You don’t need me to tell you that social media plays an important part in marketing for all businesses these days. To the point where you have to think “what did we do before…?”

Yet I see companies making so many mistakes, it makes me wonder if social media marketing is one of those things that no one taught anyone how to do well.

Yes, every single day we all get at least half a dozen “social media experts” following us on Twitter and linking in with us on LinkedIn, but how do we know what’s right and wrong?

I attended a marketing event recently, where several speakers from different walks of marketing life spoke about their approaches and successes. The first speaker was inspirational – a global marketing leader for a very prestigious North East brand – great story to tell. Another speaker, however, spoke those most heinous of words… “social media is not for us”. Ew…

With my fist in my mouth, I kept quiet. But of course social media is for you. OK, not everyone wins business from Twitter. In fact very few firms probably do. If you’re in a niche market or you deal internationally, you don’t rely on much in the way of marketing to bring in the revenue. But ask yourself who uses social media? People! Your employees, your neighbouring businesses, your competitors, your potential future workforce. Those are just some of the reasons why having some kind of social media presence is important. It doesn’t have to be about “buy from us and use our services”.

Something else that I see happen way too much is ‘followers for the sake of followers’. The social media channels I run are closely monitored and our followership is vetted for quality. If you’re a local business relying on passing trade, why do you need to be putting your messages out to a “leading cosmetic surgeon from Alberta, GA” or a “fun loving girl who loves life from Mexico City” ?

It may sound ruthless, but these followers get blocked from following my accounts. I’d rather be promoting my businesses and clients to 500 relevant followers than 5,000 people who will never have any call to take up whatever it is I am offering.

Fake, spammy accounts are a killer too. We can all buy followers. Anyone on Twitter will have been followed by an account that appears to be a real person but is just a robot trying to get you to buy followers.

For some, Twitter is a numbers game and the quality of their following is irrelevant as long as they ‘look popular’. That’s not for me.