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May 26, 2010

Social media has opened up an incredible world of opportunity for online businesses and personalities, giving them a myriad of channels with which to reach out to potential clients, customers, or employers. When used properly, social media can be a far more effective outreach tool than traditional newsletters and email blasts. There are a few pitfalls you should watch out for when using social media for marketing, however.

1. Know the Laws

Different countries and municipalities have different laws guiding online marketing. It’s important to understand these laws, especially as they are beginning to tighten as public officials react to pressure to regulate online business more. In a new widely-adopted code in the United Kingdom, for example, you are required not to pretend to be a consumer (a regular tactic of guerrilla marketing), you must make sure all communications can be identified as marketing materials without being opened, and you can’t use customer databases for purposes other than those specifically stated when the customers signed up.

2. Don’t Overstate Your Case

Customers are becoming more and more savvy as they are barraged every day with online marketing campaigns. As a result, they are tending to shy away from marketing that is overtly in favor of one product or service, or seems to state no downsides and use hyperbole for benefits. As a result, it can be much more effective when using social media to give a relatively unbiased view of your product or service, with only a slight skew in your favor.

3. Avoid Oversaturation

Similarly, people are having to develop pretty extreme filters to avoid being overloaded by all of the marketing material they are constantly faced with. While one or two or even five Twitter updates a day might not be too many, twenty is pretty likely to get you removed from someone’s list, or at the very least ignored. Similarly, posting an occasional special via Facebook will likely generate buzz, but posting three or four and cluttering up people’s feeds is more likely to get you hidden.

While it is possible to manage your own social media campaigns, you can also hire online reputation management professionals to make sure that your personal or business brand is working for you not against you. There are several reputable companies that provide reputation management services and can greatly improve your online reputation.

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