In today’s world, the vast majority of businesses are active on social media. In a recent survey conducted by AdWeek, for example, 96 percent of small businesses have a Facebook account. While businesses are flocking to social media, the reality is that few are getting what they should out of this critical marketing channel. Many businesses try their best, but easily correctable social media marketing mistakes continue to prevent them from getting the results they expect. Businesses that avoid widespread social media marketing bloopers can earn a significant advantage over competitors who continue to use unproductive tactics that undermine results.
Social Media Over-promotion
Social media is a channel where prospective customers are looking to engage with the brands they know. Unfortunately, many businesses make the mistake of using social media to blast followers with promotional material. Businesses that over-promote on social media tend to have very low follower growth and little-to-no content shares. To optimize the reach of social media efforts, businesses must offer informational content that adds value to followers. Once followers perceive a brand as an expert in a particular field, they will be more willing to act as brand evangelists and spread the word to their followers about what a business has to offer.
Social Media Platform Targeting
New social media platforms are launched every day, but few are worth using for most businesses. As with other marketing activities, businesses must go where their customers are most likely to be found. Facebook and Twitter are profitable for almost all businesses, but other companies might benefit from focusing on alternative platforms, such as Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and many others. Businesses must conduct thorough market research to determine which platforms their customers are most likely to use. Most importantly, businesses must also adapt their content strategy to offer content that adds the most value possible for the platforms that are selected.
Lack of Follower Engagement
The willingness of prospective customers to engage on social media means that businesses must be responsive to initiate conversations that can lead to a sale. Unfortunately, many businesses make the mistake of ignoring followers who attempt to engage directly with them. Some businesses, for example, would ignore a customer using social media in an attempt to contact a sales representative. Businesses that neglect customers who try to engage with them not only risk losing a customer, but they also broadcast their poor behavior to hundreds or thousands of additional followers. Businesses that engage with their followers, therefore, can enjoy the benefits of both a better reputation and a conversational approach that can lead to new business.
Inconsistent Posting Schedule
Consistent posting is critical because customers can find their way to a social media platform at any time. When a prospective customer decides whether to follow a business, they will first review recent posts and decide whether the content might add value to them. If posting is sporadic, customers might get a bad impression and decide not to press the follow button. Likewise, consistent posting is also critical for retaining existing followers who expect a steady stream of quality content. Businesses that cannot post consistently should consider outsourcing the work or using software to make posts at busy times of the day.
Not Utilizing LinkedIn Company Banners
Depending on your business, LinkedIn can serve as a major connecting outlet for your company and clients, investors or potential partners. The best way to reach these individuals through marketing is with the aid of LinkedIn Company Banner images. These images are placed at the header of the website, above all other content.
Marketing directly through LinkedIn is pretty straight forward. You don’t need a specific program to do this, as you can create your ad through the LinkedIn website (must have a minimum size of 646×220 pixels). However, do you struggle creating a banner image that pops? Try Adobe Photoshop Elements.
Strategic Tweets: @ Mention vs. Reply Tweets
People tweet at your company. They may respond with others responding in the post feed. Now, you can post a response in the feed using their @ user name, but the problem with this is when dozens of other people are commenting on the same post, it may simply fall by the wayside.
A reply tweet is like an instant message. The user will see it individually, so you can rest assured they see your response. Struggle managing your Twitter account and its attributes? Check out Pluggio. It is a free plugin that gives you more direct control over everything, not to mention it highlights all interactions so you don’t miss it.
Paying for Followers & Likes
You want to look more popular, so you pay for followers. However, paid followers don’t interact with your company, don’t help you learn your key demographics, and service providers may penalize your account for buying followers.
The best way to increase followers and likes is to stay connected with your accounts. Hootsuite is a software that gives you control over all your social media accounts, so you can build your followers organically.
Un-Social: Silent Commenting
People post on your wall, mention you and comment on your posts but you don’t respond. When you don’t, they will be more likely to unfollow you or turn to the competition.
Take a hint from Gary Vaynerchuck, who built his business Vaynerchuck Media & Wine Tasting Library by being extremely active to his audience, answering questions to commenters on multiple platforms, providing video responses through YouTube. That’s the point of social media. Respond when someone posts and messages you. Check out Sprout Social if you want assistance running your social media accounts.
Irrelevant Content with No Focus
Businesses should focus on creating quality content because it will help to build their brand as a thought leader on social media. Sadly, many businesses believe that posting poor content can be profitable because it may drive some additional traffic to their website in the short term. High-quality content always pays off in the long run because it adds value to the ultimate goal of building a company’s image in the mind of a prospective customer. When the customer needs a product or service related to the offerings of a business, their first choice will be brand they know and trust the most from previous communications, including on social media. Always post quality content that is relevant to prospective customers to get the most out of digital marketing.
No Tracking or Analysis on Beneficial Metrics
Inexperienced social media marketers often make the mistake of perceiving new posts as another pull on a slot machine that disburses followers and shares. While followers are needed to share content, businesses should always remember that quality is far more important than quantity. One share from a thought leader in a relevant industry could be worth far more than a thousand shares from untargeted followers. Worst of all, some businesses become so obsessed with irrelevant metrics that they counter productively purchase followers and shares in hopes of building traction; the results, however, are invariably the opposite of their expectations. Posting high-quality content that attracts targeted followers should be the focus of all businesses participating on social media.
Lack of a Targeted Audience Strategy
Even when businesses focus on targeting thought leaders, they often fail to account for their true target market. Building authority in an industry is important, but the goal is to demonstrate expertise to prospective customers. For example, a local business that sells lawnmowers should post content that demonstrates industry knowledge. However, the dealer should also post relevant content that is likely to attract the attention of homeowners and contractors. Without building followers and impressions from the target market, even the best social media content strategy can yield unprofitable results.
If you don’t understand your target audience, your marketing will not be aimed properly, resulting in you spending money on customers not interested in your products and services.
Study your analytics. Google Analytics can help with some of this. The social demographic tool from Crimson Hexagon also allows you to in further and study who interacts with your social media posts. This way, you can adjust your marketing platform accordingly.
Executing a Successful Social Media Strategy
Businesses looking to improve their internet marketing, their online digital reputation, and digital media performance should understand that social media marketing is a conversational effort that requires engagement and high-quality content. Social media cannot be used as a broadcasting tool because followers can unfollow at any time. To execute an effective social media strategy, businesses must start by researching their target market and determining the most effective way to engage with potential customers. Once businesses know who they are aiming to reach, high-quality content can be created to reach the target market. Through an effective social media strategy, businesses can start new relationships that can form the basis of a profitable customer base for years to come.