Are Your Online Marketing Efforts Taking You in Circles?

by Michelle Salater on January 27, 2011


Are you continuously trying to jump on the technology bandwagon by attempting to use every social media platform available, only to find yourself going in circles with no solid results? I know exactly why, and I’m confident I can help you find your way to success as the crow flies.

To understand why you shouldn’t use every social media platform available, you must first understand the nature of social media and how it functions. Below are three cardinal rules you must abide by if you wish to see any tangible results using social media:

1. Be active: Social media networks, by nature, thrive on constant real-time communication. If you’re only going to be present for 15 minutes at 8:30 a.m. on every weekday, then you’re not using social media correctly and will never see the results that other successful businesses see.

2. Speak with individuals, not at them: In other words, engage people online. Talking to prospects and not with prospects is not considered a reciprocal relationship. In order for both parties to benefit from the conversation, there needs to be interest in the subject and interaction on both ends.

3. Express an accurate brand image: Portraying an accurate brand image on social media platforms is something that takes time and a great deal of thought. It’s a skill to be able to portray your brand image in a way that connects with prospects and enables them to develop an accurate perception about your brand. Not to mention, a brand image isn’t developed overnight. It is something that grows and develops based on experiences your customers receive and the connection customers have to your brand story.

Can you estimate how much time all three of the above cardinal rules would take you to implement on a constant basis on one social media site? Now think about how much time it would take if you were on three different social media platforms. Your efforts would be spread too thin and watered down. How can you see tangible results from thinned-out efforts? You can’t.

Businesses that see exceptional results on social media do not spread themselves thin. Either they have a team of social media marketers working around the clock for them, or they are focusing all of their online marketing efforts on one or two social media platforms. Big businesses are able to hire a social media marketing branch to ensure that they’re engaging with customers and addressing their concerns, questions, and comments. Companies also use these platforms to perform consumer research and observe purchasing influencers and behaviors. The only reason these businesses see success in their efforts is because they abide by the above cardinal rules and aren’t watering down their efforts.

For small business owners, performing effectively on social media can be a challenge. If you don’t have the time to hire an intern or don’t have the money to hire a marketing professional, the best thing you can do to ensure social media marketing success is to focus on one or two specific social networking platforms. Constantly interact on these platforms and learn the ins and outs of the site. Analyze what works and what doesn’t, and stay up-to-date on changes to the site’s features and interface.

Have a question about social media marketing? We’d love to help. Ask us in our comments section.


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  • Tess C Taylor

    Excellent advice Michelle!

    There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to go in ten different directions when doing anything business related, and marketing is no exception. I agree that it’s best to focus on the activities that count the most and reach the right people instead of running around in circles and losing it. Thanks for making it so crystal clear in this post!

  • webcopywriter

    Tess, I’m glad you found the advice in this post beneficial. Nothing is more stressful than chasing your tail in circles on social media! Sometimes I have to stand back and prevent myself from spreading myself too thin. It’s something we all do but need to be aware of.

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  • Sal Vilardo

    “2. Speak with individuals, not at them: In other words, engage people online. Talking to prospects and not with prospects is not considered a reciprocal relationship. In order for both parties to benefit from the conversation, there needs to be interest in the subject and interaction on both ends.”

    Right on!

    That is why they call it “Social.” Relationships are key for small businesses. No longer will the cold contact pages work. People want to connect with [gasp] other people. And to top it all off, how are you going to know what problems you can solve for your customer if you never dialog with them. After all, listening is great, but then you only get half the equation. The rest comes from asking questions, then listening more…

  • Michelle Salater

    Sal, exactly! I think there are some small business owners who don’t realize that they may be speaking at their prospects–an ineffective way of socializing. When there’s only a one way conversation happening, there is no “relationship.” In order to be successful, you need to have two way conversations with your prospects and clients.

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