Every coin has two sides and so is true about social media marketing as well. While there are many ways to market via social media, there are just as many ways when you can do it wrong.
When the most popular online activity is social media, it is obvious that most businesses would want to tap into that audience to boost sales and help strengthen the brand. But social media marketing is not as simple as reading a blog or knowing your way around Facebook and Twitter. While the right use of it can elevate your brand beyond your imagination, a poorly thought-out and executed social media strategy can do some serious damage. Marketing requires experience, knowledge, data and statistics, and many times even with all the gear you can still fall flat on your face. Fortunately, it isn’t bad as it sounds because there are real examples of several social media campaigns that have got it right.
So to make sure that your planning and marketing strategy is rewarded, you must avoid the rookie mistakes when it comes to social media. Steer clear of the below pitfalls and just like many businesses you will be able to increase your returns and create more opportunities for your brand by the means of social media marketing.
#1. No Strategy, Whatsoever
“Why are we not on social media when every other brand is? Let’s do it now!”
That is a common mistake many companies make when they jump on the social media bandwagon. When such a decision is an emotional one, it lacks proper thinking and planning that not only results in several lost opportunities but also keeps you on the run to improvise continuously.
To deliver an effective message to its audience, an organization needs to have a clear strategy. These strategies include distant social media voice, conceptualizing measurable goals, developing a policy for social media and planning social media calendar. Posting content on the web blindly will not get you anywhere; in fact having a clear social media strategy is the way to have the best as well as most engaging content. For instance, if your business did not have a social media calendar, you perhaps might neglect to say something important and relevant during the Olympics or during the summer vacations of the kids.
When you don’t have a strategy, it sometimes makes you treat your business social account in the same way as your personal social account. Unless you use your personal account for branding and business development, you will diminish your opportunities when you treat your business account as one. To do the social media marketing the right way requires having strategy, precision, thought and analytics because only when you plan well, you can post content that is of some value to the followers.
#2. Creating too many accounts at once
Another of the most common mistakes is to go all in when you are just getting started on social media. You know all the sites on which you want to create the account like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and many others. But it is only after you have created the accounts and have pages set up everywhere that you realize you do not have quality content for each of them, and moreover, every medium is different in its own way.
When you are first getting started on social media marketing, it important to understand that it is a huge responsibility in itself. If you don’t have a social media team yet, then it would be wise to limit your presence to one or two platforms that you feel will be successful in terms of engagement and lead generation.
If you are unable or if you know it would be too challenging to post quality content on every platform to engage followers, then keep your presence thin because you don’t want a day to arrive when you simply abandon the platforms altogether and lose face. Your aim should be to post 2-3 times per week with meaningful content on each platform that you have the account on.
So if your business is small and has limited resources then don’t overwhelm yourself with multiple social media accounts, and still, if you feel you need to spread beyond that then you can look towards taking assistance by outsourcing to a social media agency.
#3. Talking too much about the Brand, not enough value
This might come as a surprise since the whole point of marketing is to build the brand, and especially to those who have no idea how the social media marketing works. Someone who is jumping in from the traditional advertising platform might treat social media the same way where seeing a product or service enough number of times was all that was needed to ensure the customer made the purchase.
While it isn’t wrong to get in a little advertising, planning your social media content completely around advertising would not play well with the followers. If you try to provide a link to your service page in all kinds of content that you post on your page, then today’s consumers will not appreciate it. Just as conventional TV ads require variety in its music, visuals, and approach, getting your business on the social media would require you to identify the kind of content that your consumer base is interested in.
With tons of information on the web, people are constantly researching, reading reviews and getting feedback from others before they make the purchase. Consumers want knowledge about your brand and products, and when you provide them that, they can decide on whether to make the purchase or not. So when your social media post offers something more that goes beyond your brand and product, is when the consumers connect with it. If nothing else, responding to every comment and question can be a good start as it tells your audience that you are willing to communicate.
Remember that the content on your page or blog is what is building the relation with your customers, and so a good strategy to follow is to post 90% of good quality content and only 10% of the post should focus on marketing your products and services.
#4. Not knowing your target audience
Before you even open a social media account try answering this: who is your target audience?
If you are fumbling to answer it, then you have toppled over a fatal social media marketing mistake. While some brands are well aware of their target audience and what they want, perhaps because they have been in the business for a longer time, some other brands, especially the ones that are new in the market, likely take some months before they can figure this out.
Assuming what your target audience needs, is a serious mistake to commit in the social media marketing world. It has been researched and also is confirmed through practice that social media reach can be maximized when you have clearly defined your target audience. You can make use of several social media analytics tool to get you started, such as Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics which come free with your profiles.
Take time to analyze and fully research your target audience to understand their needs before you invest your time and money. And as emphasized before, providing content that matches with your audience’ interests not only strengthens the bond between the brand and the customer but is also a loyalty winning move.
#5. Not reviewing before posting
Have you ever noticed a tweet with a missing punctuation that changes the complete meaning of the sentence? Or how about a Facebook post which has several misspelled words?
While these may seem petty mistakes, your social media postings should adhere to grammar and punctuation as well just like you would have cared if it was an article in a magazine. Sloppy grammar and poor spelling can not only make it difficult for your followers to understand what you want to communicate but will also hurt your online presence and credibility.
While most social media restricts the number of words or characters you use, it does not mean that you completely abandon proper usage of grammar and words for brevity in your posts. This includes writing in understandable language and proofreading before putting out your content to the world. You can always take help from another set of eyes to proofread before you hit ‘Post’. Make use of software like Grammarly or Ginger that provide corrections to your work.
Don’t only double check on spellings and punctuations but also whom you are addressing to, that is your @mentions as it would be a disaster if your post mentions the incorrect Twitter handle. And in case you are in a hurry to post something, then just read your message aloud and look for spelling errors before you hit the button.
You may or may not regard these mistakes as fatal, but taking care of these will help in not damaging the brand of your business. While these are just a handful of mistakes, there are much more as well that one should look out for. I will try to elaborate them in a future post, but in the meantime avoid these mistakes and take suggested steps so as to have a better social media experience for your business as well as for your customers.
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