There have been many cases where companies have used social media the wrong way and have paid dearly.  If you have your own business, you know how much work you have put into your company.  The last thing you want is all of your hard work – both marketing and promotional – to go down the drain because of a costly social media blunder.

To use social media properly, you need to have targeted content.  Even more importantly, you need to know your audience.


Wrong Audience

The first thing to understand is that getting lots of clicks and comments does not translate into business for you.  What kind of people are you pulling in through your social media content?  Why would you have a picture of a Hollywood star if your business deals with accounting?  Yes, you’ll get a lot of clicks from people following their favorite teen idol or star, but once they realize they have been pulled into an accounting page your ‘new audience’ will be history.


Social Ad Spending

Putting ads on Facebook costs money.  You don’t your money to be wasted, so your ads should be directed towards your target audience.  Ask yourself what the best way to spend your advertising budget is.  Do you want teen idol fans or do you want people who are interested in your accounting business and have a genuine accounting need?  Build you audience carefully.  A small, loyal audience is better than a quick flash in the pan.


Misleading Metrics

Likes and retweets do not necessarily increase sales and revenues.  Getting a lot of social media attention does not equal business success; it should be seen as a means or a tool.  Do not use these metrics as a business indicator.  Sure, you can pull in lots of people.  But at the end of the day, they are fleeting and have no interest in your company.

You may have great social media content.  Your content might be related to your company, but has more of an entertainment quality than a business or sales quality.  Your actual numbers will be hard to read and cipher because you have your true customers mixed in with people who were caught up in the excitement or attraction of your social media.


How to Avoid the Wrong Attention

When designing or planning your social media campaign, ask yourself what your goal is.  What are you trying to achieve?  If you are just trying to create an exciting buzz, try again.

Who do you want to reach?  Once you narrow down your target audience, ask yourself what would likely attract them.  Try to find what their needs are.  Don’t worry about being popular, but be concern with being useful.


Be Creative, but Careful

Think carefully before you go the social media campaign route.  Be purposeful and stay in control of what you are designing and implementing.  Be extremely careful not to attract negative attention to yourself.  Your ad money is precious – use it wisely!

How have you used social media content to boost your business?  Do you have any tips or comments?


Guest author Greg Smith works for a local marketing firm.  Right now, he is helping a client determine the best way to use social media to advertise, a site about drug rehab and addiction.  Since the topic is not very mainstream, they’ve had to do a lot of creative brainstorming.