Done well, social media is a powerful and cost-effective marketing channel that can help businesses grow.
When developing a social media marketing strategy, it is natural that some mistakes will be made. There is a lot of trial and error when finding what engages with your audience the most.
However, mistakes can have a negative impact on your business, resulting in a loss of followers.
Here are common mistakes that brand managers should avoid when using social media.
1. Not having a social media plan
Businesses just starting out on social media may be tempted to jump right in and start posting without having done any research or generating a plan of action. Like the rest of your business’ strategies, going forward without a well thought out plan is a disaster waiting to happen.
Your social media plan should include:
- How often you will be posting updates
- Ideal posting times based on the different platforms
- Upcoming holidays or events relevant to your business
- What content is relevant to your business that your audience will appreciate (not just content about your business)
- Where you go for content
- How often you check analytics (we recommend monthly)
A content calendar is a useful tool to organize your research and put together your social media plan for every month.
2. Not learning about your customer base
You can add people to your contact list and get Facebook fans and Twitter followers ‘till you’re blue in the face. However, if you don’t know who they are, those Facebook fans or Twitter followers are useless to your business. You need to make sure you’re engaging with your customer base. Find out who they are and what they’re interested in to convert those fans and followers into solid sales leads.
3. Attacking every social media platform
Not every social media platform is perfect for your company, nor is it required for you to be present everywhere. Take the time to evaluate which one or two social media networks are best for your business and devote your time to make them a valuable resource.
4. Treating all social media sites the same
Each social media network is different. It’s important to learn how people are communicating and sharing on each site.
Many businesses blast the same exact message at the same time across all their social media networks not realizing that this can come across as fake, impersonal or even spam-like. To avoid this, you need to be strategic when writing and posting. Make sure you are writing different status updates for each social media network.
Also, make sure to learn a bit about how your Facebook fans and Twitter followers are responding to posts on your social media networks. What are people engaging with more? What times are you seeing the most activity? Once you learn these two things you can better plan your social media updates so your business is getting the most out of every post.
5. Making your social media all about you
Your consumers do not need constant updates about how awesome your company is; if they follow you it is because they already know.
An easy guideline to follow to make sure you don’t spend too much time talking about your brand is the 80/20 rule. In general, most of your content (about 80 percent) should be unique and relevant information that is not directly about your about business. This can be anything from a funny meme to an interesting article that relates to your industry.
The remaining portion of your content is where you can talk about how great your brand is; share new product information, services, blog posts or anything else that directly speaks about your company.
6. Waiting to respond to your audience
It’s important that you listen to what your audience has to say, what they want and then respond in an appropriate amount of time. Waiting even an hour to respond can potentially turn off a potential a new customer and have them heading towards your competitor. A simple acknowledgment of their comment or message can be enough until you’re able to give them your full attention.
To make sure you don’t miss messages from your followers, turn on your notifications and keep an eye out for them.
7. Not having a complete and updated social media bio
The first thing a fan sees when they check out your social media network is your company’s bio. If you have nothing written in your “about” section or it’s missing your businesses’ location or website, you’re missing a huge social media marketing opportunity.
If people don’t know what your company does then why should they follow your social media network? Don’t assume that people know who you are and what you do. Even big brand names make sure to have their about section filled out in detail.
Be creative! Try to make your “about” section intriguing, fun and engaging. If you’re writing your bio and it seems boring, then it is most likely boring to your Facebook fans too. Check out these two bio sections for some inspiration: bareMinerals and Jamba Juice.
8. Focusing on quantity, not quality
Many businesses are far too worried about the number of Twitter followers or Facebook fans they have, but that number doesn’t necessarily translate to sales. The truth is, your business needs to be more worried about the quality of your fans and followers. It’s more valuable to have a hundred highly engaged brand advocates than a thousand followers or fans that never engage or share your brand.
The goal is to build a strong community of loyal, lifelong fans who will boast about your company to their friends and family.
9. Abandoning your social media account
Companies with inactive accounts will lose customers due to the fact that people will assume the company is out of business, unfamiliar with social media or doesn’t care enough about its consumers to offer current information.
Take the time to deactivate or delete the account if you find that you’re not able or don’t want to keep up with a social platform instead of leaving it up for the world to see. If your social media needs change in the future you can come back and start anew.
10. Being too simplistic in measuring your efforts
You cannot base the success of your social media campaign off a couple of new likes or comments. There is no point in launching a campaign if you don’t seek to see it through and analyze its effectiveness.
Regularly checking the analytics will help you discover which tactics, content and media types resonate with your audience the most.
11. Not checking your grammar and spelling
If you constantly make mistakes, it can cause you to lose credibility with your audience. Frequently misspelled words and grammar errors will make you look unprofessional and that you don’t take own work seriously.
You have an image to maintain. Making sure your work is neat and correct will show your audience that you pay attention to detail. It doesn’t take long to ask a co-worker to review your updates before you post them, so ask for a second opinion before you hit “publish.”
Do you have any mistakes to add?
Danielle Winski is a publicist with Three Girls Media, a PR Agency based in Yelm, Washington. A version of this article originally ran on the Three Girls Media blog.