Social Media Marketing is not something to take lightly, yet brands make the same mistakes time and time again. So what mistakes are businesses making, and how can you avoid making the same ones?
With so much information available on each social network, how do you expect your brand’s updates to stand out from the crowd? You need to ensure that your brand is going to stand out in the crowd, and add value to a customer’s experience on social media. Updates should be memorable, and give users a reason to click, engage, or follow.
To maintain a social media following, we’ve compiled a list of common social media marketing mistakes that brands often make, and what you can do to avoid making them yourself.
Failing to have a Social Media Strategy
Too many brands jump head-first into social media marketing. Would you leap into action about email marketing, or a Google AdWords campaign with the same outlook? Most likely not.
Social Media needs just as much consideration as any other form of marketing. And that’s why it’s so essential you have a strategy in place.
Your strategy needs to be clear, aligning with what the company wants out of their wider marketing efforts, and outline how you are going to achieve goals you have set out.
A social media marketing strategy needs to address the following:
- Brand voice – casual, professional, or somewhere in-between?
- Social media calendar – how often will you update your channels, and how will this align with your content marketing strategy?
- End goals – what do you want out of marketing in general, and what do you want to achieve on social media platforms?
- Crisis strategy – what do you do when something goes wrong?
For more information on a crisis strategy, our blog covers the details here:
Not measuring Social Media Marketing efforts
How do you need if your Social Media Marketing is working, if you’re not measuring it? There’s more to this than simply gaining followers on different platforms.
The amount of engagement, shares, and traffic sourced from Social Media should all be measured, to ensure what you’re doing is working. If it isn’t getting results after a certain period of time, then it may be worthwhile re-planning your digital marketing strategy to put this right.
For tools for measuring social media, see our list here:
No integration with other Digital Marketing channels
Integrating social media accounts with one another is one thing, such as including images used on Pinterest across Facebook and Twitter, but your social media campaigns should also interlink with digital marketing efforts elsewhere. For instance:
- When promoting great content across social networks, why not boost it with a pay-per-click campaign?
- Why not create a video and upload it onto YouTube to promote your latest product, and reuse it across other social networks?
- Why not send out an email campaign alongside your social updates which highlight your recent sale?
Your social media accounts should not be separate islands, but all be interlinked, and serve their own purpose.
All your social media profiles should link back to your website, for those users which may wish to find out more from your business. If you’re promoting a certain product or service, then be sure it links directly to the page in question.
In the same way, your website should sport clear and defined logos which link to your social media channels, to ensure that customers on your site can click-through to follow your brand. Similarly, your blog should have share or like buttons, so readers can automatically share your content with their friends and colleagues.
Ignoring Mobile Users
A lot of Social Media activity takes place on mobile devices. In fact, 71% of social media users access their networks on mobile devices. Whether it’s a smartphone on-the-go, or a tablet in front of the TV in the evening, networks are abuzz with activity from people on mobile devices. So are your links and content optimised for them? Or will it only be suited to people on desktop?
This is worth considering, as if someone were to click through to a piece of content they wish to read, to find the site or web page isn’t optimised for them, then it could damage your brand. If you are pasting a link from a desktop website, it may not work for mobile. If you post a link for an m-dot website (i.e. m.yourdomain.com) then it will look strange to desktop users.
A responsive web design could solve these issues, as it will work on any device – read more here:
Only promoting your brand
Your social media updates should give customers a reason to follow your brand, and a reason to engage. Why would a customer follow you if all you do is promote your own business, with no regard for what they want? Unless you have an incredibly loyal fanbase already, this simply isn’t going to work.
This is where your content marketing and social media marketing should align, offering relevant and interesting content which your followers will be genuinely interested in.
Otherwise, looking into any complaints or queries about your brand online is a useful way of utilising the social aspects of the internet. You can quickly alter someone’s negative outlook of your company into a positive one, which can spread like wildfire across Social Media. This is a great way to help others, and show you’re not only on the platform to promote your own products or services.
For even the most serious of businesses, there’s always a place for a bit of humour. Whether it’s purely responding to engagement in a human way, there’s no reason to only speak like a robot.
Updates which are entirely irrelevant to your customers are equally as frustrating to social media users.
Your updates should be valuable to your customers, and attuned to what they want to see. Not just what your business wants, because that isn’t what social media is about.
Be social, be helpful, and give the customers what they want. This is the only way to create a loyal fanbase on social media.
Not Monitoring Brand Mentions online
If you’re not keeping up-to-date with mentions of your business across social networks, then you could be missing out on a host of opportunities.
These are opportunities to engage, spread the word about your brand, and disperse any negative feedback that is on the web.
There’s a huge range of tools and software available to do this, but you can also do it manually. See some available tools here:
Expecting Instant Results
To put it bluntly, you’re simply not going to simply amass thousands of followers overnight because you had one particularly good post.
It’s going to take time, and it’s going to take effort. But it will pay off, as having a legion of followers who are interested in your next update is a great attribute.
Purchasing followers from shady website may sound like a great quick fix, but it’s really not. For one, many of the followers provided by these companies will be fake. They won’t be real people, but just profiles set up for this purpose alone. And what use is that? It will make your profile look slightly more impressive by having a high follower count, but this count means nothing.
Having people who care about your brand is what matters. 100 true fans who pay attention to your updates are better than 10,000 fans which won’t engage, click, or read your updates.
No matter your field or industry, there’s always room for your brand on Social Media. With a little bit of creativity, there is a way of creating a captive audience for your company. You just have to figure out what that is.
Although there are certainly more applicable industries for Social Media (because pictures of food is always going to go down better than roof tiles, right?), that doesn’t mean you can’t turn your brand into an interesting brand on Social Media.
It really does pay to be ambitious. Just because your brand is in a niche industry, doesn’t mean you can’t amass a couple of thousand followers. Just be patient, and apply the correct amount of resources.
At the same time, it can go the other way. Many out-of-touch business owners can expect a social media account to provide thousands of clicks quickly after setting up the account.
This simply isn’t realistic, and expectations need to be managed. Outline a strategy, what growth you can expect, and form a plan which will boost your following. If people are impatient, then maybe advertising is the way to go; but this still doesn’t guarantee results.
Quality content, and interesting posts and updates is the only sure-fire way of growing your following on social media.
Using every platform
Every social media site isn’t a site for your customer base. There aren’t necessarily prospects for your business waiting on every social network.
Coming up with original content optimised for each social network isn’t something to take lightly. It takes time, and for maximum results, they do need to be optimised.
Choose networks with targeted prospects, and where you’re most likely to find your audience. Once you’ve got to grips with necessary networks
Generally, Twitter and Google+ seem to be necessary for most brands. Facebook is also relevant for most businesses, but otherwise, your business doesn’t have to appear on every network available.
At the same time, don’t forget about the smaller social networks which may be suitable for your business. For tips on which social networks your business should get involved with, check our guide here:
Engaging and maintaining a Social Media profile takes a hefty amount of time. It’s not something to palm off to an employee with a few minutes to spare, but it’s something which takes dedication, creativity, and experience. In the same vein, just because someone uses social media, doesn’t mean they are experts.
If you’re a larger brand, with a lot of potential engagement, then it’s not something you can do for ten minutes a day.
For more information on delegating resources to social media, read our blog here:
Ignoring Social Media Advertising
Although many brands are still not using Social Media to the extent they should be, even more will simply not even consider Social Media advertising.
When you consider that a huge portion of people are using Social Media on a daily basis, and often routinely throughout the day, it’s the perfect place to find a captive audience.
Advertising space can be relatively cheap on some platforms, and it’s spreading to more platforms, as Instagram is now rolling out sponsored posts in the UK. This a great chance to plant your brand in front of an audience with some top imagery, gaining followers, brand awareness, and traffic to your website.
Not interacting with followers
Social media is all about being social; so what’s the point in leaving your followers alone entirely?
Interactivity is what sets Social Media apart from all other forms of marketing, as it’s an endless forum of people willing to respond, discuss, and debate.
Not only this, but you can always address complains, thank people for following or reading your articles, and keep consumers feeling connected to your brand.
- Ask questions
- Share humour
- Ask for opinions
Not using hashtags
Even now, there are many people who don’t understand hashtags. And really, it’s essential for being discovered on social media.
Discoverability is what makes Twitter such a great platform for brands. You can ride other conversions and trending topics that are relevant to your brand, finding audiences you otherwise would have no chance of connecting with.
However, hashtag use isn’t only limited to Twitter. Networks such as Google+, Instagram, and even Facebook now use them. It’s a great way to reach out, and find new audiences for your content.
Using Hashtags to spam
On the other end of this spectrum, there are brands that try and weigh in on entirely irrelevant hashtags, just because it’s trending.
This can hurt the appearance of a brand, as it looks spammy, and shows they do not care about the updates they put out.
Also, for engagement purposes, it’s good practice to limit your hashtags to two per tweet or update. Anything more, and it’s an eyesore, whilst also looking too much like spam.
Spamming in general
Nothing will irritate customers more than incessant updates about your business. It won’t improve brand visibility, but it will give followers a reason to hit the unfollow button.
Each network is different, and it’s important to figure out the correct number of posts. For most, one or two a day is great. For Twitter, a tweet every few hours seems about right. It doesn’t take much to get lost in the noise of the network, but make sure you have something original to share.
Ignoring Social Media Management Tools
Why should you not be tweeting in evenings and weekends? Your customers are.
Using tools like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, or Buffer can help you reach audiences you can’t reach in office hours. If you know an upcoming event or announcement is coming over the weekend, then be sure to automate some updates that will be relevant to the situation.
Over-automating Social Media efforts
On the other hand, there are people that discovered tools like Hootsuite, and never looked back.
Automation is not a replacement for the human touch. You can’t schedule a month’s worth of tweets at the beginning of the month. There is nothing that will turn away customers on social media more than robotic tweets, sent out on a schedule. It shows you don’t care, and it isn’t entertaining. It’s boring, predictable, and is uninfluenced by what’s going on at the time.
If you’re over-automating, then you will also be missing out on possible engagement, and the prospect of being discovered via trending hashtags, and other popular topics.
Poor Social Media Branding
Google+ cover photos have a very strange image ratio, and so it’s important to get this right, or your image will be pixelated and unattractive. Do you want that to be the first impression of your business?
And as far as branding goes, obscured Facebook cover photos and profile pictures are often a problem. I have seen countless examples of profile pictures covering an important sentence or piece of imagery that features in the cover photo. It simply shouldn’t be happening. The same goes for Twitter header photos, YouTube, and many other networks. Get your image dimensions right.
Poor imagery on image-based social networks
Compared to big brands out there who are using beautiful imagery, do your images really portray the best side of your product?
Instagram means that even total amateur photographers can take beautifully shot photos, with a huge range of filters and adjustments. If you’re uploading poor quality pictures, then what does that say about your brand?
Similarly, networks such as tumblr, Pinterest, Flickr, all require a bit of effort in uploading photos.
Stock photos should also be limited to little use on social networks. If people don’t think you care about coming up with something original for them to see, then the same probably goes for your content. Using stock photos on these image-based networks is also pretty bad practice.
Specific Social Network Mistakes
Despite the above mistakes, there are still many more to be found that can only happen on specific social networks.
Whether this is due to a lack of understanding, or simple ignorance, is not always clear. What is clear, is that it isn’t necessary. Researching the best practice for each network is essential, and can make your profile much more appealing to consumers. In not doing so, you could miss out on followers and potential customers.
Ignoring Google+ entirely
Google+ is becoming increasingly important for social media marketing, and there’s really no excuse not to have it.
Google+ +1s have shown to be a big factor in search rankings, so promoting content on the network should be a must for the SEO factor alone.
Circles and hashtags means that building an audience and being discovered is easy. And with a search function from Google, your content and brand can be found easily.
Communities are also home to some of the most vibrant and engaged groups of people around certain niches that the internet has to offer. If you’re not getting involved in communities relevant to your business, then you are missing out.
It also links to your Google Local listing on Google Maps, and adds extra information which may entice customers to pop-in to your business, or at least get in touch.
Twitter has many uses. It’s great for business updates, thoughts, facts, and quotes.
But with recent updates, images are now more visible in home feeds. So if you’re not utilising images within your tweets, you’re probably losing out on a lot of possible attention.
Aside from this, it’s important to leverage a balance between images and text tweets. If followers are inundated with one or the other, they’re unlikely to find them compelling. In the same vein, it’s important to make sure they’re different, and not regurgitating the same phrases. If you’re promoting content, come up with a few different introductions, to ensure you can reuse it in different ways.
Pinterest – Images and Product Pages
Pinterest has been taking the world by storm, one pin at a time. But did you know there’s a right way to go about pinning?
The way the home feed works means that “tall” images work the best. Not just vertical rather than landscape, but really tall. There’s no penalty for creating images which are unnaturally long, and narrow. They are viewed in full on the home page. And so creating infographics, or images for content, in this way, can increase the number of clicks your business gets.
Pinterest has also proven very useful to ecommerce brands, able to showcase their products on various boards. Linking these images to the products seems to make sense, but you’d be surprised at the number of brands not making use of this.
If it’s something people can buy, then they may give up if they cannot find it. Move them straight to the content they desired, and your ecommerce business can thrive. That’s one less barrier a consumer has to take between seeing something they want, and hitting the purchase button. Make it simple.
Unoptimised for Facebook
Facebook is still a leviathan within social media, but there are still brands which don’t use it to its full potential. With various apps, forms of content, and advertising options, it’s still very relevant for a lot of business needs.
However, brands are still not using these functions. You can find something for every business goal, and it may be worth exploring which apps you can install. You could have a separate page on your Facebook profile for promotions or sales.
If you need any further advice on Social Media Marketing, or would like to formulate a Digital Marketing Strategy, then contact the team here at Xanthos. We are experts at marketing businesses online, and would love to help out.