Social media marketing is such an established and proven part of the marketing landscape it can feel foolproof. But there are plenty of mistakes to be made, and even things that seem inconsequential can impact the effectiveness of your social marketing and leave a window open for your competition.
Here are some common mistakes you can easily avoid:
1. Not blogging - Blogging is the best way to get your thought leadership out there, so you want to take advantage of it. Don't worry if you can't blog constantly - it's not about volume, it's about consistency (if you can't post consistently, it's better to not have a blog at all). Once a week is plenty if you can't do more.
And if you do have to forego your own blog in the short-term, it doesn't mean you can't get your ideas out there. You can blog on sites like LinkedIn and Medium, and offer guest posts to appropriate venues when you have something to say.
2. Leaving behind a social graveyard - When your potential customers go searching for you on social media, what do they find? A Twitter account that hasn't seen a post in three years? Either get it going or shut it down, because having something out there that you're neglecting looks worse than having nothing at all (see above re: blog).
If you've spread yourself too thin by trying to be everywhere (which is another mistake - because you don't HAVE to be), focus on the platforms that make the most sense - even if that's only ONE. It's better to use one really well than use four haphazardly. Use a scheduling program like Hootsuite to keep yourself on track.
3. Cross-posting identical posts on varied platforms - Twitter limits you to 140 characters, but Facebook doesn't. Neither does LinkedIn. So why would you share the same post across all three channels? You shouldn't - not just because you have the opportunity to offer more info at some over others, but because the audiences are different, which means content should be as well. Or at very least the lead-in to the content should be.
4. Failing to make use of visuals - Even if you don't have the kind of business that lends itself to fun behind-the-scenes videos or on-the-job selfies, there's always SOMETHING you can do to cash in on the higher engagement that visual posts provide. Create memes that link to your blog posts and share them on Pinterest; or share relevant Vines that speak to your product or service in some way. Be creative and break out by doing something unexpected.
5. Focusing on output and ignoring interaction - Engagement is a two-way street. You can't just keep throwing spaghetti onto the Web's wall hoping a piece sticks. You need to cultivate relationships by retweeting, replying, sharing, commenting, and continually building your network. Showing an interest in (and sharing) what others post will get them interested in sharing the things YOU post. There are a number of formulas to follow if you need examples - what's important is making sure it's not all about you.
6. Being all business all the time - And those formulas come in handy here as well, because while you always want to be PROFESSIONAL, that doesn't mean you can't show your human side once in a while. In fact, depending on your business, you might need to show your human side more often than not, as promotional posts drive some clients away (direct sales is one business where this is really important). Just keep in mind the "social" part of social marketing - and don't do anything to sabotage yourself or your brand.
There are many ways to do social, and it's changing all the time - but no matter what else is happening in the social evolution, attending to these basics will keep your brand's social foundation strong enough to allow for experimentation with new platforms and strategies, while keeping your competitors at bay.
What other social mistakes should brands watch out for? Share your tips in the comments!
IMAGE CREDIT: MARCIN WICHARY