13 Mar Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
Social media marketing is a powerful means for building your brand, generating website traffic – and thereby leads – and customer retention. But in their eagerness to get started, many owners of small-to-medium size businesses make mistakes that are understandable, yet nevertheless damaging. We’re here to help, not to shame, so we present the most common, and how to avoid them.
Using your personal social media pages for business
We list this mistake first for a reason. Some small-to-medium business owners initially use their personal Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter accounts to promote their enterprise. This is especially tempting for sole proprietorships – especially on LinkedIn.
However, there are many good reasons for not doing so. Your personal accounts are means of keeping in touch with friends and family, connecting with those who share your interests, providing a forum for your opinions, etc. Your personal LinkedIn account is best for networking with others in your field and establishing your professional reputation as an authority or expert.
Start a LinkedIn account specifically for your business. There, you can provide background about your company, and post about its successful projects/jobs, awards and recognitions – as well as other information that prospective clients would find useful. While your personal LinkedIn account should establish you as an authority, your company page should establish your business as a leader in its industry – or at the very least, having a reputation for quality, integrity and customer service.
As for Facebook, many business owners who try to set up a Facebook business page soon find out that it isn’t as easy as Facebook leads one to believe. We’ll just cut to the chase here and recommend you partner with a digital marketing agency to be sure your Facebook business page has all the features necessary to position your company for maximum engagement with your target market.
Not choosing the right social media platforms
As we covered in our blog post – “How to Choose the Right Social Media Platforms for Your Business” – it’s a common inclination for business owners new to social media marketing to want to have a presence on every major social media platform to make sure they don’t miss any potential customers. However, as our blog post – “Is Instagram Right for Your Business?” – covers, choosing platforms that don’t align with your target market and marketing goals ultimately wastes time, resources and budget dollars. Making the wrong choices can result in a failed social strategy that you may struggle to correct without knowing the exact cause.
Certain demographic groups are more prevalent on some platforms than others. For example, those age 50 and over favor Facebook, while users under age 35 make up over 70 percent of Instagram’s more than 800 million active accounts worldwide. Ignore demographics at your peril!
Not creating a social media marketing strategy: posts without a plan
Just as you’ve identified your business’s market niche, competitive advantage and target audience, you need to form a strategy for your social media marketing. Without a plan in place, your social media posts lack purpose and the ability to engage members of your target demographic. In fact, most of the following mistakes listed in this humble blog post stem directly from not having a social media marketing strategy!
Writing for Connext Digital, Rob FitzGerald observes, “Social media marketing will perform as good as the strategy behind it. More than just making a certain number of posts a day, your brand’s strategy will be the foundation for everything that follows. Effective social media strategies include an action plan aligned with your company’s specific goals. It also includes the type of posts and content for your chosen platforms, as well as the kind of tone and voice your brand will take on.”
Also consider the primary goal of your social media marketing. Is it to increase leads/sales? Build brand awareness? Build brand loyalty and retain customers? To mash up quotes from Lewis Carroll and David Byrne, if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re on a road to nowhere!
Too much promotion
Business social media accounts that have post-after-post promoting a product, sale or offer come across as spammy. As we always say, it’s called social media for a reason. The purpose is to engage members of your target audience, not constantly bombard them with sales pitches. Too much self-promotion can also get you blocked on Twitter by businesses you follow, simply because they consider your account low-value and a nuisance. Talk about counterproductive!
Lack of a personal touch
Closely related to the previous mistake, posts that are spammy or otherwise too “salesy” do nothing to engage visitors on a personal level. Likewise posts that seem better suited for an annual report. Both are tantamount to ignoring your audience, as well. Whatever your brand voice is, it should be human. Write your posts accordingly. Let your target audience know that you care about what they care about, and you’re here to help them!
Posting just to post
Closely related to too much promotion, posting just because you’ve committed to yourself that you must post X-number of times per week is also counterproductive. While the frequency of your postings needs to be consistent (see Sporadic posting, immediately following), you should convey a message that’s relevant to your audience.
As online branding and marketing strategist Ashley Hannawacker notes in her article for Entrepreneur, “A lot of people feel like they have to post constantly just to stay relevant. In reality, you tarnish your brand and dampen your engagement rates when you post low-quality content. If users are not engaging with your content, Instagram will stop showing your content to them.”
Posting on an inconsistent basis won’t build a following for your social media accounts. Weeks – or even months – between posts raise questions about your commitment to communicating with your target market at best, and the health of your business at worst. If your social postings are sporadic, how consistent are your company’s business practices, product/service quality, customer service, etc.? It may not be fair to judge on such a seemingly superficial basis, but trust us, consumers do!
Not being flexible
While we always recommend creating a social media calendar, don’t feel you should stick to schedule should something happen that would make sense for your company to acknowledge or address in its social media. For example, if a major announcement affecting your industry is made, you should report it, and/or provide insight on how it will impact your customers.
Lack of brand consistency
Hannawacker writes that consistency does not mean monotony. Your social media posts “… should be consistent with your brand mission, tone of voice and overall look and feel – fonts, color palettes, etc.”
Avoid random memes, photos and similar media that you may be tempted to post because you find them amusing. Encouraging your target market to engage with your brand and visit your website or physical location should be your primary guide. However, if humor is part of your brand identity and Generation Z and millennials are your demographic, memes can work. Just make sure the subject matter fits your brand. You could even incorporate them into your social media posting schedule with the hashtag #MemeMonday. Yes, it’s a thing!
Hannawacker notes that consistency also refers to keeping your promises. “For example, if you say that there will be a new IGTV episode every week, there better be a new IGTV episode released every week. This creates trust and credibility with your audience and lets them know they can count on you to deliver. Be consistent in your social media marketing efforts because consistency compounds and creates powerful, sustainable brands.”
Not tracking analytics
Speaking of not knowing where you’re going, not knowing where you’ve been is no help, either! And if you don’t know where you’ve been, you won’t know which postings have been successful and which haven’t so you can fine-tune your strategy. Each social media platform allows you to track data, providing valuable insight into relevant metrics.
We saved this one for last for a reason. “Content is king” is the mantra of social media marketing. If you avoid all of the above mistakes, you’re halfway there! Posts that are well-written, relevant to your audience and engaging constitute quality. Those that contain typos, bad spelling and poor grammar miss the mark, however. Poor-quality graphics and photos fall under this category, as well. Grainy, blurry photos won’t earn any likes. The effort you make to post good visuals will pay off!
The take-home message
As we mentioned earlier, social media marketing – even creating a Facebook business page – isn’t as easy as some would have you believe. Virtual Stacks Systems provides full-service digital marketing – including social media services – for a one-stop solution that can meet your company’s goals. We invite you to tell us what you want to achieve, and look forward to providing needle-moving quality content for you!