Social media marketing is an invaluable tool for reaching new audiences and retaining your existing ones. It has a nearly unlimited capacity to generate referral traffic, improve your SEO efforts, generate and convert leads, and create positive buzz around your brand.
Of, course, there’s a “but:” To see the amazing benefits of social marketing, you need to know how to do it correctly. Whether you’re looking to fine-tune an existing social campaign or launch a new one, here are five huge social media marketing mistakes to avoid:
Having Unclear or Inconsistent Messaging
Before you begin to market on social media, it’s important that you know a few things, including:
- Your brand messaging (Who are you? What are you marketing?)
- Your audience (Who are you marketing to?)
- Your goals (Why are you using social media marketing?)
You may be surprised (or not) to learn that many brands get started on social media without a clear vision or goal in mind; it’s important that you narrow your focus and understand what you’re trying to achieve, so that you can actually work towards it.
For brands without a clear plan, it’s easy to make a lot of noise online, without ever actually accomplishing anything. Often, this means posting content that is irrelevant or uninteresting, or simply blindly retweeting or replying to posts without any rhyme or reason. It’s important that you have a personality and a point of view, but it must be consistent and uniform, or else you’ll be alienating potential customers, rather than engaging them.
The other part of consistency? It comes down to scheduling; again, plenty of brands start with social without any sort of schedule in place. It’s as important to know how often you’ll be posting to Facebook, Twitter, or other platforms as it is to know what you’ll be posting or sharing.
Not Monitoring Your Results
So you’re using social media to accomplish your specific goals, be they generating leads, encouraging conversation about your brand, or promoting referral traffic to your site. Now, it’s key to understand how well you’re actually doing when it comes to achieving those goals.
You’d be surprised how many people – even supposed experts – fail to monitor their social media analytics. If you’re not keeping tabs on your social success, you’re failing to add more value; it’s that simple. Instead of operating blindly, put native social analytics tools to work, and don’t forget to use Google Analytics to see how your social performance is impacting your website.
Relying on “Blackhat” Tactics
Have you heard of “catfishing?” For the luddites among us – no judgement! – “catfishing” refers to using social media to dupe another person into communicating with you, perhaps by using a fake picture or name.
While catfishing isn’t necessarily all that prevalent among social marketers, there are all sorts of other devious tricks that unscrupulous businesses use to goose up their numbers and make their social presences look more robust than they really are.
One of the most common blackhat tactics is to buy followers via a third party site; this can lead to trouble with the social networks themselves, and turn off potential customers, who are usually sophisticated enough to suss out fake followers. More recently, some canny internet tricksters have taken to employing vast armies of bots, or dummy accounts designed to flood social sites with a specific message or link. Still others have been focusing on finding a tool that automatically ensures that accounts get the “first reply” to any given post.
Don’t fall for these snake oil tactics – they’re unethical, at best, and will forever harm your brand’s reputation, at worst.
Failing to Include a Call to Action
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that social media is all about accomplishing the specific, unique goals that will benefit your unique brand, as we mentioned earlier. With this in mind, it’s vital that you don’t just adopt a “set it and forget it” approach to social media, but instead make the platforms really work for you.
What do we mean? Well, in addition to understanding who your audience is, and how best to reach them, it’s important that you encourage and motivate your followers and fans to act. People want to engage with you and your site, but they need to be prompted, motivated, guided. Some of this comes down to the content that you post, and ensuring that it’s optimized to persuade your audience and encourage engagement.
Just as important is making sure your social profiles are operating at peak efficiency: This includes optimizing your visual content and taking advantage of the built-in call to action tools available on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Biting Off More Than You Can Chew
Your brand has to be on Facebook, right? That’s where your audience is. Or are they on Instagram? Twitter? Pinterest? Well, you’ve got to always be posting to LinkedIn too, right? And Snapchat is the big up-and-comer, so you better at least have an account there, no?
We call this thinking “platform overload,” and we’ve seen it stymie plenty of brands – or deter them from getting started with social media marketing in the first place. The reality is that you don’t need to hit every single social platform at once; instead, it’s far better to focus on the networks that work best for your brand and your unique goals.
We know that this sounds intimidating – that’s why it’s also important to remember that you don’t have to go it alone! Even if you do limit the scope of your social media marketing goals and campaigns, you may still find that scheduling posts, responding to posts, and managing paid ad spend can eat up a ton of time – possibly much more than you ever wanted to spend on any one aspect of running your business.
That’s where social media strategists like ours come in! With the help of the Geek team, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of a thriving social media presence without ever having to tear your attention from the day-to-day operations that make your business work.
Have any questions about what it takes to get started with social media marketing? Want to talk strategy for your brand? We’re here to help! Drop us a line today to get the conversation started!