From multinationals to local micro-businesses, social media opens up a world of opportunities that just aren’t possible in any other medium. While websites, messaging apps, broadcasting and even printed media all have their uses, none of them has such a wide reach or the potential for user engagement. That said, marketing on the various platforms isn’t as simple as people think and it’s easy to make mistakes. Here are five of the most common social media marketing mistakes.
1. The ‘one size fits all’ approach to posting
Most brands make use of multiple social media platforms so they can reach out to different groups of people. While that can be beneficial, it’s a mistake to treat each social media audience the same. Every platform is different, appealing to different types of people and offering different ways for them to engage with each other and the brands they are interested in.
The common problem is that some brands simply post the same material across all their social media channels without considering how it needs to be tweaked for different audiences or the specific needs of the platform itself. So, while a post might work well on one channel, it could have zero impact on others or, even worse, get a negative reaction that can affect brand awareness.
While time can be a restraint that forces brands to publish the same posts across the channels, it might be of more value to post less overall and spend more time making bespoke posts for each platform.
2. Half-finished social media profiles
Social media profiles enable you to provide lots of details about your brand that users find useful and which can increase engagement and drive sales. Just as importantly, the completeness of your profile sends a message about your brand to your audience. When it’s complete and has been clearly worked on, it shows your audience that you are a professional business that cares about how you present yourself in public and that you take your presence on the social media channel seriously.
Indeed, just as with the company website, if some of the key information is missing, it raises questions about the brand’s trustworthiness that can result in lost business.
3. Forgetting to engage with the audience
The reason it’s called social media is that it’s there to encourage social interaction. People and brands post to get a response, whether that’s to start a conversation, get a comment, an emoji, a like or a share. The more you engage with your audience, the more your posts will be viewed and engaged with in response.
The mistake is to simply click ‘post’ and forget about the platform until its time to post again. Instead, you should comment on, like and share the posts of others and respond to comments left on your own posts. This gives a clear indication that your brand is making an active social contribution and cares about developing relationships with its audience – all actions that can have an enormous impact on how successful your brand becomes on that platform.
In addition, you’ll also need to think carefully about posting material that is likely to engage your audience. What will get them commenting, liking and sharing? How can you generate a discussion? This harks back to the ‘one size fits all’ point at the start because, to get this right, you’ll also need to consider what should be done to engage the different audiences of each platform.
4. Just advertising
Perhaps the most common mistake of those new to social media is to post nothing but adverts and other promotional material. If you consider how many adverts you simply swipe past and ignore on social media, you’ll realise that this is not the most successful way to promote your brand.
While you should make use of the platform to do a spot of advertising, it should not be the bulk of what you put out there. Again, this comes back to engaging. Posting about other things, especially those that have value for the audience, can have more traction and grow the number of followers you have. When you finally do post an advert, this will then be seen by a larger number of people who are already invested in your brand and are much more likely to make a purchase.
How do you do this? Well, if you’re a hair salon, for example, post a video showing how to look after your hair, share photos of your customers’ new hairdos or post a list of the best products to use. Alternatively, share some user-generated content that’s not your own but which is relevant to your brand. None of these are adverts but they can all foster greater engagement and interest in your business.
5. Not having a long-term content plan
The final common mistake is not having a long term content plan. Professional social media marketers have content calendars that plan out the post’s they’ll need to create months down the line. It will take into account the crucial marketing times of the year, like the run-up to Christmas or annual sales, as well as when there are opportunities for engaging with specific groups, like mothers’ day, summer holidays, FA Cup final day, etc. In the vacant spots between these key times, you can then plan to do other posts that are best suited to the time of year.
Additionally, a content calendar enables you to timetable in things like new product launches and special offers, while giving you an overview of the different types of content you need to produce to ensure that its not all about advertising. This way, you’ll have your entire business year planned ahead, helping you create a strategy that’s effective and which gives you the potential to work in advance and schedule posts for later release.
Eradicating the mistakes mentioned in this post can dramatically improve the chances of your social media posts being more effective at engaging audiences, growing your followers and driving more customers to your website.
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