It’s no mystery why approximately 81 percent of small and medium businesses maintain a social media presence. With 3.5 billion users worldwide, social media is a dream come true for businesses looking to reach a ton of potential customers.
Digital marketing over social media is a trend that continues to grow, as more businesses jump on the social media bandwagon. When it’s done right, there’s no greater tool for your company to increase brand awareness and generate leads than an engaged presence on social media platforms. But it can be virtually useless if your company isn’t doing it right.
Traditional marketing strategies may be misleading for companies hoping to connect with customers over social media. And familiar ways of using social media for personal use can also lead marketers astray. The most effective use of social media for your business centers on knowing your audience and positioning your brand within the right conversations, rather than promoting your product or service.
Are you making social media mistakes? Check out our list of the most common blunders we see companies making to find out.
Mistake #1: Not knowing the audience
Everyone understands how a billboard works. It advertises something for sale where it can be seen by as many people as possible. But for companies looking to increase their effectiveness, that's a big social media mistake. The most important thing a brand can do on social media is to engage dynamically with other users. And to do that, companies first have to figure out who their audience really is.
It’s surprising how often brands don’t have a clear idea of who they’re trying to connect with on social media. Knowing what content hits home with your followers and potential followers is crucial. And collecting followers and promoting your brand visibility with the right audience means figuring out what other interests your target demographics might have.
So, how do you develop a profile of who your audience is? The first step is to put together a detailed description of your target buyer persona. It’s important to consider details such as the location, education level, and role in the industry of the buyers you’re hoping to reach. Based on this profile, marketers can more precisely pinpoint the needs and concerns of their target audience. This is vital for being able to anticipate the groups to join where potential buyers are most likely to be found.
Bottom line: engage with your audience! Once you have figured out who that audience is, join groups, encourage and leave comments, and pay attention to what your followers care about.
Mistake #2: Using objectives instead of strategy
The best way to use social media for digital marketing involves developing a clear strategy for attracting followers, delivering content, and achieving an ROI. Unlike personal use of social media, effective digital marketing depends on maintaining a regular schedule of generating content. Knowing how often to post content or update profiles can make a huge difference for staying on the top of newsfeeds at key times of day.
Generating new content is crucial for keeping followers engaged and attracting the attention of potential new followers. A variety of different kinds of content prevents followers from tuning out or skimming past your company’s posts. Partnering with brand ambassadors and market influencers boosts the organic visibility of your brand: by working with prominent social media users, your company can benefit from dynamic interactions with brand ambassadors who your target audience follows and views as authentic.
Following a strategy can also help achieve and measure your ROI. It can be particularly difficult to prove the ROI of a company’s participation in social media, so it’s especially important to use analytics tools for tracking how your social media presence is doing. Social Media Examiner’s 2018 Social Media Marketing Industry Report found that only 44 percent of marketers agree that they know how to measure social media ROI, leaving two-thirds of marketers aren’t sure whether their efforts online are paying off. Measuring defined goals against analytics data can help your company identify and react to effective techniques, and improve your social media standing.
Mistake #3: Using the most popular social media platforms
Although the social media platforms with the most users may seem like the most effective platforms for digital marketing, platforms that allow you to engage with your audience can carry more weight than more popular platforms.
All social media channels have a differentiating quality that makes them appealing to specific audiences. So, start by identifying where your target audience is spending their time. For instance, if you are interested in reaching millennial buyers, then your social media efforts should definitely include platforms such as Twitter that millennials tend to use on at least a daily basis.
Once you’ve determined the most effective platforms for your company to concentrate on, be sure to tailor your content to those platforms. Although it’s easy to post the same content across all your accounts simultaneously, the foundation of social engagement is authenticity. Especially with automation tools, many companies post copied-and-pasted content on multiple platforms all at once. But this strategy risks undermining the authenticity of your brand. Work to create content—including video and images—that caters to specific platforms to build brand awareness and loyalty.
Mistake #4: Promoting instead of connecting
This is the big one! Social media platforms are all about fostering engagement among users. Users don’t want to engage with brands that push their products and services through standard marketing techniques. Instead, users will be drawn to companies that appear engaged with the same interests and objectives that they are. Users want informative, interesting, and, yes, even fun content.
The most successful companies on social media are the ones that find innovative and creative ways to engage with users. Brand loyalty arises from emotional bonds and trust that can form through social media interactions.
Greg Hadden, executive director of Motive Made Studios, sums up the power of connecting with users: “What often gets lost is the fact that good storytelling is potent stuff. It has the power to make people want to believe and to belong, which is the goal of all storytellers. We’re all selling something, be it an idea, an exploration of the human condition, or say, a vacuum cleaner. It’s no mistake perhaps that good stories often create products.”
What social media mistakes do you try to avoid?