However crowded the market place becomes, every marketer hopes to get their brand out there in front of as many eyeballs as possible. No wonder many love to leverage the power of social media. In an attempt to stand out in these networks, it is not unusual for marketers to make some mistakes.
Social media users can be unforgiving; keep making the same mistake and you will see your following dwindle by the day. The following are 7 social media marketing mistakes that every marketer should avoid.
1) Not having a social media marketing plan
Creating a social media marketing plan might seem like an obvious thing to do, yet many companies fail to do so. They fall into the trap of just posting things on social media without any real plan in place. You should take social media marketing with the same seriousness that you do as with any other marketing effort.
Come up with a list of specific objectives you want to achieve, then create a budget and an easy-to-follow plan of action. This should clearly outline what you hope to achieve, how you intend to measure your results and the number of resources you might need.
One of the most celebrated online marketing strategies of all time is the 2010 Old Spice marketing campaign that, essentially transformed the company into a hippie brand. They did a video ad that they called The Man Your Man Could Smell Like using Isaiah Mustafa, an NFL player.
He appeared shirtless on screen speaking to women who would “happen to be watching the Super Bowl”. The NFL player simply asked them to buy Old Spice so that their men could smell like a man should smell. The video went viral.
The brand succeeded because, among other reasons, it changed its old tactics (pun intended) and embraced a new strategy that would get them noticed by people who would never have thought about using the product.
2) Not defining your target audience
Not everyone on social media will fit your brand. Defining your target audience will let you concentrate your social media marketing efforts on people who are genuinely interested in your product. However hard you work, if you do not know your audience, you will record lackluster results.
Convince & Convert, a social media strategy company does this quite well, largely because its founder, Jay Baer understands that he is in the B2B space and not the B2C space. He makes sure that all the content he publishes has LinkedIn share buttons instead of just the more popular Facebook and Twitter share buttons.
The brand knows its target market and the social network this audience is engaged in. The interesting thing is that most of the shares are usually from LinkedIn users.
3) Failing to engage in conversations
It doesn’t matter how many updates you add to your social media channels; if no one comments or shares them, it is all a waste of time. That is why you should take time to create content that people want to engage with — content that elicits conversations.
If your updates get no reactions, perhaps it is time for you to think long and hard about the social media marketing approach that you have taken. And when you finally get your audience to react to your updates, be sure to engage back. A conversation is a two-way street. Respond to comments even when they are negative. And remember to keep it cool; be polite and friendly.
It is important to add that while it is good to encourage your followers to engage with your brand in conversation on social media, you must ensure that these conversations are positive engagements. Negative conversations about your brand will only damage your reputation.
A good example of this is “Race Together” Starbucks campaign that was meant to encourage conversations about race relations but was badly executed resulting in a growing negative vibe towards the company.
Many ridiculed Starbuck’s failed attempt to engage their followers in a conversation that while current, is often divisive and too hot to touch (pun intended).
4) Relying too much on automation
Automation can be a lifesaver. Indeed, a tool like Social Growr that helps brands grow organically on Instagram is often the difference between being average and thriving on these social media platforms. Yet, if you become too dependent on automation, you might lose the human touch around which your brand persona thrives.
The New England Patriots found itself in trouble back in November 2014 when its automatic bot tweeted a racial slur via the team’s official Twitter handle. The team was celebrating its success in reaching a million Twitter followers, so it asked users to retweet a message from its Twitter page and users would be rewarded with an automated tweet featuring that fan’s Twitter handle on an image of the team’s jersey.
Unfortunately for the New England Patriots, someone took advantage of the situation, essentially making the robot tweet out a racial slur.
It took over an hour for the team to realize the mistake and take down the tweet, but not before over 2,000 people retweeting it. The team apologized. It had relied too much on automation.
As you can see, relying too much on automation not only makes your brand lose the human touch, it also can result in embarrassing moments. This is especially the case when you use traditional rule-based automation tools.
Advanced automation tools are preferable because they use triggers, allowing brands to engage customers based on their behavior. This way, brands can leverage the micro-moments recorded by social media users.
5) Promoting yourself a lot
To stand out on social media you must be sociable. If all you do is promote your content, many social media users will grow a disliking for your brand. Instead of increasing your following, you will watch it dwindle like a candle in the sun. Promoting your brand is important, but be subtle about it.
6) Not tracking analytics
Your strategy book should be a living document. You have to keep improving it. But for you to do this, you must be in a position to see the impact of your past actions. Insights into what you have done in the past and the results you got out of it will help you plan for the future. Find a good analytics tool and assess your performance.
By tracking your analytics, you will be better placed to create targeted marketing strategies that will improve the quality of your brand following. Monitor customer engagement, conversions, buying trends, and your growing influence in your niche on social media.
7) Treating all social media platforms the same
Each social media platform is unique. You must learn the language of each platform so that you can speak to the users in the language that they will understand. Just the same way you can’t speak Norwegian in China, you must speak the same language as the users of the social networking site on which you intend to grow your brand. Seek to understand how each social media platform works so that you can make the most of the opportunities therein.
When you learn to see each social media platform as an entity on its own with its unique opportunities, you will start to discover brand new ways to leverage these opportunities to grow your business or increase its exposure.
This is what San Chez Bistro, a tapas bistro, and restaurant implemented back in 2010. The restaurant, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, encouraged its patrons to reserve a seat at the restaurant via Twitter in a campaign they called “Tweet-Ahead Seating”.
The restaurant’s management understood that by design, Twitter would be the perfect platform to do this. They would definitely have achieved dismal results using other platforms like Facebook.
If like some of the brands discussed in this piece, you have been making these social media marketing mistakes, there is a remedy. Where to start? Consider starting with writing down your social media marketing goals, plans, and target audience.
If it happens that you are unsure of how to go about this, then it is time to hire an SMM expert. Perhaps doing this can be your way out of making these and other social media marketing mistakes that might get you negative publicity.
Marquis Matson is a writer, social media manager, and SEO content marketer. She currently lives on the coast of Ecuador, working remotely as a freelancer. Her primary focus is on building online visibility of new, up and coming brand, particularly brands that promote health and wellness.