The first step toward any goal is always the most daunting. Where do I begin? Are there any tips I should know about? Especially in social media marketing, it is crucial that you adhere to some very basic guidelines. In this article, we will discuss how to identify your audience, how to engage with them properly, and what the best strategies are for building your online community and brand. Making mistakes is part of learning but don’t let that be an excuse for making mistakes where you don’t have to! This guide will identify 10 major social media marketing mistakes you might not even realize you’re making, to set you up for successful social campaigns in 2019.
1# Undefined Goals and Targeting the Wrong Audience
Knowing who your audience is can be the biggest challenge you face while setting up your marketing goals. When setting up a campaign, it is important that you identify and lean on your target audience. Who did I make this product for? Am I trying to reach adults, adolescents, men, women? All of these questions are important for identifying your target audience so you can establish your initial goals for the campaign.
Once you have a target audience is you can decide what kind of results would be ideal from the campaign. You need to establish parameters and define your goals and KPIs. How many customers do you want to reach and at what engagement rate? Is our focus simply brand awareness, or are we trying to drive traffic to our website? The more specific you can be when setting your goals the better.
#2 Over-Promotional Content
Excitement about your brand and the desire to share that excitement can be a trap for social media marketing. Be vigilant about not over promoting. It is a best practice for your brand to be exciting and engaging – remember this is a social platform designed for interaction.
Self-promotion is a powerful tool and should be used to your advantage, but your content should serve the brand. A good rule of thumb is to have one self-promotional post for every four engagement posts. The more you engage with your audience, the more your audience will view your content adding value to those limited self-promotional posts.
#3 Autopilot Content Posting and Community Management
The best kind of post is one that feels organic. This does not just apply to the content of the post, it also has to do with how and when the post is made. There is a benefit to posting at different times of the day and different days of the week. It is important to post regularly and test which time and days garner the most engagement. It is just as important that in this digital landscape you keep as much human presence and interaction as you possibly can.
“Auto Pilot” content posting can be a useful tool if you are set up to be out of the office or need some extra bandwidth, but remember that you are managing a community of followers and engagement needs to be a top priority. Community management allows you to have real-time conversations with your audience and fellow users, capitalizing on current social trends by joining other conversations within your selected field. Promote and engage in discussions within the context of the brand to build and foster your online community. Engagement is crucial.
#4 Neglecting Paid Ads
Paid ads should be a staple in your social media marketing arsenal. There is no one size fits all strategy for paid ads. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat all operate very differently, and you will find different target audiences on each platform. Again, knowing your audience and where to find them is key! Twitter notes that 41% of users make a purchase within 30 days of ad exposure. Paid ads are all about exposure to those people you wouldn’t otherwise reach with hashtags and outreach.
- Bringing traffic to the business website
- Building brand awareness
- Generating leads
- Boosting engagement with prospects, etc.
As with everything in social advertising, you should have a game plan when it comes to paid ads. As we know, performance stands on the shoulders of correctly identifying the precise target audience. Running specified ad campaigns across multiple platforms can yield fantastic results regarding where the response was best. But remember, a one size fits all campaign is a no go!
#5 Skimping on Video Content
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth 10,000 pictures. Videos add a dimension of depth that words and pictures cannot achieve. The addition of sound and movement adds a level of engagement that other posts cannot compete with. And In a universe where captivating content is everything, why not use the most captivating content you can?
85% of the internet audience in the US watches online videos, and 92% of videos viewed on a mobile device are then shared. That means that every video you post has a 78% chance of reaching a user that you didn’t directly target. Video content is the epitome of working smarter, not harder.
#6 Ignoring or Deleting negative comments
Remember when I told you engagement is everything? Well, this is a big one! Ignoring negative comments does not make them go away, in fact ignoring it tends to make the problem intensify. 78% of people who complain to a brand via Twitter expect a response within an hour. The best brands are the ones that tackle their negative feedback head-on with understanding and friendly customer engagement.
You wouldn’t ignore a customer who came into a store complaining about how upset they were. The same goes for your online community. If you tackle the issue head-on, it subdues the person who had the issue and reassures the rest of your online community that you have a handle on the situation. Build trust and show that you care by engaging and addressing negative feedback.
#7 Trying to be present on every platform
With the immense variety of social media platforms, it is important not to overextend yourself. If you are running the show all by yourself, working with too many platforms at once can lead to a lack of engagement and devalue the posts you worked hard to put in place.
For example, Facebook places the most emphasis on post engagement, which means that if you are too busy with 3 other platforms to engage correctly on that one, your post will likely underperform. Again, the best tactic is to identify where your target audience is spending their time online and focus on those one or two platforms.
If you are really lost as to where to begin, try and stick to the big 3…Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
#8 Hashtag Abuse and Misuse
Hashtags can seem a bit daunting when you first begin using them. You want to make sure that you use enough for people to find your content, but there is always the risk of over tagging. With hashtags, it is important to err on the side of brevity. Most platforms have their own guidelines for choosing effective hashtags, and it is wise to familiarize yourself with how hashtags work with different platforms.
Hashtags should be poignant and brand-specific while also relating to the content that you posted. Common sense is your best friend when it comes to hashtags. Typically when you run out of hashtags that seem relevant, that is a good place to stop. Your hashtags should be a mixture of broad and specific.
It is essential to use some of the more popular hashtags to engage with a larger online community, but it is also wise to include those niche hashtags that better describe your content and brand. Typically the number of relevant hashtags varies between platforms, but you should never feel compelled to over-tag a post….over tagging could feel like desperation for engagement.
#9 Underestimating or Misunderstanding Analytics
Analytics is the centerpiece of a robust online marketing campaign, but they can easily be misconstrued or ignored altogether. Gauging metrics for how your content is performing should not just be limited to one measurement. In the same way we vary our posts across different platforms, we measure our success differently too.
Like I mentioned earlier, Facebook places its emphasis on post engagement while other platforms emphasize different aspects of performance. Across all platforms, these performance measurements are called Key Performance Indicators or KPI’s. KPI’s tell us how a post is performing to adjust our approach based on the strategy and goals we have created for ourselves.
For example – if your goal is video views on a Facebook post, you can use an analytics tool to see the number of views along with comments, shares, etc. These analytics can then determine your top performing video post. Analytics and metrics are just a way to gather data to make smarter decisions going forward. Just like hashtags, it can seem daunting at first, but it is all relevant information to help you make the best decisions possible.
#10 Running a one size fits all campaign
As you have probably gathered from the information thus far, a one size fits all campaign is detrimental because of how different each social platform is.
Because they all have different audiences, and different engagement practices, placing the same ad on Instagram that you put on Twitter would likely mean it would fail on one for the exact reason it succeeded on the other. You don’t have to create brand new content for each platform, that would be exhausting. But it is important to tailor your approach based on which social platform you are engaging with.
#11 Not monitoring your competition or tracking industry keywords
The social aspect of social media gives you a huge advantage when it comes to performing with your competitors. There is nothing they can do to hide their success when it comes to engagement. It is imperative to look at how your competitors are engaging and then identifying where they are succeeding and where they are falling short. Just like using KPI’s and metrics you can create a strategy based on how others in your field are performing.
Similarly, it is vital to make sure that you are findable. It is so easy to get lost in the ether of the social world so using keywords that apply to your industry are crucial. Keywords are words or phrases that drive organic search content. These words and phrases are what Google and other search engines use to optimize the results they show users when they search for something. The more you can use keywords to identify yourself and your brand, the easier it will be for people to find you. When it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), keywords allow you to stand out amidst the crowd.
#12 Not Growing Your strategy
All of these tips and advice on what not to do leads to this final point…you have to grow and adapt! With social media, the algorithms of platforms and user engagement are continually shifting, and your strategy must transform alongside it.
Engagement, tailored content, and using data to uncover trends, are all tactics that must be carefully monitored to increase and ensure continued success. Think of your social campaigns as buildings that will require constant upkeep and improvements. In the same way, you have to make sure your toolbox is equipped with the items necessary to make improvements and renovations when necessary. Ensuring that you are up to date on the latest features for social platforms will ensure that you don’t fall behind in your posts.
It may seem exhausting but making sure you are on the cutting edge of social media shifts, and changes will put you far and away ahead of your competition. Remember that the most important things you can do for your brand are to identify your audience and then engage with them regularly. As you build a brand, remember that you are also developing a community which will need to be fostered and cared for. Taking care to pay specific attention to your KPI’s will give you the necessary information to make the best possible decisions for your brand, to take the best course of action. Success in Social Media Marketing means having a steady stream of engaging material, that is tailored to each specific platform, to build relationships that will drive your business forward.