As an Indie Author I have found social media to be a fantastic marketing tool when used wisely.
I have spent the past several months caregorizing marketing data from both my own ploys and observations of others. It seems the common mistakes are
1. The constant barrage of buy my product, i.e. the Twitter user who posts their products every hour on the hour or the facebooker who posts their content several times a day on their business site then shares each post with their personnal account. Both these mistakes have the same effect filling up the newfeed. Your friends and family will be most likely annoyed when they have to sift through your mega posts to find what's happening with their other friends and family.
2. Find the social media site that best fits your needs. Each site has groups, pages, and communities you can join for purposes of selling your products. Not to mention their are groups for talking with others who are in the same business, making connections which can pay off 100 fold.
3. Don't expect all your friends and family to jump on the bandwagon and buy what you are selling. Now just because they don't buy doesn't mean they don't care about you, it's not personnal. They may simply not be in need of what you are selling or they may be referring others your way under the radar, maybe they don't have the money to spend. Offer it at a discount, wouldn't you expect that?
How can one make social media work for them? Best advice take a chill pill, relax, hounding people will not sell although it may turn them away permanently. Instead try the following
1. Twitter your product once or twice a week, offer incentives such as discounts, giveaways, etc. I occasionally post à book I just read or started reading. Spark their interest. Use your business Facebook page for just that and only share with your personnal account once or twice a week or when you have something miraculous to share such as a fabulous book review. As I stated earlier, seek out groups appropriate for selling and sharing. Linkedin is a fabulous place to find other people in your profession and to make connections and network. Google plus has an unlimited amount of communities and a favorable audience, not to mention it's google-the most popular search engine.
2. Keep your posts to the social media they are more appropriate for, such as Tumblr or Wattpad for posting your written work, instagram for taking pics of products, pinterest for categorizing into boards. I am an author so I'm leaning towards that angle but this advice will work for any product.
3. Send your friends and family requests to like your page but don't keep sending the request when they don't like right away. Send an email giving a link to your webpage, offer to join a mailing list. Nobody likes the pushy sales person who works on commission so DON'T be that person.
The worlds of marketing and social media are new to me however I spent 15 years working in retail before teaching, there is someone who wants what you are selling. Spend the time to find them without pushing away potential customers, and don't expect to make a million right off the bat, success will happen. Be smart, play smart.
If you have found a way social media has helped your business, please share.