Several years ago, just getting businesses (small and large alike) to realize they needed to be on social media was a challenge. Today, some reports suggest that over 90% of business have a presence on social media.
I think that’s great! While many people think a brand would be on social media only for marketing, marketers and brands alike have often recognized the outstanding potential that social media offers for education, corporate philanthropy, and customer service – in addition to standard brand awareness or marketing techniques.
As brands’ use of social media grows, there are more examples to evaluate, both good and bad. Here’s a list of the top 7 social media marketing mistakes you want to avoid as you build your brand’s presence via social media marketing.
1. Tweeting, Posting, and Pinning Without A Strategy
Hands down, this is the easiest way to waste time and money on social media marketing.
Without a strategy, you might be posting, tweeting and pinning up a storm – without a way of knowing if you’re successful or not.
A strategy for social media marketing involves clear, measurable goals so you can evaluate if you’re successful or not and adjust your social media activities accordingly if the results aren’t what you want.
In a way – all of the items that follow are different things that can happen when you aren’t using social media strategically, so keep reading.
2. Not understanding the investments required
So social media doesn’t cost, at least in terms of initial account setup.
But if you continue to view social media marketing as a free form of marketing, you’ll never see the return from these marketing channels that you otherwise could.
Initially you have the costs of learning how to use each platform – from a marketing perspective. Just because you have a teenager who has thousands of connections on Instagram does not mean he or she knows how to use it for marketing. (That said – they might be very useful at telling you what is really annoying on any given platform!)
You also may need to invest in resources to use online such as images or infographics. (You can’t just go searching Google for graphics and reuse them for your brand – you could end up with a serious lawsuit on your hands!)
Investing in stock photos and image apps might be one way to create visually rich content for your brand. Or you might be better served by hiring a photographer to create professional images to use with your branding.
What you don’t want to do is to use text only updates or amateur looking images – that would diminish the appearance of your brand.
Other places you might need to invest as you build your social media marketing presence include paid promotion. Relying on organic reach alone will not reach many of the people who may be interested in what your brand offers.
3. Not understanding the unique qualities of each platform
It might come as a surprise, but simply cross posting the same content on each channel is not an ideal way to share the message of your brand.
In Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, Gary Vaynerchuk does a great job of breaking down the kind of content that does best on each platform. If you get this wrong, not only could you be hurting your reach, but it’s entirely possible that you’ll push away your potential customers as well.
4. Viewing your social media channels as isolated rather than connected
Social media marketing is a tool to deliver the message and story of your brand. All of your available channels exist to serve that purpose. Make sure your social media profiles have cohesive content and branding, and that they connect with your website.
5. Not having a consistent voice across platforms
While each platform has unique qualities and users, your brand needs to sound the same across all of them. (This doesn’t mean posting the exact content.) But you need to have the same “voice,” the same values, and the same overall message, no matter where you are marketing.
6. Not realizing social media is a vehicle for conversation
It still amazes me that brands forget to actively monitor their social media platforms to respond authentically to mentions of their brand.
Now – this has to be done carefully. Social media isn’t the place to start a public shouting match with a dissatisfied customer.
But letting comments pile up on your wall without ever responding to them makes it look like you really don’t care about your customers.
7. Not understanding the relationship between SEO and people
The relationship between social media and SEO has changed tremendously over the past 2 years. For that matter, SEO itself has changed, and if you are using SEO tactics you’ve learned any time before 2013, you could actually be hurting your ranking on Google.
More and more, Google keeps refining their algorithm to reflect the way that people really search. What this means is that SEO is taking input from social signals more and more. This means that more than ever, it’s become more important than ever to create content that people really want to click on and share. You never want to focus on capturing search engine rank without having considered what people will truly want to read and share.
Really, it could take an epic length book to list the social media marketing mistakes you should avoid. These are the ones that jump out at me – what are the top mistakes you think brands should avoid?