In order for your blog to be popular, widely read, and—ultimately—profitable, you have to launch a social media marketing campaign. Not only are platforms like Facebook and Twitter free marketing outlets, they also represent a new paradigm of communication, one in which messages are sent instantly, and to a mass audience. It’s an environment that puts word of mouth on speed, getting news to millions of people in the blink of an eye.
Implemented correctly, social media marketing campaigns can boost your blog’s SEO rankings, attract more regular readers, and significantly increase your income generated by blogging. In the hands of an amateur, however, social media marketing campaigns can easily go horribly wrong and kill your blog and your blogging status faster than the speed of light. Not something to be taken lightly.
Here are some of the easiest ways to shoot yourself in the foot with social media marketing:
Let your campaign play unsupervised.
Think of your blog’s reputation as a little child with no sense of the dangers of the world. You tell your little naïve blog to go play outside and as soon as you nurture it out the door, you turn your back, close the door, and have a nice long bubble bath. Later, when you open the door again, your little blog’s reputation is gone, kidnapped and possibly murdered.
So maybe that metaphor is a little extreme, but the point should be clear: You can’t just leave your image unsupervised on the internet. Once you create a network, you have to be vigilant; any errors on your part will be magnified by the voices of a thousand naysayers if you don’t respond to what people are saying immediately. Even if the mistake is not your fault (think of Amazon’s recent GLBT scandal), you will be held accountable by your network—so watch your image like a hawk, and never let it play alone.
Take a week to formulate the perfect response.
Let’s say you post an entry to your blog that has some latent racist comments buried in it. They weren’t intentional, but somebody reads into it the wrong way, and angrily appeals to you for a response, a crowd with a rope waiting close behind (metaphorically speaking, of course). Would you make that mob wait as you crafted a response to your inadvertent racism, knowing that every second you don’t respond that crowd will grow larger, angrier, and more liable to betray you at any moment? No.
What you would do is put out a statement immediately, apologizing for the unintentional racism, and try your best to smooth it over. Then put out another statement, and another. If you forget an ‘e’ in deepest (as in, “my deepest apologies”) no one will care; if you forget to respond, however, people will not only care, they will probably abandon you and destroy your reputation.
Invent imaginary fans and proclaim your own genius.
Tempting as it is to create several Facebook or Twitter accounts and use those accounts to spread the word further about your blog, don’t do it. It will not work. It would be the equivalent of a robber walking up to your door with a wig, telling you that he was your toddler son. Your followers on the internet have a nose for phoniness like you wouldn’t believe, and will sniff you out like bloodhounds.
Yes, it is difficult to get the word out about your blog. It doesn’t happen overnight, and sometimes your popularity peaks and plateaus. But hard work will always yield better results than deception. Fake praise might spike your blog views initially, but once your readers detect the ruse, you’ll lose all your new readers plus many of your old ones. It’s just really not worth it.
End the campaign when you start to see some success. Or better yet, just end the campaign.
I’ve noticed an inexplicable trend in amateur marketers, where they stop as soon as they’re ahead. Yes, there is an adage that tells you to always stop while you’re ahead—that adage does not apply to social media marketing. Period.
If you’re running a race, you don’t slow down as soon as you’re out in front. You keep up the intensity all the way to finish. Only in this case (the social media marketing case) there is no finish. It’s a constant battle, but only if you see it that way. I recommend coming to understand your efforts for what they really are: a way to get to know and attract people. Stop treating your readers or customers like they are dispensable and really try to put out a message that will appeal to them. Build relationships. That’s what this whole social media marketing thing is about in the first place.
I hope that this short guide has helped you understand what not to do when running a social media marketing campaign. Building a following is a complex and dynamic thing that requires constant supervision, and immediate responses, as well as consistent, deliberate effort. And in case you didn’t catch on, the 4 titles in red were ironic :). Don’t do those things.
This guest post is contributed by Mariana Ashley, who is a freelance writer and particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 @gmail.com.