Many businesses approach the social media networks the way they do print or television advertising. They just go in with an “advertising” frame of mind. They don’t realize that social networking is about addressing a human need for friendship, acceptance and sharing.

Not understanding that the social media are meant to help engage people (rather than help blast advertising at them) isn’t the main problem, either. Businesses aren’t taking the time to understand what the social networks are there for. When they don’t understand, they set themselves up for dozens of mistakes.

Here are 4 Social Media Marketing Tips for you to remember in 2015!

1) What happens when you venture into a social network that you don’t understand?

When it comes to stepping the wrong way on a social network that you don’t understand, there are a number of possibilities.

  • For whatever reason, the social media only work well when you try to share simple ideas. Offering your customers complicated thoughts, contests or other experiences tends to not work.
  • Sharing is supposed to be a two-way street. People who engage in the social networks expect businesses to be as giving as their friends. Many businesses attempt to create a little social buzz by asking their followers to send them videos and other content – for free. Mostly, such attempts fall flat because consumers get nothing in return for their efforts.

The basic rule with the social media, then, is that businesses should stay away from them for as long as they don’t actually understand what exactly makes them tick.

2) Don’t spread yourself too thin.

While large consumer-oriented businesses may put themselves on the map on ten different social networks, small businesses are not able to do this.

Many such businesses, unable to stand the thought of letting any social networking opportunity go to waste, get on every social network they can find. Needless to say, they find that they don’t have the resources to adequately pursue all these networks at the same time. It’s important to pick a couple of the best social networks for the audience that you have in mind and to devote all your attention to them.

3) Taking for granted that everyone at your company is on board.

At many businesses, it’s just a few people in the marketing department who understand what social marketing achieves. To the rest of the company, the benefits of social marketing are hard to grasp. Even the content development department often doesn’t understand what the benefit is. Needless to say, it can be difficult to truly take advantage of social marketing when most people in the business aren’t on board.

Experienced businesses realize how important it is to get everyone on board. They constantly internally publicize their numbers about the benefits expected and achieved on the social networks.

4) Getting the content plan right.

The social networks mostly deal with what happens here, today and now. If there is a major news story that everyone is talking about – a sports event, an electoral result, a movie, a natural disaster or anything else – newsjacking that event on the social networks could be important. If your automated content calendar has different plans – a contest for instance, it may need to wait. Appearing current is very important.

Not staying in touch with what’s going on in the world is a dangerous social marketing approach in another way. If there is a tragedy that people are talking about – perhaps a shooting, a crash or other disaster – simply carrying on with your happy routine of contests, content and banter can make you look insensitive.

4 Social Media Marketing Tips for Small Businesses in 2015

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