Social media platforms fascinated me from the very beginning. After reaching a certain level of comfort in using them, I realized they carried mammoth potential in terms of advertising, customer engagement and of course making money. Though I got much of the bigger picture right, it was only after making gigantic number of mistakes that I really understood how to use powerful platforms like Facebook and Twitter to derive real business.
I spent considerable about of money and time on social media activities that I thought would reap dividends but actually didn’t. The few times they really did, results were minuscule enough to baffle instead of comfort.
I started the social journey in my academic life and the gathered insights are greatly helping as I make a living in the field of web.
So, here I am sharing social media lessons I learned by firsthand experience:
1. Don’t Aim for Quantity, Go for Quality
Having an army of followers on Twitter and Facebook means nothing if they don’t start conversations and spread the message around. Having 20,000 Facebook fans looks good and sometimes even impresses a random visitor but they are not really ‘talking’, then, the big chunk is good for nothing. Two hundred fans that look forward to updates, share news, like pictures and give feedback are better than the 20,000 mute ones.
Lesson: Don’t engage in buying fans or followers.
2. Social Media Success Comes with Planning
Every social media fanatic knows its potential but not everyone knows how to tap it. Posting a discount offer in your Facebook feed or announcing a new addition in the product line with a Twitter product image seems a reasonable thing to do but doing it ‘lamely’ reduces its impact.
After years of researching, tracking and running social media campaigns, I have learned that a successful social campaign asks for rigorous planning. Timing, tone, pitch, offer, copy, visual cues and various other elements together make a viral post.
Lesson: Plan before you do!
3. Every Platform is Different and Must be Treated so
Facebook is different from Twitter; Twitter is different from Pinterest.
It seems quite obvious, and I felt quite stupid to write it down but I felt inclined to mention as some businesses use the same tactics to deal with multiple platforms. Facebook offers good scope for images, text and mixture of both. Twitter on the other hand comes with its share of 140 character limitation but still packs a strong punch. With the latest Vine addition, Twitter has posed another challenge in front of marketers. Let’s see how they capitalize on it.
Lesson: Give separate attention to every social medium you are active on.
4. Don’t overdo it
I think the rule applies in every strata of life, be it personal or professional. Flooding Facebook walls or tweeting too much could make fans and followers indifferent to the updates. In chronic cases, one also risks losing the following of otherwise loyal customers. Hence, a brand or an individual needs to be careful about the number of times he communicates with social groups.
Lesson: Moderation is key.
5. Don’t be boring
Nobody likes boring; nobody shares boring; nobody gives attention to boring.
Of course unless you are giving something for free!
For a brand, being unexciting on social media could be the terribly damaging. While established global brands can get away with being dull, small businesses that wish to channel the power of social media can in no way afford that. I myself struggled with the ‘boring’ curse during my initial social media campaigns but as time passed, I understood the unrecorded rules.
Reading helped a lot. A post on Mashable taught me to intertwine real events with my social media pitch to make it more relatable. However, it needs to be done with great thought, and I helped many of my friends to do the same.
Lesson: Be interesting!
6. Bring in Your Website
This is something I learnt quite recently.
With all their power and influence, social media platforms have their limitations, and sometimes are not able to accommodate the vision & creative flow of the business. Here, official website can be used to accomplish the goal. While social media platforms can be used to publicize a discount, one can set up the ‘redeem’ machinery on website itself.
There is no dearth of businesses that accomplish the conversion goal through social platforms only, but website can bring exciting ecommerce possibilities with it.
Lesson: In case you don’t have a website, owning one to gain more torque from social media platforms can be a smart idea.
Social media comes with umpteen possibilities and there is always more to learn.
I believe mere learning from one’s mistakes is not enough; sharing the acquired wisdom so that others benefit from it is also equally important. I have been keeping an eye on social media for the past five years but still think there is plenty more that requires careful observation.
So, these were the social media lessons I learnt firsthand. Do share your personal social media experiences to further enrich the list.
Image by FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
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The game of figuring out how to utilize the different platforms is definitely a challenge! But these ideas of how to utilize social media are definitely helpful. I think the key is putting everything together so that it all works together in a good rhythm. The message is in some ways the same, but the method has to change to fit the medium.
I am in the middle of this very process.Thanks