If you were of recent belief that social media is not the right platform for you or your demographic but are now seeking advice on what to do, and most importantly what not to do, then congrats! You’ve taken the right first step by seeking out advice on possible social media marketing mistakes.
Let’s dive right in with the first Oops, which you’ve already overcome—thinking social media is not the right platform for you.
This is actually a common misconception—thinking social media is only for Generation X. Based on a study by FastCompany (linked), the fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55-65 year age bracket, and for Google and Facebook, 45-54 year age bracket.
So that’s it. You’ve got proof that social media is for everyone! Now let’s take a look at social media marketing fails, and what you should be doing instead.
Mistake #1: Using social media without a strategy
As any true marketer will tell you, don’t start anything without a plan. Instead of diving right in with posting what you think your audience will positively respond to, do some heavy lifting at the beginning to ensure you’ve got a well thought out plan for the rest of the year. Consider this:
Goals & KPIs – By defining your goals and KPIs, you ensure that all channels touching your business are aiming to drive the same results, therefore increasing the overall chances of success.
Budget & Resources – Social media is not as easy as taking a picture on Instagram, writing a small blurb, and posting.
You must consider a list of potential new expenses to add to your efforts like additional personnel who will perform content research in order to stay relevant within your industry and current trends, someone who will write and post each piece of content, someone [or software] to proof all content, a photographer(s) to take post-worthy pictures, etc.
Measuring Success – Try not to get caught up in the number of people liking your pages or the number of followers you may have, but instead, focus on the impact your social media efforts have on your business.
Mistake #2: Not paying attention to the mechanics
Social media marketing is like riding a bike, it takes lots of practice and persistence—strategic persistence.
Don’t try to be on all social channels at once and push content any chance you get. Be selective with your channels at first, and always be strategic with your content. Let’s look at how to avoid this mistake:
Build a schedule and commit to it – Instead of posting at random with no weekly schedule in mind, sit down and draft a monthly schedule that places emphasis on your products, industry, and community. To help with this, review your reports—when are people most likely to respond to your posts? How often?
If you’re finding that you don’t have the time to dedicate to posting weekly, you may want to consider paid media, including paid social, instead.
Don’t rely too much on automation – One of the most common social media marketing fails is relying too heavily on automated posts. One must remember that social media is used to connect and interact with others. If your audience can tell your posts are not time sensitive and instead are automated, they will see right through this and will stop paying attention or worse, stop following you.
Instead try this: Create your schedule but build in time for native content. Plan to post 5-7 times a week. Don’t be afraid to get more personal with your audience—introduce those managing the account.
Too many accounts to manage – This happens too often—feeling the need to jump on every platform there is. Instead of stretching yourself too thin, stick with 2-4 channels. If your organization’s social media strategy is in the hands of a single team member, you should focus your resources and energy on the following channels: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. This is of course if your demographic calls for it.
Policy – Not having a company-wide social media policy can create a lot of confusion and could get your business into a sticky situation.
No matter who’s handling your social accounts, you should have a policy that clearly states what is and what is not acceptable within your organization. Although it may seem like a no-brainer, your policy must include rules that prohibit content that is sexist, racist, religious, offensive, obscene, sexually suggestive, derogatory, or discriminatory in any way.
Make sure that all your employees know the policy and adhere to it. By setting the expectation on how someone should conduct themselves when posting anything within your channels, you create a fallback when someone gets out of hand.
Tone – As you’re writing out your social media policy, keep the tone you want to portray on social in mind, as an organization’s behavior on social is subject to scrutiny. Finding the balance between being too official or too casual is the trick. As you strike the balance between being too boring, or too casual to the point of offense, consider this: People seek connection. They are attracted to those that act and feel like them. Don’t hesitate to show your human side. Take the time to figure out the tone that reflects your brand and connects with your audience. Luckily there are tools to assist with finding your tone like Hemingway App.
Mistake #3: Not considering your audience
As I discussed earlier in the blog, your social media efforts revolve heavily on how your audience reacts. You want to make sure you are applying the human touch to every situation, and with that you want to consider the following:
Make sure to engage with your audience – Your posts and content should be designed to elicit conversations with your audience. If you don’t get these reactions, your overall strategy and your content should be revisited.
When a person responds or comments, be sure to reply. Every comment a customer posts, whether positive or negative, presents an opportunity to communicate with the customer directly. Be friendly and personable; after all, this is what social media is about.
Connect to gain quality followers – Don’t aim for quantity by buying followers. Instead, focus on select followers that represent your ideal customer and will drive desirable results through meaningful interactions with an organic acquisition approach. You want to attract and engage prospects who share the same views and interests, and who will be instrumental in the success of your marketing efforts.
When producing your posting schedule, set time to reach out to your followers, engage in discussions, and share and comment on someone else’s content in an effort to show support and natural engagement, especially at tough times.
There may come a time when you receive negative comments on your channels. Here are some tips on how to handle it:
- Respond quickly & kindly
- Provide a solution
- Do not delete or ignore these comments
Mistake #4: Not keeping content relevant to your audience
As you’ve seen throughout the blog, what you publish on these social channels is the most important piece of strategy for having a successful social marketing plan. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to content.
Not every social channel is the same – Each social platform is unique in many ways, so posting the same piece of content for all channels can be a big marketing fail. Consider the different features, marketing tools and strengths that each channel brings to the table. What you post on Instagram, with its photo-focused UI, wouldn’t be as effective on Twitter, which is text-heavy. In addition, don’t forget that each platform has different audiences.
Not proofing your content before posting – To avoid typos or tone hiccups, consider implementing a proofing process for someone to double check every piece of content scheduled to be published. Don’t forget to include proofing of videos, images, and graphics with text!
Pursuing social media marketing isn’t as easy as posting what products you have available every day. It’s about taking your audience and your business goals and finding common ground by setting clear processes to ensure that you do the basics well and gain quality followers by providing value along the way. Happy posting!