All savvy business owners adopt strategies for marketing through social media because they know it is an integral component of any modern marketing strategy, to propel a brand or business quickly and to give it wide exposure on a potentially global scale.
There is a plethora of social media tips and tricks that marketers can use to enhance all marketing activities and to make social media work for their business. It is, however, critical that you get it right – so that your social media marketing activities help as opposed to hinder your business and brand. Making a great first impression on social media is crucial to ensure you are not lagging behind competitors, or worse, going into damage control to counteract the impact of a poorly considered post.
We have all made social media mistakes … but there are some more common than others. When marketing through social media, business owners and marketers should avoid these mistakes at all costs. Adhering to the philosophy that “forewarned is forearmed”, here they are (in no particular order):
- Having no social media marketing strategy
Any business or brand that does not have a social media marketing strategy isn’t going to propel your business forward to deliver an effective message to their target audience. You need to have a distinct social media voice that reflects the philosophy of your brand, and reflects and conceptualises your goals as a business. Your business’s social media strategy needs to be considered and measured, so your content is appealing and engaging to your followers.
MUST READ: Check our blog on the 9 ways to make social media work for your business
- Too many accounts on too many platforms
It’s important to post quality content, but many businesses jump the gun by creating accounts on numerous platforms without fine-tuning their content. Each platform appeals to a different demographic and each post needs to be tailored for its target platform. Rather than creating accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn and Instagram simultaneously, choose just a couple that reflect your target consumer base and that complement your brand. Posts need to be regular and of high quality; an account that is stagnant will not reflect at all well on your brand.
Keep the focus of your social media activities on a small number of platforms until such time that you can be assured of offering regular, relevant, quality and appropriate content on each and every channel that you choose to use. And remember to select your platform on the basis of your target user – middle-aged and older consumers are extremely unlikely to use Snapchat, for example.
- Only posting about your brand
You want your social media content to be appealing and engaging. No matter how much someone likes your brand, they don’t want to be bombarded with advertising. Keep your posts directly about your brand to no more than 10-20 per cent of your content at most. Fill the gaps with informative, amusing and inspirational content. Your entire content should not be a sales pitch!
- Hashtag misuse or overuse
The use of hashtags can help your post reach enormously, but beware:
Hashtags can be very divisive; people tend to either love them or hate them.
Too many social media users have adopted ridiculous hashtags for personal posts without understanding their true purpose, and excessive or inappropriate use of hashtags will potentially annoy your more intelligent followers. Limit hashtag usage – keep them relevant, concise, and limited in number. Not every post needs a hashtag, and any more than two hashtags at a time is probably excessive. Make the hashtag work for you, not against you.
- Paying for inauthentic followers
Let’s face it, when it comes to owning a social media page, for many it is all about the likes. A page with many hundreds or even thousands of likes will help to influence the prominence of a business and offer it validation. This, however, only rings true if the likes and followers are authentic.
An enormous number of business owners pay for followers simply to make their page look good; it doesn’t offer any real traction if they are not authentic and regularly engaged with the page. As a business owner, you want to build a genuine follower base and genuine customer relationships – fake numbers might initially look good, but they don’t translate to anything good in a concrete way.
REAL LIFE EXAMPLE: An example of this was when Facebook recently deleted millions of accounts in order to clear pages from fake likes. Brand pages were purged from inactive users and all those that had been paid for disappeared from like counters. “Clickfarms” operate primarily from third-world countries and operate solely for the purpose of a brand (for example, a celebrity) buying followers – paid for on a per-like basis. Under the crackdown, any inactive “liker” was removed. As a result, Justin Bieber, for example, found his follower base diminished by three and a half million.
- Too many posts
When you post appealing content that is relevant or valuable to your followers, they will look forward to seeing what you have coming up next. When you post too much or too often, however, you simply clog up your followers’ news feeds and this quickly becomes annoying. The result is that they may unfollow your page.
Strive to share posts on a regular basis, in a consistent way. You can use an online scheduling tool like Buffer or Hootsuite to pre-schedule your posts and space out their publication based on days and times. This allows you to plan your content, when what type of post is published and to avoid spamming or overwhelming your followers.
- Failing to edit
There is little that looks more unprofessional than content of any kind that is poorly edited or that has not been proofread. Spelling errors, problems with punctuation, grammar and syntax, and repetitive or nonsensical content is off-putting and will actually drive a significant number of followers away. Just like a poorly edited book will be put aside in favour of another that is better-written, so too will poorly edited social media posts be rejected. It may seem petty to many, but sloppy attention to spelling and grammar is tremendously annoying to some and it suggests potentially poor attention to other aspects of your business – and this can be very harmful to your brand.
If spelling and grammar is not your forte, enlist a professional or another pair of eyes to check your posts before you publish them.
- Forgetting that social media is a two-way conversation
We have mentioned it before, and we will mention it again: social media represents a two-way conversation. Social media users expect pages they interact with to interact in return. You needn’t reply to every comment, but acknowledgement gives that personal touch and creates camaraderie between you and the consumer. Make sure the voice you use reflects your brand but doesn’t take itself too seriously nor too flippantly. Always respond to questions and queries; always respond to negative feedback and address concerns.
- Not humanising your brand
By humanising your brand by being engaged with your followers (as opposed to simply preaching to them), you create a connection and a personal touch. You should also reward follower engagement with sneak peeks at new products, competitions, discount vouchers, and other incentives.
By following these social media tips and tricks to avoid making these common social media marketing mistakes which can quickly alienate your target customer base, you are on the right track to having an effective social media marketing strategy in place. Any social media campaign will take time and it is an ongoing commitment. It should be used to complement traditional marketing activities.
Social media is ever more vital for affecting business growth, and the right platform for your brand presents a unique opportunity to grow your business – by enhancing your visibility. Create the right first impression, and consolidate it with each and every post you share.
Social media is a great tool for raising awareness, generating leads and boosting your bottom line. If LinkedIn is your preferred social media channel, check out our free LinkedIn eCourse to help you get the most out of the platform for your business.