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Five Ways to Get Social Media Wrong (and How to Get It Right)

Cracking the social media code can be tricky for a small business owner used to a very different kind of advertising. If you’re just getting started with a social media strategy, knowing these five pitfalls and five best practices can help you step off on the right foot.

Mistake #1 – Diving Right In

Jumping into anything without a plan is dangerous. Diving into the social media waters without a strategy can be disastrous for your company. Even the big guys get it wrong sometimes – just look at what happened when McDonald’s tried to launch a #McDStories campaign on Twitter. The fast food giant encouraged people to share their McDonald’s memories – and regretted it very quickly when their paid-for promotion attracted posts like “I lost 50 lbs when I stopped working at and eating McDonalds #McDStories.”

Getting It Right

Create a comprehensive plan for attacking social media. Evaluate each platform and figure out the best ways to use it for your company – or if you should use it at all. Establish a social media policy that includes which employees will have control of and accountability for the accounts. The more you know about each platform, the easier it will be for you to recognize opportunities and avoid pitfalls on each.

Mistake #2 – Posting Too Often

One of the quickest ways to get unLiked on a social sharing platform is to post too often. Even if you’re sharing valuable information, people will start seeing your posts as spam.

Getting It Right

This can be tricky because the “right” number of posts depends so much on the kinds of posts you’re sharing. One way to avoid the “Oh, no, them again??” phenomenon is to vary the kind of posts you make. Liberally pepper your own promotional posts with shares from other companies and inspirational posts that fit your company brand.

Mistake #3 – Treating Social Media Like an Ad Network

Social sharing networks are ideal for establishing relationships and engaging with your customers. Too often, small business owners use them the same way they would an advertising platform. If you’re just using Twitter to advertise your business and Facebook to post your latest promotion, you risk becoming just so much background noise – or worse.

Getting It Right

Use your social media posts to engage your customers and potential customers in conversations. By all means, tweet that discount on carpet cleaning to your followers, but monitor Twitter (there are lots of apps that can help you with that) so you can respond when someone asks a question about getting a stain out of their white carpet. That kind of engagement will earn you followers and good will, and that will translate into more business for you in the long run.

Mistake #4 – Trying to Wrestle an Octopus

Engaging on multiple social platforms can be like trying to wrestle an octopus – way too many arms to keep them all under control, especially if you’re working on each one individually. Switching between Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Google+ to post and check analytics can rapidly become a full-time job.

Getting It Right

There are two solutions to the octopus problem. The first is to choose one or two platforms and concentrate your efforts there. The second is to take advantage of technology. Software like Hootsuite can help you manage multiple accounts and platforms, allowing you to access all of your analytics from one dashboard and making it easier to cross-post and engage different audiences with the same content.

Mistake #5 – Doing It All Yourself

Many business owners think they can save money by managing their social media presence on their own or in-house with a part-time employee. There’s so much to understand and learn when it comes to social media marketing that it’s easy to make big mistakes when you’re trying to manage it along with your regular job.

Getting It Right

If you don’t have the budget – or the work – to justify hiring a full-time social media specialist, your best strategy is to contract with a company that specializes in social media marketing. They’ll get your social media strategy right and ensure that you get the best exposure for your message.

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Web Linking: Link Bait in Social Marketing

Web linking using social marketing is one of the most effective ways of building links for your website. It is however not as easy as we all would like it to be.

One of the most effective ways of web linking on social media websites involves the use of link bait. This is content that is produced for the sole purpose of attracting other websites to link to your website. In many cases, the link bait is published on your own website. However, you can also include some of the content on social media websites to give it greater exposure.

Do not be mistaken and put up just any content on these websites and expect to get many links in a short time. Web linking using link bait is not a magic wand. It takes time, patience, and hard work to build links. The following are some of the characteristics of link bait that is successful on social media networks.

Many websites like to link to content on social media websites that is controversial or provocative. This content may be in the form of an article, an image, or video. This type of content is bound to get a lot of attention from those who use the social media website. However, it is important to ensure that the content is relevant to you and the websites you are targeting. They will otherwise not take notice of the content. You will also not be able to reach your target audience with irrelevant content.

People like to read, view, or watch funny content. Everybody likes to have a laugh. Posting funny content that is relevant to your website will therefore get you the links that you are looking for.
Prepare content that is sure to draw attention and evoke emotions in those who read, view, or watch it. This type of content is likely to be shared within the social media website. Websites will be willing to link to your website and share your content with their own target audience.

One of the fastest ways to achieve effective web linking using link bait on social marketing and media websites is by creating a competition. Many people like to win. Ensure that the competition is simple and is easy to enter. It should be tailored to suit your target audience. It should be relevant to the websites that you are hoping to get links from. They should feel that your competition will draw people to their own websites.