Even the best brands and most successful companies make mistakes, including when it comes to their marketing.
You don’t always have to do something wrong before you learn to do it right, though — with the following tips, you’ll be able to avoid a mistake (and learning the hard way).
These social media marketing no-no’s can be applied to just about any type of business.
Avoiding Questions Your Audience Asks
If you’re posting content and getting responses from people, you have to be present to answer those questions.
Even though brands understand the importance of social media marketing, they still often ignore questions.
This is a big mistake, and one that can cost you customers. When audiences see that you’re present and attending to your customers, they’re more likely to trust you. Handling questions, queries and comments on social media improves brand loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing.
Belonging to Every Platform Possible
Certain brands are suited for certain social media platforms.
For example, a highly visual brand may do well on Instagram and Pinterest, but a more professional, services-focused company may not have enough content to stay effective on those sites.
If you’re just starting out, pick one or two platforms that you think will be impactful, and master your strategies on them before considering adding more.
Also, keep in mind that as you test other platforms, you may find that you don’t like them, that your audience isn’t using them or that you’re not able to create the type of content that’s in-line with your branding.
When this happens, don’t be afraid to take your profile down, close the account or scale back how often you use the platform.
If a social media site isn’t helping you in some way, there’s no point in wasting your resources just to keep your profile afloat.
Boosting Low-Performing Posts on Facebook
At first, you may think that it’s a good idea to boost a low-performing Facebook post so that you can make something more of it.
However, if people didn’t respond well to your post from the beginning, you’re not going to get as much bang for your marketing buck as possible even with a boost.
Instead, focus on boosting the Facebook posts that are already doing well.
You shouldn’t be posting to social media with the expectation that every single thing you put up will be cherished. Try thinking of your social media posts as research.
You’re figuring out what works and what doesn’t, and using that information to tweak your strategy and content moving forward.
Ignoring Other People’s Great Content
Even if you regularly churn out excellent content of your own to promote, it’s a mistake to not also curate content that your audience will love.
While at first this can seem like you’re driving traffic elsewhere instead of to your own website, it can actually be pretty beneficial for brands.
Yes, you hear a lot about how much competition there is out there, but some connections can be used to actually help you succeed.
If you promote content from another source that you know your audience will love, your audience will learn to trust you to truly solve their problems instead of focusing on your own agenda.
The best way to do this is to look for content that complements or enhances your own content.
This way, you can provide the guidance your audience wants without having to create content that may be slightly off brand or not entirely in-line with your main goals.
Ignoring Your Audience’s Content
If you have a popular product, that means that there are a ton of buyers out there who already own it.
Those people may be already posting to Instagram or other platforms and featuring your product, or they may be easily convinced to do so.
By creating social media feeds that are partially user-generated, you show that you care about your customers and what they have to say.
This can get a bit tricky if you sell services instead of products, but don’t assume you can’t find user-generated content.
If you go to a retreat or conference and take photos with other professionals, customers or fans, they may have already posted to their own accounts.
Find those posts and share them on your own social media, always remembering to include a credit to the original account and photographer.
Leaving Up an Inactive Account
There are a lot of reasons why you may not be using one of your social media accounts. Maybe you’re not sure what kind of content will work best on it.
Or, maybe you set it up before you had the content to fill it.
While you want to plan in advance, it’s not a good idea to setup an account and leave it inactive, or to use it for a while and then let it go stagnant.
You’d be better off having no account than a dead one. Your customers will think that you don’t care about your presence and that you’re not organized or professional enough to keep a social media feed going.
Linking to YouTube Instead of Uploading Native Videos
There’s no doubt that YouTube is insanely popular, but when it comes to video content, people like native videos better than YouTube-linked videos.
Native videos are shared more than YouTube videos. If you’ve been simply linking to your YouTube videos, try uploading them to the actual platform to see if it increases your shares or engagement.
Be sure your hosting platform can handle the bandwidth needed before attempting this so you don’t overload your website’s host.
Only Promoting Your Products or Services
While your social media is intended to get more customers, you can’t do that by putting “buy this!” messages in their face constantly. You should only be posting promotional content 30% of the time at the most.
The rest of the time, you should be sharing content that will entertain, educate, inform or engage.
This doesn’t mean you have to go off-brand, just that you shouldn’t be pushing sales that other 70% of the time. For example, if you’re selling an e-book, 30% of your posts can be a direct call-to-action to purchase the e-book.
The rest of the time, share inspiring quotes related to your e-book or direct your followers to blog posts they’ll find useful.
There’s a line between changing your posting schedule to make the most of your content and being so inconsistent that your audience doesn’t know what to expect.
Create a posting strategy that includes when and how often you’ll post.
Then, if you need to change it, do so methodically and with purpose.
If you want to keep your posting strategy fresh but you don’t want to lose followers or trust, play around with the times of day and days of the week that you post.
Your audience will still have a steady stream of content from you, but you’ll be able to feel out if certain days or times have a bigger impact.
With scheduling tools, you can choose the perfect schedules for each platform and then drop your content in to be sent out when you want it to go live.
Posting Way Too Much
If you’re posting all the time, odds are you’re prioritizing quantity over quality. Even if every single post were informative, helpful and interesting, though, you could still be overwhelming certain social media platforms.
For example, audiences on Twitter have a much higher tolerance than audiences on Facebook, so your posting frequencies should be different.
If you’re posting a lot of great stuff but you’re still not getting the engagement you want, scale back a bit. Try posting one-third of how much you are now and see if the stats improve after a couple of weeks.
You can also experiment with different types of posts, like videos or polls, to see if that helps shake things up.
Using the Same Exact Content Over and Over
Let’s say you have a new blog post that you want to promote on social media. There’s one specific line that you feel your audience will relate to, so you want to get as much traction out of it as possible.
Your plan is to post that one line, along with the link to the blog post and your featured photo, to each platform.
What’s wrong here is that you aren’t thinking about the type of content that does well on each platform. A great one-liner can be turned into a visual quote for Instagram or Pinterest; posted with the right hashtags on Twitter; and then used as part of a longer post on Facebook.
Or maybe you should only use it once or twice, on the platforms with the audiences that will relate most to it.
One Last Thought
Social media can be a great tool for savvy brands and marketers, but you have to make sure you’re following best practices. By avoiding these common pitfalls, you can make your profiles as impactful as possible.
Harnessing the power of social media means accessing an incredibly powerful platform that can be used for practically free.
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Updated: Originally published March 28th 2018