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7 Social Media Marketing Mistakes SMBs Should Avoid in 2013

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Social media is a powerful marketing tool in the right hands, but it’s not a marketing platform, and making mistakes while using it for business purposes is easy. If you are a small business owner looking for some good advice on how to properly use social media platforms, try to avoid the following social media marketing mistakes.

1.    Focusing your efforts on getting more Facebook likes.

The fact is that few Facebook users ever return to a brand page after they’ve liked it. Likes bring reputation and traffic, but they don’t (always) bring sales.

2.    Using social media just because your competitors do it.

Social media marketing requires work and commitment to work. Today, when everyone and their grandmother are using Facebook and Twitter and WordPress, it’s easy to do social media marketing, but without a plan and dedication you won’t achieve enough to justify the time you invest in it.

3.    Writing too much content about others in your industry.

One of the most popular social media marketing rules says that you shouldn’t speak only about yourself. Some SMBs interpret this rule radically and write nothing about themselves, only content about third parties. With this approach nobody will reproach you for being a braggart, but nobody will buy your unknown product either.

4.    Demanding too much engagement.

Urging your fans or followers to like or share every update you post gives the impression that you’re asking for a favor. It could even become annoying and will soon become ineffective, too. Drive engagement by choosing enticing pictures and writing compelling headlines.

5.    Replying too slowly to customer questions.

Most SMBs using social media know that it’s good to try to provide customer support directly through Facebook or their corporate blog, but few do it fast enough. Social media users expect replies within minutes, or one or two hours at most. There’s no good replying days later. For this reason it might be necessary to assign one member form the IT staff to monitor and answer questions as soon as they appear.

6.    Focusing on the wrong network.

While Facebook and Twitter tend to work for all kinds of businesses, sites like LinkedIn, YouTube, Yelp, Pinterest, or Instagram tend to suit some businesses more than others. For example, because it’s so visual, Pinterest is a more effective marketing tool for a women’s hair salon or fashion shop than it is for a computer repair service or translations firm.

7.    Ignoring review sites.

Websites like Yelp or TripAdvisor that feature reviews and can be conveniently accessed on-the-go through mobile devices can sometimes help a growing local business more than Facebook or Twitter, where the competition is tough, and where the focus is on engagement and brand culture, rather than on description/location/contact.

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