If you stop and think about it, social media is now a constant in almost every aspect of our lives—work, politics, breaking news, keeping in touch with friends, you name it. In fact, the growth in global social media users is continuing to climb, with over 76% of internet-using U.S. adults engaging on one or more social media platforms, according to Pew Research.
Social media marketing is now a critical strategy for businesses large and small. You might be thinking, “It’s only social media, how hard can it be?” The answer is: for a brand, it can be very hard. While the ever-evolving social landscape gives us new and exciting ways to engage with our audiences, the changes require us to be agile and able to learn quickly, sometimes through trial and error.
The good news is with a smart, detailed and succinct strategy, many of the most common social media marketing mistakes can be averted. Here’s a list of three common mistakes marketers make when it comes to social media marketing and how to avoid them:
1. Jumping in Without a Long-Term Strategy for Growth
Businesses often rush into social media without taking the time to develop a detailed, smart strategy. Social media marketing requires both a short-term and long-term strategy that includes content development, an editorial calendar, social listening, customer service, engagement, and measurement. You get what you put in, and if you don’t track your progress, you won’t know the impact of your efforts, let alone be able to explain them to executives.
Ensure you have a dedicated resource, such as a social media marketing manager, who can develop a brand voice, drive a strategy that aligns with your business priorities, and maintain customer relationships. As with all things, quality takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your social media following won’t be either. As Mark Schaefer, speaker, author, podcaster, and consultant at Schaefer Marketing Solutions, said it: “Usually, the expectations are too high about what social can really accomplish. Building a big audience is fine, but these are weak relational links. It takes time to grow an actionable audience, and businesses chronically overlook this.”
2. Treating Your Social Platforms as Megaphones
Yes, social media can be used to get the word out about your solution and bring some recognition to your brand. However, buyers on social are discerning. They want high quality, educational content, not a sales pitch.
To support your social initiatives, frame your thinking around your audience’s needs and interests. It’s imperative that you seek to provide value to your followers; otherwise, you’ll lose their attention and ultimately, the conversion. Join in on the conversations going on around your brand and industry and engage with your followers. Build relationships by responding to inquiries, providing customer support, and participating in social chatter, like tweet chats. According to John Jantsch, speaker, author, and marketing consultant at Duct Tape Marketing, marketers often make the mistake of “still viewing social platforms as awareness or broadcast channels. If you have 10,000 fans and only 10 of them get your message, it’s not really serving.”
3. Forgetting What Worked Yesterday May Not Work Tomorrow
New advancements in paid social and account-based marketing (ABM) have created a unique way for marketers to understand their audiences better than ever before to serve up relevant messages at just the right time. Customization and personalization are becoming the norm, and it’s inevitable that platforms are evolving to allow its users more flexibility in how they want to tailor their content feeds. But what does that mean for social media marketers?
In order to break through, brands will need to be savvier in how they connect with and engage their audiences. As Brian Fanzo put it, “I believe too many are creating strategies focused on where their audience is today and locking in a mindset that not only doesn’t embrace change, but forgets to factor in where their audience will be tomorrow. It’s not about being on every network; rather, I believe you must be listening and learning how and why others are on social networks you haven’t explored yet.”
In order for any social media strategy to be successful, you need to cover a few bases to keep problems from developing both early and late in the game. First and foremost, start with clear and actionable goals. Establish your objectives and define how you’ll measure results. Understand who your target audience is and what they want, and then frame your thinking around your audience’s needs and interests, not your own sales pitch. And last but not least, flexibility is key! Social media platforms continue to evolve, and where your audience is today, they may not be tomorrow. Start with the basics and before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to success!
What other mistakes have you seen in social media marketing? Share them below, along with how you’d fix it!