According to HubSpot, 92% of marketers in 2014 claimed that social media marketing was important for their business. However, a recent survey by the Social Media Examiner revealed that 85% of marketers aren’t sure which social media tools are best to use and which tactics they should focus on.
The problem? Many brands are still determined to push the wrong messages out – focusing too much on their own agendas and not enough on the value they can provide to their customers. We discuss the four fatal social media sins that could be holding back your brand and pushing your customers away.
But we’re not all mean – we’ll also present you with seven saintly cures to get your social media success back on track.
You wonder why people aren’t following you, why they aren’t engaging with you and why the clicks aren’t coming through. It could be because the majority of your updates are focused on you and your brand when they should be focused on your audience. Brands need to move away from the kind of push marketing that has dominated traditional marketing for centuries. It achieves the very thing you don’t want: repelling your customers, annoying them and causing them to unfollow, unlike and disengage.
Your brand only has a place on social media if it’s providing real value for your customers. But don’t panic – providing value can come in many forms. For example, your brand can use social media for providing speedier customer service, creating helpful and educational content or for entertaining your customers or keeping them up to date with the latest news. You need to be clear about your value proposition both for your internal social media strategy planning and for enticing customers to become fans and follow your activity.
If in doubt focus on the 80/20 rule – that’s 80% about your customers (providing value, engaging with them, sharing unique content, etc.) and 20% about you (your ads and call to actions, anything that’s asking people to buy or sign up, etc.) Consider investing in native advertising too – it’s the process of distributing your paid (or promoted) online ad in the form of content marketing or an article. So instead of a straight up ad you’re drawing your customer in and providing them with value relevant to their needs.
Your competitor has just unleashed a wildly successful social media campaign. It’s personal, it’s relevant, it’s providing true value. You want it for your own. After all, if it worked for them it has to work for you too right? No, not exactly because now the idea has lost its unique edge – it’s their brand and it’s their message. Stop obsessing about your competitor’s every little online success and start paving the way for your own.
Think of what makes your company unique. Are you the fun one, the educational one, the quirky one, the helpful one? Do you create in-depth content while your competitors barely skim the surface of a topic? Do you offer social media-only discounts or exciting teasers about upcoming product launches? Find your unique selling point and focus on what you can offer your customers that your competitors can’t.
Start by analysing your competitors’ social media activity. By all means note and assess the tactics they use – but instead of trying to replicate their strategy you should try and tap into insights that might lead you to ideas of your own. For example – think, “That topic seemed to have resonated quite well with their audience. What kind of unique content could we create using the same topic but a whole new concept?”
It’s Monday morning and someone has decided to post a negative tweet about your brand. It’s not true, it’s plain rude and have they even heard of a spell checker? You’re determined to give them a piece of your mind and set the record straight about your brand. Wait – just because a comment is negative in nature does not give you an excuse to go on the defense and respond back in the same tone. Instead, take a deep breath and create a measured response.
If you need a moment to step away from the computer take it. For particularly difficult comments discuss it with your manager or a trusted colleague before you reply. Validate their concerns, apologise where appropriate, do everything you can to address the issue and when possible try and take the discussion offline.
Stay polite and be as helpful as possible even when faced with a difficult customer. Remember: when you post a comment on social media you are representing the values of your brand. And never lose sight of the fact that what’s said online can be found by anyone – including your new potential customers.
My god, you’ve got grand plans for social media domination. You’ve taken on too much too soon and you’ve made your boss outrageous promises that you’ve just realised you can’t quite keep. “I’ll gain 1,000 new Facebook fans and increase engagement by 150% in a week.” Slow down there, take a deep breath and remember why your brand started using social media to begin with: to connect with and engage with your target audience. You won’t be able to master every digital channel. So please don’t try.
You need to streamline your activities for your own sanity and to ensure your social media marketing efforts reap the ROI (Return on Investment) your brand deserves. Get selective and choose only the digital marketing channels that your target audience actively (and regularly) use.
It’s best to manage one or two social media accounts really well in an attempt to truly connect with your ideal customer rather than spreading your time too thinly and trying to handle multiple platforms. How do you identify where your customers are hanging out? Analyse the demographic information available on social media marketing surveys and use Google Analytics to identify your most popular channels. You can also try asking your customers about their social media habits through creating your own survey.
Our online Professional Diploma in Social Media Marketing teaches you the best practices for marketing through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube. It includes 30 hours of in-depth lectures taught by industry experts and will equip you with all the skills and knowledge you need to plan, build and measure effective social media strategies. Find out more here.
Develop a detailed understanding of key social media specialisms including content marketing, and platforms on which you can promote your content.