No one will argue that marketing via social media is a must for every kind of business. After all, three-quarters of the adults using the internet today regularly engage with at least one social media platform.
The challenge in social media marketing is using it effectively to help your business, while avoiding missteps that can result in a lot of wasted time and effort.
To help ensure that your social media efforts are successful, steer clear of the following fundamental social media marketing mistakes.
1. Proceeding Your Social Media Marketing Without a Strategy
Like with most things marketing, having a clear strategy is super important. Because so many people are very comfortable with social media in their personal lives, they make the mistake of jumping right into social media for their business without even a basic strategy and plan for making it successful.
Cutting through competing marketing clutter, effectively building a following, successfully communicating with your audience and increasing customer loyalty are some common social media objectives.
You need to decide what your own primary objectives are, and make them clear to everyone on your team that will be involved. Then, focus all your decisions and efforts towards achieving them.
Social media marketing efforts are rarely successful without both short-term and long-term strategies that address key elements such as audience research, tone of voice, content plan, an editorial calendar, social listening/engagement and measurement/tracking – all while allocating the resources to make those elements happen.
Our recommendations: Develop a social media marketing strategy by thinking about your primary goals, how you will research your audience, the tactics you will employ, what metrics you’ll use to evaluate your progress over time, who will be responsible for each aspect, and how much time the people involved will need to realistically do it all (use these additional tips) .
Make sure there is one “owner” of your social media efforts—a person who will ensure that there is a strategy in place, who will coordinate all efforts accordingly and report to management on the plan’s progress.
2. Biting off More Than You Can Chew
While it may seem obvious that you need to actively manage accounts on all the big social media platforms—Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn (and more)—tackling all of these channels effectively when first starting out is not realistic for most small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
Successfully understanding your audience on even a single platform, building a base of followers, communicating with customers, and using the channel to strengthen your brand requires extensive strategizing, planning, creative thinking, and hands-on work are key.
Multiply that by multiple channels and the chances of success diminish rapidly. Truth be told, even having a full-time person dedicated to social media marketing (something that most SMBs don’t have) may not be nearly enough to effectively utilize more than one or two platforms.
Our recommendations: Select one or two social media platforms that are likely the ones most relevant to your target audience. Then, spend at least half a year focusing exclusively on it/them. Invest the required time to understand each platform, discover how to best engage your audience on it, brainstorm your messaging and creatives, prepare a plan and then implement it.
Once you reach the point that you have mastered a couple platforms and have a well-oiled machine maintaining your presence on them, consider tackling additional platforms—and make sure you have sufficient human resources dedicated to ensuring the successful use of each one.
3. Treating Social Media as an Advertising Channel
The most important aspect of social media is that it is social. It’s surprising how many companies seem not to understand this fundamental point.
While banner ads, PPC ads and a website are fine ways to broadcast your sales pitch to the world, social media needs to be about engaging and interacting with your audience, not shouting at it.
The great appeal of social media is the human interaction it enables. If you are limiting your use of your social media accounts to blatantly promote your business without taking the time to understand and engage with your audience, you may never succeed in leveraging social media to help grow your business.
Keep in mind that many customers who choose to interact with a company via social media are deliberately seeking an alternative to the traditional ways of hearing from—and interacting with—the brand.
Our recommendations: Make your primary focus to provide value to your target audience by engaging with them and actively participating in conversations, not blasting them with your marketing messages.
Make the effort to understand your audience’s needs and wants, and show interest in them by providing valuable information, answers to questions, and even fun content.
When someone leaves a comment, respond promptly and personally. Make people feel heard and valued. When members of your audience discover how approachable and responsive you are, they will likely become more loyal to your brand—and spread the word among their friends, too!
We hope you take our advice and avoid these three social media marketing mistakes. Don’t forget to visit AddThis website tools to learn how you can take your marketing to the next level.