Everyone who starts a business wants it to succeed. The methods to get there may change and evolve, but this fundamental principle stays the same. Marketing has always been core to business, allowing companies to connect with customers.
The mass adoption of the internet brought about a new era of business. Ecommerce was born, allowing companies to trade and advertise online. The rollout of the IoT (Internet of Things) will revolutionize this even further.
The use of social media as a marketing platform continues to grow at a phenomenal rate. In 2021, over 91% of US companies with over 100 employees used social media marketing. Eight years earlier, this figure was nearer 86%.
Social media marketing is an unavoidable component of modern business and isn’t going to go away. Business planning must now include it, alongside logistics, staffing, and strategy information technology.
There’s still a lot of misinformation surrounding social media marketing. This can lead to a poor understanding of how it works and unrealistic expectations. Business owners can waste a lot of time, money, and resources as a result.
The world of social media can be pretty ruthless. Its users can be very fickle, and it doesn’t take much to lose your audience. A simple oversight or blunder could see you drop followers in huge numbers, never to return.
There are classic mistakes that people continue to make in social media marketing. Let’s look at what they are and what you can do to avoid them.
- Thinking all social media platforms are equal
- Going off-brand
- Posting too much
- Poor user engagement
- Not using analytics
- Getting friends to follow you
- Lack of planning
- Make social media marketing work for you
I. Thinking all social media platforms are equal
The social media landscape has constantly evolved since its introduction. Many new platforms have emerged in this time. Although they share some functionality, don’t assume they are all the same. Each one has specific characteristics that distinguish it from the others.
Identifying these differences can be to your advantage. Each social media platform has its own audience, so cater your content to speak to them. What’s acceptable on one platform may not be elsewhere, so pay close attention to who you’re addressing.
Define your audience. An easy starting point is to look at demographics, and establish key characteristics. Selling car accessories? Then your target customers should be car owners. You should also consider factors such as age, gender, location, and income.
Demographics are important to outline who your audience is. Understanding the type of person they are will give you even greater insight. Look at their interests, values, and lifestyle choices.
If these match with your brand values, you are in a much better position to connect with them.
Look at your current customers. Consider how they use your product or service, and what they find most appealing about it. Understanding your existing client base will help you engage with your potential one.
You don’t need to be across all the available platforms. As they’re all different, they won’t all be suitable for your needs. Focus on the ones that most closely match your target demographic. This will help maximize engagement with potential customers.
More than two billion people use Facebook each month. Yet your marketing strategy might not be compatible with its demographic. If this is the case, Facebook Ads might not be the right platform for you.
II. Going off-brand
Brand values are essential to a business. Aligning yourself well in the marketplace will build loyalty. People can become emotionally invested in a brand and feel it makes a statement about who they are. When people trust a brand, they’re more likely to buy from them.
A 2021 study found that 78% of US consumers will buy from a brand after a positive experience on social media. This is why it’s so important that your social media marketing reflects your brand. An obvious way to do this is with content that directly promotes the business.
Posts that reflect your company’s values and personality are a more subtle method. They should highlight the principles of your brand, and engage with those that feel the same way. This is a superb way to create an affinity between business and customer.
Social responsibility is an increasingly visible concept in contemporary business. Over half of consumers take company values into account when making purchases. If ethics are central to your brand, then make sure you promote this through your social channels.
You should have a brand proposition. How does your audience view you? What value can you bring to their life, or what problem can you solve for them? Think about what makes you unique from your competitors. Articulate that in your messaging, and how it will benefit your customers.
You may consider posting other material which is interesting, funny, or thought-provoking. If this isn’t brand-aligned, it can be damaging to your business. People can become confused about what your brand stands for and become disengaged.
Managing a company’s social media presence is a complicated process. Your staff must have the appropriate skills. For peace of mind, you could consider arranging compliance training for them. This will help provide clarity on their roles and responsibilities.
III. Posting too much
It can seem challenging to maintain your social media presence. Worries about not producing plenty of content and fading into obscurity seem valid. In fact, the opposite is true. A high volume of frequent posts can actually have negative consequences.
Social media fatigue is when a user experiences overload with online activity. As a result, they may start to unfollow certain pages, including yours if you over-post. You need to produce enough content to keep your customers interested but not so much that you overwhelm them.
Look for tell-tale signs that you are losing connection with your audience. You may be getting fewer comments on posts. Track your interactions and you should get a feel when your output isn’t landing well. Users may be getting bored and need fresh ideas to keep them engaged.
Negative comments are a strong indicator that all is not well. If someone is becoming overwhelmed by social media, they may lash out on your channels. Offer to discuss the issue with them via private message. Viewing a public escalation is off-putting to other users.
Video content is more popular than ever, and a great way to connect with your audience. If your viewers are switching off early, then review the content. Can you get the key messages across sooner? Do it. Getting the point across sooner will get you more views and shares. If you are getting fewer conversions, reduce the number of posts that contain a call to action. Not all your output needs to result in a sale. Social media fatigue can cause users to stop sharing your content. In turn, this can stunt audience growth.
More concise posting can result in better customer engagement, leading to conversions. Consider what’s of more value. One well-thought-out Instagram post that takes users to its shopping feature or ten posts that don’t?
Posting less also has the benefit of freeing up resources for your team. It takes a lot of time to produce content all day, every day!
IV. Poor user engagement
Social media has dramatically changed the way companies communicate with their customers. In the past, a business would control the narrative, deciding what would be spoken about and how. Social media interaction instead creates a two-way conversation.
Brands have the opportunity to listen to their followers and show they care about them. Your social media strategy should incorporate responding to users' posts. Steer the conversations in a positive direction, addressing any concerns or negative comments.
Positive interaction with your audience will bring significant benefits to your business. People are more likely to make a purchase, show brand loyalty, and share their good experience with others.
Customer communication means you must reply when they get in touch, without delay. Customers love the instant nature of social media messaging, and expect a swift answer. Slow response times can lead to complaints and a negative reputation.
42% of consumers expect to hear back within one hour. Only just over a quarter of companies actually deliver on this. Over half take over 24 hours, and some do not respond at all. Refusing to engage with your customers is rude, and damaging to business.
If you have a high volume of social media output, you may struggle to manage user interactions. Why not consider outsourcing? A remote contact center can handle this for you. They will meet customer expectations and maintain your brand voice.
If your output isn’t receiving any traction, you need to flip the script. How much you post is irrelevant if your followers aren’t engaging with the content. Reconsider your marketing strategy, and reposition yourself to meet your audience.
V. Not using analytics
So you’ve created a well-planned social media marketing campaign. All the material looks great, and you’ve delivered as scheduled in the content calendar. But how effective has it been?
Social media analytics is the only real way to find out. Without gathering hard statistics, you won’t have measurable insights into how the campaign met its objectives. All that hard work and no way of telling if it was worth it!
The collected user data looks at metrics such as post engagement and conversions. An analytics tool generates performance reports, which can inform future marketing decisions. It can tell you what worked well, what didn’t, and how you can improve.
There are countless analytics tools available on the market. Take time to research one that will be a good fit for your business, and those using it. Use cross-platform analytics to integrate all the available data. This will help you to see the bigger picture.
You can use social listening tools to monitor posts on your channels. These analyze conversations, and gain insight into the perception of your business. Discover how people feel about your brand, particular products, or industry trends.
The great thing about using analytics is getting instant and real-time feedback. Social media marketing is fast-moving and dynamic. It also costs a lot to put in place. Can you afford to not be fully informed about the value of your output?
Analysis should be an ongoing process. The online world is forever changing. Because a campaign worked once, there’s no guarantee it will be a success in the future. A coherent analytics campaign is invaluable to keep you one step ahead.
Analytics can also be insightful when compared against other strategies. SEO optimization is different from social media marketing, but they can work together. Specialist optimization, such as enterprise SaaS SEO, demonstrates this.
VI. Getting friends to follow you
It’s easy to ask your friends to like your business on social media. It's also incredibly tempting, especially if you are starting out. Friends will be happy to show support, and you boost your follower numbers. Everyone’s a winner, surely.
Well, no, actually. Although it may appear to make your page look more credible, it can actually harm your social media goals.
Say a friend follows your business on Facebook but has no interest in the product or service you offer. After seeing a few posts, they’re likely to switch these off. Facebook then registers this as a negative reaction to your page. Your reach is then restricted as a consequence.
Some go further, and try to swell their ranks by adding strangers to follow them. Another big mistake! Again, people will disengage from your channels, adversely affecting the algorithms. You also annoy lots of people in the process, and create a poor image of your brand.
Both of these approaches can seem desperate. You are asking people to engage with your business who have no interest in it. You need better followers, not more.
It doesn’t matter how many likes, followers, and subscribers you have. They won’t be interested in what you have to offer if they aren’t your target audience. And you are stopping your business connecting with those who are.
There are more efficient ways to expand your following. Social proof is the concept that humans change behavior in response to the actions of others. User-generated content is a fantastic way to build brand trust with your followers' connections.
VII. Lack of planning
Social media as a marketing tool is more popular than ever. Despite this, some companies still don’t have a cohesive strategy to manage this. Posting with no clear goal, this “hit and hope” approach is a huge waste of time for the business and its followers.
To make it a worthwhile pursuit, you need to answer these key questions:
- What are you trying to achieve?
- What do you need to achieve this?
- How will you measure success?
By neglecting to address these areas, you may be putting your business at harm. Operating without a clear strategy can cause your followers to disengage. They expect to be able to engage with you via social media. A poor strategy may compromise your ability to achieve this.
A successful business needs a clear and defined goal. This should be in place from the start, establishing what your business is, and what you are trying to do. Once you have established your purpose, use strategic supporting goals to achieve this.
Social media marketing is a great way to help meet your primary business goal. Every post you make should support your main objectives. Make sure your social media goals are clear, and what return you expect from them.
Use a content calendar to manage your output. Planning ahead and scheduling is more efficient than posting haphazardly. You can work out what is best to post, and when. This approach will also help to build consistency in your brand voice and style.
Social media production requires resources. How long will it take to generate the content? Does it need graphic design? Will you pay for sponsored posts? These are some of the factors to take into account when creating your strategy.
Also, remember that social media is only one way to interact with your customers. Consider a more holistic approach. Make your social media strategy an integral part of an effective communication plan.
VIII. Make social media marketing work for you
The world of social media marketing can be daunting. There’s a lot to take on and a lot at stake. But if you can avoid the common errors we’ve looked at, you’re halfway to winning!
Technology has always led and shaped business practices. Social media marketing is no exception. Software is increasingly sophisticated, using functional testing automation tools to improve its performance.
The means to succeed are there for the taking. Don’t make the mistakes that hold so many businesses back. If you can master the art of social media marketing, the rewards to your business can be huge.
Grace Lau - Director of Growth Content, Dialpad
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Grace Lau also published articles for domains such as Mirasee and Solutions Review. Here is her LinkedIn.