitfalls to avoid | Craig Wilson

I am a big fan of social media and use it heavily to market my business and my clients’ businesses. In fact, my use of Twitter contributed significantly to the growth of my agency in the early days.

Social media marketing is essential in this day and age for any business to connect to current and potential customers. Properly engaging on several social networks should definitely be part of your marketing plan.

However, it is easy to fall into the trap of focusing too much on social media. Yes, it is important and can be extremely valuable to your business, but it should also been seen as merely part of your overall marketing strategy.

Here are two common mistakes to avoid:

Expecting social media to generate revenue.

There are many stories of failed businesses that went under while they were working on getting their sales from social media marketing. Don’t get me wrong: social media can be a highly effective marketing weapon. But the truth is that very few businesses generate a lot of revenue directly from social media.

Your social media efforts should be aimed at building awareness, a strong following and a thought leadership position in your industry. Think of it as a constant PR machine, steadily building profile.

Yes, it can, and hopefully will, result in enquiries and sales for your business, but don’t set out to sell directly on your social networks.

Spending too much time posting and monitoring.

The constant flow of content and dynamic nature of social media means that it can very easily become a huge time suck for business owners or marketing managers. Social media can be very seductive. Before you know it several hours of your day can be consumed and that is a big mistake.

Treat social media in the right context; it’s not a magic solution to your revenue woes, it is merely another marketing channel.

I recommend batching your social media work so that you spend no more than 30 minutes a day posting, reviewing and replying. Consider scheduling a series of posts early in the week using a tool like ‘Buffer’, allowing you to set and automate the release of posts for the next week.

Limiting your time posting and monitoring will force you to be efficient and also leave enough time for you to work on the other crucial marketing areas.

Craig Wilson is managing director of  digital agency Sticky and co-founder of DiG Festival.

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