Social media marketing is here to stay, and if you’re not on the bandwagon, you better jump on it right away or your competitors will leave you behind. But here’s the secret about social media: one size does not fit all. That’s because every social media platform is different, so your marketing strategy has to be targeted to maximize the advantages that each channel offers you.
Why is this important? Because according to Pew Research Center, 79 percent of the people who used the Internet in 2016 visited Facebook, and that amounts to a staggering 68 percent of all adults in the U.S., and a seven percent increase from 2015.
Furthermore, 28 percent of adults who access the Internet use Instagram, one of the fastest-growing social media platforms, and 59 percent of them are 18 to 29, a sweet spot target for marketers because this group is known as Millennials.
Social media is growing like wildfire, and prospective consumers on various platforms are waiting to see how you will persuade them to become your customers.
It’s fertile marketing ground, but only if you understand nine of the most common social media mistakes that you’re probably making right now, and how to correct these errors so you can develop winning strategies.
This infographic highlights some of the top points from our white paper. Below that, you will also find a written summary of these points!
Social media mistake #1: ‘one size fits all’
Different channels attract different consumers with different interests. Trying to appeal to all of them with only one type of content is a recipe for failure.
That’s something that Luke Watson, Creative Director at Roker Labs, sees often.
“When a creator posts content that is clearly an afterthought and not targeted for a specific group, consumers take offense to this practice, and that affects their impression of the brand,” Roker stated.
And when prospects lose confidence in your brand, it’s difficult to win them over again.
Here are a couple of social media marketing tips you can follow to eliminate this problem:
- Create text-heavy actionable articles for professional platforms such as LinkedIn, remaining mindful of your target audience.
- Change text-heavy content to be image and video-driven when posting on platforms such as Instagram or Facebook. Use clever captions, great images, and short videos.
Social media mistake #2: “not knowing your audience/preferences and personas”
Without properly targeting your social media audience, how will you know what content to post to which platform?
Not understanding your audience is a huge social media fail, but one of the first steps to solving this problem is creating personas that provide you with your prospects’ wants and needs.
You can also go to the social media platforms and utilize their audience tools, such as:
- Obtain audience insight information from big platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
This is a strategy supported by Jen Holub, Director of Social Media at Scorpion Internet Marketing:
“I recommend using the tools available to you to check out your audiences’ interests, behaviors, and demographics to hone in on prospects that are most important to you and your business,” Holub stated.
These tools include Keyhole and Audiense to gain insights into your targeted consumer group, such as which social media platforms they most frequent.
Social media mistake #3: “thinking anyone at the organization can do social media marketing”
Some businesses fall prey to the notion that social media marketing is a task they can assign to anyone, regardless of qualifications.
But Adam O’Leary, President of Encite Marketing disagrees with this strategy:
“SMM done right is too much for someone not experienced and focused to do effectively,” O’Leary said.
The key words are ‘done right,’ because if you hire an amateur, the risk is that your SMM will alienate your prospects, and drive them away, which is the exact opposite of your intended goal.
Here are some reasons you should hire a professional social media marketing (SMM) manager instead of doing it yourself, or worse yet, trusting an intern to do the job:
- Boosts your brand awareness – your SMM manager will make sure consumers know your brand by driving traffic from your social media channel to y our website.
- Measures conversion rates – Your SMM manager will know how to measure social media conversions: the key to determining whether your ROI on paid ads is at the right level.
Social media mistake #4: “posting too much or on the wrong social media channel”
When you post content on social media platforms too often, it devalues your company’s brand, because prospects will often treat this content as spam.
In the opinion of Maya Merlis, PR Coordinator at Amplify Relations, frequency should always take a back seat to quality:
“If you want your audience to actually notice and engage in your content, you should spend your time curating quality posts that are relevant rather than quantity,” Merlis stated.
You can avoid this social media mistake by adhering to these strategies:
- Fewer postings per day are optimal if user engagement and raising awareness are your two primary goals. Users feel less overwhelmed and are more likely to engage when your posts are consistent but well spaced apart.
- More frequent postings are effective if generating traffic and increasing clickthroughs to your website is the main goal.
Social media mistake #5: “being too pushy or overtly salesy in messaging”
When you walk into a store for the first time and five salespeople rush up to you and say, “please buy our products right now,” how would you react? Well, that’s how some prospects will view your social media content if it’s too focused on making sales, instead of telling your company’s story.
“The point is to get the customer to want to share a couple seconds of his/her day with you,” stated David Eichler, co-founder and Creative Director at Decibel Blue. “That’s it. They then get to decide if they want to learn about what you’re selling.”
Eichler’s point is that prospects aren’t enticed by a flashing sales signs the first time they engage with a business because they still need a warm-up period.
Use these social media marketing tips to help you avoid the hard sell:
- Make your story universal – your story must appeal to a broad swath of consumers who relate to your goals and values.
- Make it personal – Users value companies that feel authentic. Make your story personal by providing behind-the-scenes insight into your company’s daily operations.
Read more about how to make your social media presence feel natural in our whitepaper here.
Social media mistake #6: “not having a clear way of tracking ROI for SMM marketing”
Because social media marketing is so new, some businesses don’t have a strategy for how to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns.
And the answer isn’t found in just figuring out who clicked through to your site, either as Lydia Stratton, PPC and Paid Search Strategist at Three Girls Media points out:
“It’s simply not enough to know how many people clicked on your post to your website,” Stratton said. “You need to know what they did once they got there, and if they ultimately took the steps to conversion.”
Here are a couple of questions to keep in mind to avoid this social media fail:
- How long did each user who clicked to my website from my social media page spend on the site?
- How many users who clicked to my website from my social media page performed some kind of CTA?
Social media mistake #7: “adopting a tone which may be offensive to your followers”
Some bad social media posts can haunt you for years. Whether intentional or not, offensive or controversial content can harm the reputation of your business.
The immediacy of response on social media is a two-edged sword that can cut businesses that post inappropriate content.
“While these platforms are invariably powerful tools for promoting your brand and expanding your reach to new customers,” stated Joseph Luckett II, founder of Affluent Solution Group, “they can also leave you vulnerable to criticism if used incorrectly.”
Luckett said businesses must always weigh the short-term benefits of more clicks that an offensive post might trigger, with the long-term harm to a company’s reputation.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t push the envelope to get attention, but when posting content, keep these things in mind:
- Avoid using offensive images or language that is incendiary
- Avoid posting content that relates to users’ religion, sexual orientation, political beliefs or economic status
Social media mistake #8: “inadequate social media targeting”
If you post the wrong content on the wrong platform, prospects may perceive your business in a negative light, because they quickly realize you haven’t done your homework.
And per Howie Zisser, Digital Marketing Associate at Match Node, the wrong content can dent your credibility.
“Inadequate social media targeting results in the company losing all of its authenticity, which is an ever-increasing factor in the consumer’s mind when it comes to brand choice,” Zisser stated.
Proper targeting is based on researching your market and creating personas, and if you don’t do these things, some of the consequences include:
- Loss of authority and credibility – your posts are not relevant to your audience
- Loss of click-through opportunities – prospects will not click to your website
Social media mistake #9: “not doing a fact check before posting on social media”
Getting caught up in being first to post content on social media can have dire consequences if that content includes false information.
Being first isn’t as important as being accurate when it comes to social media.
“Nowadays it’s become a race to be the first one to get the words out,” said Moréa Pollet, Marketing Specialist at Piedmont Avenue Consulting. “This practice hurts companies’ credibility and therefore impacts their long-term growth.”
Pollet also said that it’s vital to fact-check and ensure that content is credible because that will boost a business’s credibility and authority.
Use these standards as a way of determining whether or not your postings are trustworthy:
- Where are you getting your information? – Is the source trustworthy? Has the source been wrong in the past?
- Is the source objective? – Biased sources tend to push an ideological agenda that could taint the accuracy of the information.
Get the right tools to jumpstart your social media marketing
As you can see, social media mistakes are common, and they are an easy trap to fall into if you don’t understand the importance of things such as proper consumer targeting, creating valuable content, and utilizing the right analytical tools to measure social media marketing ROI.
If you are embarking on your first social media campaign, or your existing social media strategy is not yielding the proper results, you don’t need to fear. Our white paper has actionable social media tips you can implement right away, as well as valuable insight from leading marketers in a variety of industries.
Put your business on the track toward long-term success through action steps that are effective, time-tested and practical. Download our white paper to avoid making the most common social media mistakes.