It’s too easy to get excited about social media traffic. After all, Facebook and Twitter are all over the news. It’s too easy to put one and one together regarding the viral nature of stuff shared on Facebook and Twitter and making money. It’s too easy to think that just because you have a lot of friends on Twitter and Facebook that all you need to do is send out some links and people will click and you will make cold hard cash. While it’s possible to make a small trickle of cash by simply spamming the hell out of social media, if you really want to unlock the goldmine that social media is you really have to avoid seven common practices that would-be social media millionaires commit day-after-day. These people spend a lot of money on software. Some of them spend money on specialized training. Others spend a lot money in the form of time researching all sorts of social media marketing techniques. Still, they all end up with very little to show for all their efforts. They spend all that time, effort and most importantly, emotional energy trying to make money off social media and they end up with squat. If you don’t want to join the army of people that have tried to make money off social media and have failed miserably, avoid all seven social media failures listed below. If you avoid all of these social media bad practices, you dramatically increase your chances of making real money from social media.
Reason 1: If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail
You have to have a solid plan when you try to market on social media. You can’t just go on Facebook and start spamming people. You can’t just go on Twitter and just post all sorts of garbage and expect people to think you’re an expert. It doesn’t work that way. You have to remember that social media is powerful only because it helps everyday-people like you build authority. Why is authority important? When you become an authority, you have influence. When you have influence, people think you’re credible. When people think you’re credible, people will trust you. When people trust you, people will more likely want to buy from you. Unfortunately, people who try to make money off social media, try to start the game at the buying stage. They forgot that for people to buy from them, all these other steps have to be taken. For people to buy from them, they need to go through these earlier stages. You have to have a plan to go through these stages. You have to have a plan to successfully make these stages work for you. If you don’t have a clear strategy, it’s not going to work. So if you just started in social media, sit down and work backwards from your objective. It’s easy to understand that people want to make money, so let’s put that at the beginning. Let’s work backwards so the end result is there’s a cold hard cash in my hands. Okay, now, work backwards. What needs to happen so you can get paid? Once you have that figured out, figure out the stage before that and so on and so forth. All throughout this planning process, focus on how you can build authority, how you can build expertise, how you can build credibility, how you can build trust. After all is set and done, trust is the lifeblood of the internet. Without trust, people are not going to buy from you. That is the bottom line.
Reason 2: Neglecting Branding
There are many ways to describe branding. My particular approach of branding is something similar to a car battery. With a car battery, you charge it for quite some time and then after a while you no longer need to charge it. When you plug in devices or a power strip and an inverter to a car battery, your car battery will power all sorts of devices for quite some time. In the same way, a brand is an asset that you build up with lots of awareness raising and marketing. Eventually, it reaches a point where even after you’ve stopped actively marketing your products or services, your brand still continues to influence people to buy your products and services. You cannot neglect the reality of branding in social media. Unfortunately, people who fail at social media marketing confused branding with having a nice logo. People who fail at social media marketing confused branding with a nice looking website. While those are visual indications of your brand, they are not your brand. Your brand is the total value that you bring to the table. Your brand is the amount of added value you bring to the lives of people. That’s what your brand is. And if you don’t conduct yourself on social media in ways that build up your brand, you are basically running around in circles. You are basically just wasting a lot of time. Why? Sure, you might sell some stuff from time to time. But since you have no real brand, you have to basically build trust from scratch every single sale. This can get tiring. This can wear you out. At the end of the day, if you don’t work, you don’t eat. The great thing about a brand is that even if you stop working, it will continue to work for you. It is an asset. It’s not like a job where you don’t get paid if you don’t work. A brand is more like stocks or bonds that go up in value even if you don’t actively work. If you want to succeed, you must not neglect branding.
Reason 3: Spammy Messages
If you send out spam articles or spam messages on social media, you may be branding. You may be building a brand, believe it or not. However, it’s not a brand that you would want. What brand is that? The lowest quality brand on social media. A spammer. That’s the brand you’re building. In other words, people will think you’re a scumbag. People don’t like scumbags. They run away from them. They will think you’re untrustworthy. They think that you are sleazy. They think you’re basically a different shade of thief or a liar. If you want to be successful in social media, avoid spamming. Spamming may seem straightforward, but guess what, it has a broad definition. Spamming is not just about sending affiliate links to people getting them to buy stuff. That’s too obvious. Spam is also when you keep sending the same message over and over again in a desperate bid trying to get people to click your link. Sure, your link goes to an awesome article. Sure, your link might even go to a really high value blog post. But at the end of the day, if you’re annoying people by repeatedly publishing the same link trying to get people to click, you are spamming. Cut it out. Stop it. Your brand is suffering when you do that. In fact, the only brand that you will be building is the brand of a scumbag spammer. Not exactly the kind of brand you want.
Reason 4: Your Value is Unclear
People on the Internet have ADHD, seriously. I’m not talking about ADHD in negative terms or medical terms. Instead, I’m talking ADHD in terms of a coping mechanism. Let’s face it, if you are on Twitter, it feels like you’re trying to take a sip off a fire hydrant. It’s not going to happen. There’s just so much information being shared on Twitter that it’s easy to suffer from data overload. How do you manage this huge surge of information from the Internet? And we’re not just talking about Twitter. This also plays out on Facebook and Pinterest and blogs. How do you make heads or tail of all this data coming in? The number one coping mechanism that people have is to develop an internet form of ADHD. They scan everything and once they find something that disagreeable or turns them off or bores them, they click the back button. This form of internet ADHD is very powerful. Why? Because it’s a coping mechanism. It helps people adapt to the huge volume of content and information out there. Without this coping mechanism, people will go crazy because nobody has all the time in the world to sit through article after article and fully digest it. You have to confront this reality of internet ADHD by being very clear as to the value you’re adding to the life of the person viewing your content. If you don’t make it clear what you bring to the table within a few seconds, it’s game over. That person is going to click the back button and chances are that person will never return. The more you do this, the more your search engine traffic will suffer as well. Why? Bounce rate is a factor that search engines look at when it comes to ranking content. This is why it’s very important for you to be very clear as to what value you can add to the lives of your visitors as soon as they land on your page.
Reason 5: Ignores Relationship Building
Social media is as much about building a relationship with your audience as it is trying to get eyeballs on a link. Let’s face it, if you’re just trying to get eyeballs on a link, you’re going to have a tough time because you’re going to have to chase new traffic every single day. You’re going to have to make your case every single time. It’s much better to build relationships instead. Why? When people trust you, they don’t have their guard up. They don’t have to filter you as hard. And as a result, you will get more traffic because most people will instinctively click on the link of people they trust and people they find credible. Instead of having to chase after traffic every single day and earn traffic the hard way, it makes a lot of sense from return on investment or return on effort perspective to invest more time in building a relationship with your audience and just as importantly, influential people in your audience.
Reason 6: Your Avatar Is Inappropriate
Would you find a link posted by somebody who has a cartoon avatar? Would you find somebody whose avatar is a half-naked woman credible? The reality is that you might think your avatar is cute. You might think your avatar is edgy. What you think doesn’t really matter. What matter is what your target audience thinks. And if your avatar is completely irrelevant to the message that you are sending, you are really harming your brand. You are degrading the value of the content you’re trying to share. Why? Because you’re sending mix messages. On one hand, you’re trying to be serious and professional by sending expert content or credible content. On the other hand, your avatar is very distracting because it shows a woman in a bikini or a cartoon character. You have to make sure that your avatar is professional and fits what you’re trying to do. If you are an author, maybe a realistic cartoon profile will fly. However, if you are a service company and you have a Goofy cartoon as your avatar, it’s just not going to work. It undermines the seriousness and professionalism of your content.
Reason 7: Plain Company Images Won’t Cut It
If you think that you can gain a really loyal follower on social media with an avatar that it’s just your plain company logo, you might not be playing the social media marketing game in a very efficient way. There’s a tightrope when it comes to building relationship with an audience. On the one hand, you need to be professional. And on the other, you have to be personal enough so that they feel they know you enough. Why is this important? If people don’t feel that they really know you, they won’t give themselves the opportunity and the permission to like you. If they don’t like you, they will probably not trust you. If they don’t trust you, it’s a slam dunk that they won’t buy from you. Since the end goal of all people trying to use social marketing is to either sell something, build a mailing list or get ad clicks or otherwise get their audience members to do what they want them to do. It’s important for people to know you. You’re not letting people know you if your avatar is too corporate and distant.
If you want to succeed in social media, you have to wrap your mind around the seven most common reasons for social media marketing failures. Most of the people at social media have very little to show for all their effort and money. If you don’t want to join the vast army of failed social media marketers, make sure you commit none of the errors listed above. Screwing up on just one part may be enough to ensure that your social media marketing fails every single time.