Social media isn’t easy. There’s always a new platform you should sign up for, or a new feature you need to learn about. And everyday you’re reminded of just how far behind you are.
If you do a million things well, they may go unnoticed. But if you make just one bad mistake — just one — you can be the source of criticism for months, and maybe even years, to come. You’ll probably even have quite a bit of crisis communication and damage control on your hands.
But here’s the good news. By simply addressing a few mistakes with your social media strategy, you can improve your results and finally catch your breath.
1. Lack of planning
As with any business activity, social media needs planning. A social media marketing plan needs objectives, strategies, a realistic allocation of time and money and a clear understanding of why you are doing it.
2. Using social media as a standalone campaign
Social media marketing should never work in a standalone campaign. Integrate social media with your existing digital marketing campaigns. Use appropriate phrases and keywords, optimized sales and landing pages to support your sales process and to drive interested visitors to purchase your products.
You are not finished after you have created your fan page, video channel, or blog. Let your target audience know about it. Leverage internal media and PR including your offline marketing campaign to promote your social media initiative. On your owned media, include social sharing options to broaden the reach with your campaign.
3. Spreading yourself too thin
You should decide whether or not you need to focus your efforts on one social network in particular, or if you have the bandwidth to stretch yourself out across Flickr, G+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterst, 500px, Picasa, your own blog and other areas. Is it better to be on a network and not be active, or just not be there at all? We’re beginning to think if you can’t participate, don’t bother posting images, pins, tweets or Pluses.
4. Over-promoting your business
Avoid hyping your business too much – if you spend all your time talking about yourself and how brilliant you are, the message will be lost. Look at what other, related businesses have to offer, and don’t be afraid of promoting someone else’s (relevant) products.
5. Not talking to the market
It’s essential to build a relevant audience of customers and potential customers for each social media outlet. Make sure your posts are relevant to their needs, so that your community grows and reacts positively to what you say.
6. The next big thing might not be the best
Social media is really fun and new social media channels are launched every day that attract lots of attention because they are new. This doesn’t mean you should jump on the bandwagon and join every one of these new platforms. Determine which social media channels are best, in the long-term, for your business.
The biggest question you should ask yourself is “what is the long-term impact on your audience, brand, and profitability?” if you are going to use that channel. For example, will you be able to build a following on Pinterest?
7. Ignoring what your followers say to you
If someone responds to a blog post, acknowledge it politely – even if it’s critical or disagreeable. Respond positively and quickly to any comments on social networks. If you just ignore what people say, it could indicate that you’re unresponsive – and if they feel that, they’re likely to go elsewhere.
8. Wrong Content
Pictures of cats are the most frequently shared item on Facebook. Reddit has a category “Advice Animals” for exactly this kind of content. Do not be fooled by the cute or witty creature.
You will not successfully brand a company you wish to be taken seriously, or get many relevant business deals, by creating animal images. Throw in one or two, but do not make these animals (prepare pun:) the meat of your campaign.
9. Not measuring
It’s vitally important to measure whether the resources you devote to social media marketing are well spent. Your social media plan needs measurable goals and targets. Check what analytics are available for the social media platform you use, and search online for tools to measure your key metrics.
10. Not getting attention
In many social networks, it can be hard to get attention. If you post a Facebook status update, it will eventually (if not immediately) get lost in the massive flood of updates clogging the stream. The same goes for Twitter and LinkedIn (groups).
The solution to this problem is not to shout louder; in social media could mean repeating the same status update multiple times in a short span or writing in CAPITAL LETTERS. The result will be annoyed friends/followers likely stopping to follow you. Instead, be consistent and persistent with strong material. Keep producing high quality content – people will eventually notice it.
Social media and content marketing are not quick and easy solutions for business success. Take the time necessary to develop your online reputation and understand that it’s not a one, lane road. Social media engagement is a multi-way highway that requires precision, stamina and awareness.
Remember also, it helps to enjoy the ride.