Social media is a powerful business tool. It provides you with a way to reach a much wider audience and communicate directly with your target audience. However, many businesses set up profiles and never utilise the channels to their full extent. Social media can be a huge time killer so avoid these mistakes if you want to start seeing real results from your channels.
1. Lack of Strategy
Not having a clear plan or goals for your social media marketing activity is one of the biggest mistakes made by so many brands. We all know how important social media and having a presence is in the modern marketing world but not everyone knows how to use it to its full potential. Think carefully about what you want to achieve by using social media. What are your goals? Gaining likes and followers? Finding new sales leads? Building brand authority? The answers to all of these questions will fuel your content and determine who you’re talking to and when and where the posts you create are distributed.
In addition to HOW you’re going to use social media, you need to think about WHO is going to take care of your channels. If you don’t plan carefully, social media can be a real time killer and will not provide you with the return on investment you’re looking for. Used effectively, social media will bring great results. Choose certain members of staff to manage the channels and give them clear goals in order to maximise their time.
2. Failing to find your target audience
Although social media gives you access to an audience of millions, if you want social media to work for your business, you need to find a way to break through the noise and the best way to do this is to find out exactly who you want to target. This will help you to hone in on specific demographics and tailor your posts to meet their needs and maximise your chances of engagement. Otherwise, your posts are just a drop in the ocean and it can be really difficult to get yourself seen. If you already have a digital marketing strategy in place, you’re likley to have customer personas and a customer journey mapped out. Use this information and include your social media channels within your customer journey in order to help you create and post the most effective messages at the right time and on the correct channels.
Understanding where your audience shops, their hobbies, demographics and any other details you can find will help you to more effectively target them.
We see so many businesses who set up every single social media profile they can find. They spend hours perfecting their profiles with well-designed headers and profile pictures but, two months later, the profiles have been forgotten because no-one really has the time to look after them and no-one knows exactly what they should be posting.
Having an inactive profile can be more detrimental to your brand reputation than not having one at all. Have you ever visited a brand or person’s social media profile only to find that they’ve been inactive for the last few months? Did this make you think that maybe they’d gone out of business? Or just that there’s no one available for you to speak to if you need information or have a complaint? Make sure you have at least one post per day for each channel.
If you’re strapped for time, spend half an hour on a Monday and schedule a tweet per day for the coming week. There are a wide range of social media scheduling tools available to help you save time and prevent you from having to spend hours every day thinking of something to post about and posting. Don’t forget to check and see if there are any trends you can jump on the back of on a daily basis. Beware of scheduling too many posts, social media is all about communicating with customers in real time so monitoring your channels regularly will enable you to respond to questions or comments.
Each social media channel has its own unwritten rules for the number of posts you should send out per day. Posting too many sales messages is more likely to lose you followers and fans and completely misses the point of using social media.
By planning your posts, you’ll be able to spread them out depending on the channel that you’re using. The general rule for a Facebook page that’s getting good engagement levels should be between 1-5 times per day but make sure you check which times are best for your page and audience.
Twitter is a different ball game because information is consumed much more quickly. Anything up to 15 posts a day is considered reasonable on Twitter – you can even post the same tweet twice in one day or week because not all of your followers are going to catch your tweets at the same time of day.
You MUST respond to any comments made on your profiles. This shows your customers that you’re interested in what they have to say and you’re ready to engage with them. Customers want to feel as though they’re being listened to and that they have an input. If you don’t know the answer, responding to tell them you’ll find out the answer is better than nothing!
This tip also applies to NEGATIVE comments. Ignoring or deleting negative comments can actually be more harmful to your brand. Reply to customers and see if there’s anything you can do to make sure they have a better experience next time.
If you’re going to set up 2-3 profiles, you must make sure your branding is consistent across each one and with your website and various other pieces of marketing collateral. Your brand should be recognisable across all platforms to help you gain maximum exposure and engagement. If someone arrives on a Twitter profile that looks completely different to your brand, they might think they’ve come to the wrong place!
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest are just some of the channels available to you to help promote your brand. The temptation is to go wild and set up a profile on every channel, but this can leave you feeling overwhelmed and lead to neglected profiles.
To begin with, choose one or two channels that you know will reach your target audience and focus on those channels. Opening a range of channels and neglecting them is so much worse than only having a few live channels. Plus, there’s no way you’ll have enough time to post on and monitor so many channels unless you make it a full-time job!
8. All take and no give
Social networking is designed for interaction. You must always remember that it’s not a direct selling tool and if you use it as such, you’re going to be bitterly disappointed with the results. Interacting with customers and relating to current trends is the best way to use social media. The brands who do this build trust with their audience and develop a more loyal, repeat customer base. When using hashtags or joining in on conversations, make sure you’re relevant and appropriate to the conversation otherwise you could risk damaging your relationships.