In the old days of traditional mass media such as television and film, it was practically impossible for marketers to reach large numbers of people with a single message without spending thousands upon thousands of dollars. Social media’s huge impact on today’s marketing makes it much cheaper to reach customers. It is not always easier, but it is definitely cheaper.

Social media basically has the power to give you word of mouth on steroids – if you can do things right. This means not giving your customers a good product but also providing social media content that your followers will find interesting enough to share. People want to buy what their friends are buying so if you can motivate your followers to share your posts, you are halfway there.

Today’s consumer is empowered by social media and blogging to either make or break your brand by sharing their experiences. Marketing today does not involve a monologue. It is a dialogue. Companies must be prepared to listen to their customers as much as they speak to them. Otherwise a seemingly well-crafted social media marketing campaign can go to the dogs when people take time to share what they really think about the brand – and it is not pretty. A little humility goes a long way and often winning an argument comes at a great price.

Before riding the wave of a popular twitter hashtag, take time to read and find out exactly what it is about. Taken out of context, some things can be extremely offensive. Speaking of offense, unless your brand’s selling point is irreverence, don’t make any jokes about things like race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or disability. This is absolute no-no. The only exception is when you are making fun of yourself.

It may be tempting to put a nineteen year old in charge of social media because they are young, hip, and with it. This is not always the best idea! Sometimes a fairly seasoned PR professional is what you need. Remember, the mechanics of how facebook, instagram and twitter work can be learned in a short time. The maturity and professionalism of a seasoned PR professional cannot be learned in a week. This is a person who will be crafting messages on behalf of your entire company.

Create room at the table! Social media should not be an exclusive thing that only a select few employees use. Train your staff on how to use social media to promote your brand. Appoint many social media representatives – not just a few – and then let the social media professional run your organization’s handle. It is a huge responsibility for someone to speak on behalf of your brand on social media, so ensure that there is proper oversight in place, and that employees are trained on a regular basis on how to use it wisely. Well meaning staff can make honest, but costly mistakes.

Using social media for marketing means adopting a constant learning attitude. As people migrate from one platform to another, and as different social media platforms keep changing their rules, staying ahead will mean always learning.

Read More