Advertising on Social Media

A few months ago I followed a local, Las Cruces business on Twitter to see what they had to say. After about three days of bombardment from their ads I deftly unfollowed them again. It was nothing personal, I like the business and I’m interested in what they sell, but I just didn’t want to be spammed.

But that’s what they were doing about every few minutes: “Come in and buy something from us” “We’re having a special, buy something” “Spend money here” “Buy, buy, buy!” and on and on.

This is the worst and most common error small businesses can make in digital marketing: they mistake social media for an advertising mechanism. It’s not.

Social media is a social mechanism. It enables personal, real-time conversations between people. If a business wants to enter the conversation then fine, but it needs to have something worthwhile to say.

In other words it needs to add value to the community, and it doesn’t do that through advertising. It does it by providing pictures, videos, articles and information potential customers may find valuable and entertaining. Otherwise people stop following them, unlike them, or in other ways leave them talking to themselves.

Does that mean businesses can’t use social media to market themselves or their products and services? Of course they can. But they need to do it correctly, meaning they need to engage the community, not shout at it.

Traditional advertising media is based on interrupting our conversations. Billboards interrupt our view, magazine and print ads interrupt our reading, and television commercials interrupt our program viewing.

In contrast, social media marketing is permission-based: people give businesses permission to reach out to them if they “like” the business’ Facebook page or follow them on Twitter. But people expect something in return for giving businesses that permission. They expect some type of content that makes it worth their while, and that content is not a steady stream of advertisements.

Businesses can give their social media followers discounts or deals, tips or tricks, or they can share quality information that people might not otherwise see elsewhere. In other words, businesses need to make it valuable to follow or like them.

And for doing this businesses gain the opportunity to put their name, their brand, their services and products in front of our eyes on a daily basis. We might not buy something from them immediately, but when people need whatever it is they sell, that business is at the forefront of their minds when they decide to purchase.

Social media marketing has emerged as one of the most powerful mechanisms in a small business’ arsenal to increase revenue, but it has to be done correctly or the initiative will utterly fail.

Remember: don’t advertise, engage!

Word One Consulting
clint @
2263 S. Main
Las Cruces, NM 88005