Most companies do not incorporate social media successfully into their marketing efforts and hence end up feeling that it doesn’t really work for them. In fact, they are following the trend of others and quickly become discouraged by the lack of positive results.
Here are some common mistakes to be avoided:
- Not Having A Social Media Marketing Plan
Social Media Marketing can be a massive waste of time without a proper plan of action. You should have specific goals, budgets and a concrete plan of action that outlines what you are trying to accomplish, how you will achieve your goal, how you will measure results, and what resources you will need to allocate.
Many companies fall into this trap of sporadically posting things on their social media accounts, share some of their content here and there and try to attract followers or fans. That’s not social media marketing. Social media marketing must be approached the same way you approach your marketing campaign plan.
- Measuring the Wrong KPIs
Many marketers fall into the trap of vanity metrics while measuring KPIs for social media marketing. They measure the number of fans on Facebook or followers on Twitter, and if these numbers are growing, they are happy.
Social media marketing is no different from any other marketing channel. You should be measuring the impact your social media efforts have on your business, not on the total number of fans or followers.
- Thinking All Social Media Platforms Are Same
You probably wouldn’t speak Spanish in Germany, yet many businesses make the mistake of speaking the wrong language on social media. Addressing the audience in a way that’s inconsistent with the traditions of the social network is ineffective and counter-productive.
Every social network has its own customs, language, audience and type of content. It is important to learn how people communicate on all of the social network you participate in.
- Dismissing Social Media Marketing as Ineffective
One study has shown that the fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55-64-year age bracket and that the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is 45-54-years of age. If you believe social media is not right for your demographic or your industry, you are wrong. It is a common misconception that social media is only for teenagers and the tech savvy. That is no longer the case. Social media has penetrated all layers of our society. If you manage to put together an effective social media strategy ahead of the competition, you will have an upper hand.
- Connecting as Opposed to Networking
Having thousands of random followers who don’t represent your ideal customers and have little to contribute will simply not produce desirable results. You want to attract and engage prospects, peers or professionals who share same views and interests and who will be instrumental in the success of your marketing efforts.
Make your interactions meaningful! Networking is about adding value to a relationship. You should set aside the time to reach out and write personalized messages, engage in discussions, share and comment on someone else’s content as opposed to just pushing yours down everyone’s throat.
Treat these relationships the same way as your in-person ones. By adding value to these relationships, others will be more likely to pay attention to what you have to say.
- Not Having a Social Media Policy
Not having a company-wide social media policy is clearly dangerous and can often result in unexpected public embarrassments. For most companies, content that is sexist, racist, religious, offensive, obscene, sexually suggestive, derogatory or discriminatory in any way is off limits. Regardless of who manages your social media accounts, you should adopt a policy outlining what is and is not acceptable. Make sure that all your employees know the policy and adhere to it.
Keep access to these accounts restricted and maintain a list of all accounts, usernames and passwords. A single post by a disgruntled employee could be a PR nightmare for your organization. Make sure that credentials are different for each account, and change passwords regularly, especially with employees who leave or change their roles.
- Making It All about You
How would you like hanging out with a person who only talks about himself? That gets old quickly, right? Well, that’s the very mistake many companies make on social media. It’s all about them—their news, their events, their products, their projects, etc.
Here is the truth: nobody cares.
To succeed in social media, you not only have to speak the language of the audience, but you have to tell them what they want to hear. The content that you post should be of high quality, of significant interest and be in line with the norms of the social network and your followers. Make it about them. Make it for them. That how you can make your social media strategy bankable.
- Relying too Much on Automation
One of the most common mistakes companies make is relying too much on automatic (canned) posting to their social media accounts. People use social media because they want to interact with others. If people can tell that your posts are automated, or if they feel the exchange is impersonal, they will distance themselves to your brand.
Your social media presence must have a personal touch. Be careful not to alienate your audience by posting content automatically and instead think of ways to delight, entertain and inspire by posting content that is personalized and authentic.
- Failing to Engage in Conversations
Your social media updates are useless if no one cares, shares or responds to them. Your posts and content should be designed to elicit conversations with your audience. 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. And don’t limit your company’s social interactions only through the marketing department. Involve other departments that interact with customers in your social media strategy to communicate on these platforms.
- Having Too Many Accounts to Manage
Many businesses make the mistake of jumping on every social network possible, setting up accounts and trying to manage them all only to realize that they are stretching their marketing resources thin and producing very little results in the process.
One dedicated marketing professional can effectively manage no more than 2-4 social media accounts. 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 “Big Four”: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.