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These days, businesses both large and small are using social media to promote their brand in one way or another. Unfortunately, many of these organizations are still making basic mistakes in their social media marketing strategies. Think you’ve got it covered? Take a step back for a moment and look at your social media strategy to find out if you’re guilty of any of these 7 common social media mistakes.
Focusing on Social Media-Only Objectives
Many organizations start using social media channels without a clear strategy. They see a platform that could possibly connect them with their customers, and they jump on that channel, basing their performance on vanity metrics such as number of likes, comments, and followers. But how do you know if these metrics are having a positive impact on your business?
Unless you connect social media actions to larger business goals from the beginning, ROI can be difficult to calculate, and social media ends up being something you do “just because” offering no real value to your business. Each social media channel you use should have its own distinct strategy based on key performance indicators that tie back to your overall sales and marketing goals. Think in terms of referral traffic to your website, newsletter sign-ups, and content downloads, for example.
2. Social Media is Run by an Intern
Letting your intern(s) take control of your social media channels is asking for trouble. Many companies have been burned by interns using poor spelling/grammar, sharing personal opinions that don’t fit the brand they’re managing, and showing a lack of knowledge when speaking about the business.
Just because someone went to college and “understands” social media, doesn’t mean this person should be managing your company’s public communication channels with little to no supervision. True social media management requires a complete understanding of your services, products, overall business, editorial strategy, and more. If you want to train an intern, that’s fine. But make sure that they are properly supervised by a social media professional with several years of formal work experience.
3. Limiting Your Presence to Only Super Popular Social Media Channels
Success with social media marketing often involves having a multi-channel social media strategy. Yet many brands are only on one well-established popular channel (such as Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn), and ignore other great channels such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest, where they may also have highly engaged audiences.
The channels mentioned above are also quite popular (Pinterest, for its part over 150 million users by the end of 2016), but there may be even more niche social channels that are a perfect fit for your brand (Think Vimeo, Periscope, Reddit, etc.). If you know your business personas, do some research on where they spend their time, then invest in adding those channels to your social media strategy. But don’t think you have to be on every social platform. Choose a few that work best for your audience. Then focus on quality, not quantity, of posts.
4. Using Social Media Only for Marketing
Social media is a crucial component of a digital marketing strategy, but that's not all. For example, your HR department can use social media for recruitment by posting jobs as they become available. What better way to promote a job than to ask your followers to share with their friends? It’s an instant boost you won’t find by posting on most job sites.
Perhaps more importantly, your social media channels should be used to address customer service issues. You should monitor any time your company is mentioned and respond quickly to comments and/or complaints. Helpful replies to comments can reach new audiences, improve your brand image, and increase the likelihood that customers will purchase again. Depending on your industry, you may need your customer service department to get involved.
See the stats below for examples of the importance of quick social media response, then see an effective customer response from JetBlue.
5. Missing the ‘Social’ in Social Media
Newsflash: company social media pages shouldn’t only be about sharing branded content. After all, it’s “social” media, which means you should be reacting and engaging with your audience, not just shouting out your content whenever you get the chance. No one wants to follow a brand that makes everything all about it. It’s like having a friend who only talks about herself when what you really need is someone to listen.
A self-serving social media feed looks unprofessional and spammy to your audience. Instead, you should have a mix of retweets (if on Twitter), curated content from other reputable sources, and conversations with your audience.
6. Boring Social
Do you ever wonder why no one seems to engage with your social media posts? It probably boils down to your content; it’s just plain boring. Are you simply posting the title of an article or blog and listing the link? That’s not very engaging. Or perhaps everything you post is text-based; you’re missing images, videos, and meaningful quotes and stats. Think about the type of social media content you click on as an individual. Then take a look at your accounts from an outsider’s perspective. Would you click on your company’s social media posts? If the answer is no, look into creating new types of content using the chart below.
7. Lack of Consistency & Focus
When your PR department launches a campaign, it probably knows its target audience, much in the same way you would know who you were targeting with an ad or email campaign. But what about social media? Are you truly targeting an audience or putting your content out there for anyone and everyone to see and respond to? This “spray and pray” type of approach (advertising your business anywhere and everywhere, hoping that people will notice you and praying your hard work pays off) doesn't often lend the ROI businesses are looking for. Focus on connecting with people who matter to your business - your customers and prospects!
Once you have found your focus, it’s important to consider consistency. How often are you posting? It’s not ideal to leave your channels with no activity for days or weeks at a time. Determine a schedule that works for you and stick to it. If you have a chance, create a planning calendar so you can craft your messages for the week or month ahead of time. It takes some time, but it can save you hours in the long-run if you have a plan and strategy in place from the start.
Social media marketing is about much more than just posting your content and hoping potential customers react - there must be a more sophisticated strategy underpinning your actions to successfully align your social efforts with your overall business objectives.