Social Media is way too powerful for businesses to ignore. Anyone can open an account on social media and start sharing content. With very low capital investment the returns you can expect from social media marketing are huge.
Nevertheless, in the hands of many business owners, who have no idea about social media marketing mistakes to avoid, this power can turn into a recipe for disaster.
With 2.46 billion people out there sharing their opinions, conflicts and misunderstandings are bound to happen.
An unresolved bad customer experience can make an angry customer start out a Twitter tirade. A disgruntled employee might share an inappropriate post that might sound unprofessional.
If your corporate account gets hacked, there is no saying what kind of embarrassing moments you may have to face.
The last thing you would want is to ignite your brand bonfire on social media. Understanding what works and what does not in social media marketing, can take you a long way in building up an excellent online reputation for your brand. Here are a few social media marketing mistakes you may have to avoid:
1: Not having an objective
Before you start posting on social media, you will have to determine why you are posting.
Do you wish to raise awareness about your brand or product?
Are you thinking about starting a conversation on a certain topic and increasing engagement?
Are you looking at building a community?
Are you trying to acquire leads or generate sales?
Unless you are sure about the objective you want to achieve by making those posts, there is no way you can track your progress.
2: Not having a long-term commitment
Social media is all about building relationships. It is a platform that helps you establish a direct personal connection with your target audience. This is not a one-time hookup. You need to build out an entire social sphere for your business. It involves:
- creating and updating your social media profiles or pages
- engaging with your audience
- planning and executing social media strategies
- grabbing opportunities that may help you enhance your brand awareness
Nevertheless, all of this would require a lot of time, resources and a commitment to build your brand and generate business through social media. If you don’t have any of these, it is better not to get into social media marketing, in the first place.
3: Not using creative art and striking punchlines
If you want to avoid making social media marketing mistakes you may want to think about using creative art and striking punch lines in your social media posts.
Interesting and Entertaining Creative arts like the above can boost your likes and shares on social media, increasing the number of followers.
If you are using punch lines, make sure they are easier to read and understand. Keeping them simple and precise is the trick.
Creative arts with punch lines are best done by hiring a professional branding agency which can conduct a thorough audience research and create engaging posts for your social media marketing based on their preferences.
4: Not having a Two-Way Communication
Using social media as a blogging platform could be one of the biggest social media marketing mistakes you might be making. The platform is not about creating posts and sharing information; it is about interacting with your customers.
There is no use of having a huge number of followers if you are not responding to their grievances on time. A two-way communication can help you in:
- Understanding the changing needs of your customers
- Identifying the expectations of your customers
- Implementing the right measures to retain your customers
- Determining opportunities to up-sell and cross-sell
- Promoting your products through word of mouth
Engaging in social conversations helps you connect with your customers at a human level and holds you up as a brand that listens, understands, and cares about the concerns of consumers.
5: Ignoring what your fans say
One of the main social media marketing mistakes to avoid is not to pay heed to what your fans and followers are saying. This kind of attitude can keep your fans and potential customers away, while harming the reputation of your business.
Responding to feedback is a must, whether it is positive or negative. And you have to do it quickly if you want your fans to feel special. It builds a better image of your brand.
Everyone loves to respond to positive feedback. But there are many who tend to avoid negative comments. However, it is very important to respond to them and try to resolve their issues at the earliest. This can help in retaining your existing customers and leaving a positive effect on your future clients.
Recommended: Responding to Comments on Social Media
This is how Chips Ahoy! responded to one such negative comment:
Implementing the product as per customer requirements can have a positive effect on your sales.
Here are a few Dos and Don’ts you will have to keep in mind while responding to negative comments on social media:
- Respond as quickly as you can
- Never delete the negative comments
- Try and take the conversation offline as early as possible
- Listen to the customer’s issue without getting defensive
- Monitor all comments that follow the negative comment
- Make your response as personalized and specific as possible.
- Have an action plan ready for cases that seem difficult to resolve
- Don’t let negative comments scare you
Recommended: Handling Bad Reviews and Leveraging Good Ones
6: Ignoring your competitors
Apart from connecting with your customers, another main objective of using social media is to understand the strategies adopted by your competitors. You cannot do this if you ignore them.
You will have to visit their social media accounts on a regular basis, check on their updates, frequent their websites and even read their press releases. This will help you explore better options to interact and engage with your social media communities.
To explain the concept, let us say you are a business that sells spare parts of automobiles.
The first thing you need to do is find out your competitors who are active on social media. See what ways they are using to reach out to their target audience. Find out if they are offering any discounts to their customers. Pay attention to the method they follow to solve the problems of their customers.
Here are a few screenshots that can tell you more:
You may also want to find out what kind of paid advertisements they are running. For this, you can use the latest feature that Facebook has released called “Info and ads.” If you click on this tab, you will find all the ads that your competitors are running.
Check out the ads and see what they are offering to their customers. However, never make the mistake of copying those promotional offers. Always come up with innovative incentives that make you stand apart from your competitors. This will make it easier for your customers to choose you over them.
7: Using Social Media to brag about your brand
If you are spamming your audience every day with messages on how good you are or what best you can do, you are wasting your time.
No one would be interested in reading posts that add no value to their lives. Eventually, they will unfollow you and maybe even block you if things get too irritating.
Talking about your accomplishments is important to establish your credibility. But you will have to do it without sounding like a bragger. Here are a few things you can do:
- Try and inspire awe in your audience by telling your story in an interesting way
- Be grateful when you talk about your success
- It is fine if you have to let your guard down. It makes your audience feel comfortable and easier to relate to you.
- Avoid the humble brag
- Get a wingman who can talk about your accomplishments
- Don’t avoid talking about your accomplishments for the fear of sounding like a bragger.
- Add in a touch of humor without offending your audience in any way
- Try to be as brief and personal as possible
- You don’t have to share all your accomplishments. Stick to those that are relevant.
8: Not using the fun factor
Social media is best used to share important information with your followers. You can update your audience about upcoming product launches, share with them details of funding, and give information about initial promotional offers. However, you can use some light-hearted stuff as icing on the cake.
A lot of brands like Flipkart use fun stuff such as #selfie contests or quiz competitions to increase engagement.
Oreo keeps coming up with some creative stuff, with a touch of humor.
9: Not sticking to a regular posting time
One of the rules of social media marketing is to post regularly. It is always better to have a content posting schedule with set timings for uploading posts, especially if you want to create a good impression about your brand and its values.
As far as possible, make it a point to post fresh content on a regular basis to drive traffic and engagement.
While choosing a posting time it is better to consider the platform you are posting on and how and when your target audiences interact with that platform. It depends on the time zones of your target audience too.
If you have a business page on Facebook, you can go to the ‘Insight’ tab and click on ‘Posts’ to find the optimal time to post. Always upload your posts 5 to 15 minutes before your audiences get active on the social media platform.
Once you decide on your preferred posting times, you could use a social media posting tool to schedule your posts and analyze their performance.
10: Not Encouraging Audience
Most businesses tend to forget the main purpose of social media while making their posts – to connect with their audience. Unless you give them an incentive to connect with you socially, they are not going to do it. If you want them to visit your page again and again, you will have to do something to make them feel special.
Lay’s potato chips made a splash by offering its chip eaters an opportunity to create the brand new flavor of Lay’s through its #DoUsAFlavor Campaign.
The consumers had to submit a flavor that they wanted Lay’s to create. In turn they could win a reward of $1 million or 1 percent of the first year sales of the Flavor, whichever was higher.
With over 3.8 million submissions, the campaign achieved success beyond expectations. Not only did this campaign help the brand understand its customers, but it also drove their sales by making the participants pick up a bag or two of their preferred Lay’s flavor.
11: Not boosting your posts
You may have noted the drastic reduce in the organic reach of Facebook over the years. As per research, publishers have seen a 52% decline in their organic reach on Facebook between January and July 2016.
As per the social media manager of a Slovakian newspaper, 60 of the largest media pages in the country have come across a fourfold decrease in their likes, comments, and shares.
It is very important to use the paid option in social media to reach out to a wider audience. If you haven’t tried this out yet, it is high time you do. Moreover the cost of boosting your post on Facebook is surprisingly low when compared to Google and other social media platforms.
Nevertheless, here are a few things you may want to keep in mind before you start boosting your posts:
- Always wait for a day or two after publishing your post. Boost your post only after assessing the amount of organic engagement that it is receiving. Any post that performs 60 to 70% better than the other posts can be worth boosting.
- It would be worthwhile to boost posts that include graphic elements or videos rather than those that include only text.
- Boost your posts only if they redirect back to your landing page or website.
- Boost only those posts that feature your original content
12: Not Offering Social Media-Specific Discounts and Sales
As a tool, social media is best used to inform your customers about special discounts and sales.
Not only will this help you up-sell and cross-sell your products, it will also enable you to encourage new users to follow your business and start buying from you.
Posts on discounts and offers achieve the best results when boosted on your social media account. Not only will this strategy help you reach out to a wider target audience, it will also help in generating more sales for your business.
13: Not hiring a professional to manage your social media
Social media marketing is an on-going task which needs a dedicated person or a team.
This person or team will be in charge of developing and executing the social media policy, establishing best practices, figuring out opportunities, and coming up with ways to engage with your online audience on a regular basis.
If you don’t have the resources you can always hire the services of a professional social media marketing agency to do the job for you.
Such an agency will have a dedicated team of experienced professionals who can create and execute a top-notch social media marketing strategy for your business.
14: Silo Thinking
Many businesses tend to make the mistake of thinking in terms of marketing, customer service, product development and PR while executing their social media marketing strategies.
It is important to know that your customers are not interested in any of these things. What they see is your brand.
As a brand, you have to use social media as a tool to communicate with your customers, understand their pain points, and address them efficiently.
- Make your posts informative, interesting and interactive
- Add value through your content
- Ask for inputs
- Find out what your competitors are doing to address the pain points of their customers
Even the smallest of businesses can earn the highest returns by using social media intelligently. All that you need to do is engage with your followers, listen to their messages, react quickly and compassionately as and when needed, and come up with an emergency plan that helps you handle things when they go wrong.
Keeping in mind, the social media marketing mistakes to avoid, will help you not just in reaping the maximum benefits of social media but also in avoiding potential crisis situations that can harm the reputation of your business.
Hiren Panchal is the Co-founder and Promoter of India based Branding Company Litmus. He sharps his views with analytical mindfulness. Just as his doer attitude wins over his believer attitude with a thin line, his thought leadership aims at making leaders and not followers in his team. His creative insights have created brands worldwide and he’s commanding in the industry for +20 years.