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We all know the importance of social media marketing. However, some businesses seem to have greater success in this area than others. Here are some of the most common mistakes I see all the time. The good news is they can be easily remedied. So let’s dive in.
#1. Spreading yourself too thin
Mistake number one is spreading yourself too thin. This is a mistake that lots of new businesses, seem to make. Just because a social media platform exists doesn’t mean your business needs to be on it. Today there are over 20 commonly used social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Vine, Snapchat, FourSquare, Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +, LinkedIn to name just a few. It’s simply not realistic for a small, or even a medium-sized business, to cover all these platforms and do them justice in terms of time, human resources or money – nor it is necessary. The most important thing is to pick one or two platforms where you know your audience hangs out and commit to them long-term.
#2. Not posting regularly
Not posting regularly can often be a side effect of mistake number one – spreading yourself too thin. If your business has hastily signed up to multiple social networks, you might have stopped posting regularly as you realise how much there is to do and how much time it takes. For other businesses, not posting regularly could be a symptom of a lack of knowledge of modern marketing strategies, lack of a content plan for social media, not being prepared to invest in social media long-term to get results (expecting overnight success) or a sign of neglect. Whatever the reason, this does your business more harm than good. If you cannot post regularly to social media, you are honestly better to kill off your social media site(s). If I go on to a business’ social media site and see that it hasn’t been updated in three months, I am instantly reluctant to do business with them. How do I know that the business is still active and hasn’t gone bankrupt? Do yourself a favour and set up a content plan so you know what content you will post to social media and when, make it part of an employee’s job description, block out time in their calendar to devote to it, and kill off any extra social media sites that you can’t invest sufficient time and energy in.
#3. Not staggering posts throughout day
Almost as annoying for customers as brands that go AWOL for three months on social media, are brands that post a month’s worth of content in the space of an hour. This clogs up users’ newsfeeds and is a major turn off for them. It’s also not great for your business either. If you have a new post that appears every minute, you end up diluting your message. People only tend to take in one piece of information at a time, and if you have multiple messages appearing simultaneously consumers won’t be able to take anything in, let alone focus on following up a call-to-action. The best remedy for this problem is to use a tool like Hootsuite that lets you sit down for an hour and schedule every post you want to be delivered during the week/month to most major social networks. Schedule posts a few hours apart and Hootsuite will make sure they are delivered at the correct time.
#4. Inconsistent branding
Another problem is the use of inconsistent logos between Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, your website and other social platforms. Different logos create different messages creating confusion among your potential customers. They may even wonder if you are the same company or two different companies that have the same name. Choose the logo that best reflects your values and brand personality and apply this consistently across your website, print collateral and all social media accounts.
#5. Not responding to customer service queries
If you have a social media account, fans, followers and even disgruntled customers will use it to communicate with you. Whether these people send a private message or a post on your wall that is publicly viewable, all comments need to be replied to in a timely manner. At the bare minimum this needs to be within 24 hours, but ideally it should be within 1-2 hours. The thing about social media that is unique compared to other forms of marketing is that it is about relationships and two-way communication. Customers expect to be seen and heard on social media and even negative comments need to be responded to. Failing to respond to messages appropriately, and in a timely fashion, can lead to very negative public perceptions of your brand and unexpected backlash. So make sure you check in at least every day and respond to comments and queries. An even better practice though is to have someone within your company have the social media accounts open on their computer all day while they work on other tasks so that the moment an alert comes in it can be dealt with immediately.
#6. Not using graphics and videos
Social media has changed a lot in the last five years. When Facebook and Twitter first came out, most individuals and businesses were only posting text-based updates. However, if you’re still relying solely, or mostly, on text today you are missing out. In order to significantly grow your social media followers, you need to produce shareable content. Videos and graphics get significantly more shares than text-based content, and can even go viral. Other types of shareable content that are worth investing in include sponsoring contests of offering giveaways that require users to tag other people or share your content in order to gain entries in the promotion.
#7. Being overly self-promoting
Although social media is undoubtedly a form of marketing, brands that only talk about how great they are and try to push product sales don’t tend to have great success on social media. People want to follow companies who give as well as take. One of the simplest ways to give to your audience to create useful content for them. It could be something humorous, it could be sharing a great piece of advice from your expert industry knowledge, it could be giving away a discount coupon for your store to the first ten people who comment on your post. Proving your worth to your followers will result in a long-term, loyal customer base who are then much more receptive to your sales messages.
I hope you found this article helpful and I’d love to hear from you. What are some social media marketing mistakes that you have made in the past and how did you overcome them?