In our tech-driven world, we’re living the majority of our lives online. In fact, a new report found that consumers spend more than four hours per day using smartphone apps on average.
That’s welcome news for businesses that are looking to reach new customers. Now that mobile traffic now represents more than half of all web traffic, according to Think With Google, there’s arguably never been a better time to get active on social media and make connections with shoppers.
As such, social media marketing has become an integral part of brand promotion. But that doesn’t mean it’s foolproof.
If you aren’t careful, you could make some critical mistakes with your social media marketing. Here are just a few of those mistakes you should avoid to ensure your marketing efforts go off without a hitch.
MISTAKE: Posting Without a Strategy
If you want your business to be profitable, you need a solid game plan.
That means you can’t simply “wing it” with any of your marketing. Nor can you post for the sake of posting. Instead, you need a well-developed content marketing strategy.
Having a content strategy for your business can allow you to determine what, when, and where to post for maximum value.
Rather than publishing a new blog or Facebook post whenever you remember, you should map out your goals and figure out how to achieve those goals with your content creation and distribution.
Without an overarching strategy, your content simply won’t resonate with your audience. It’ll confuse them and provide little to no value for them.
In the end, that means your followers won’t click, share, or make a purchase. They’ll just scroll on by.
You should have a strategy for all of your content marketing efforts, but it’s particularly important for social media.
Backlinko reports that 3.96 billion people now use social media on a global scale, with 70% of the U.S. population saying they have social network accounts.
And since a staggering 90% of people buy products or services from brands they follow on social media, it’s crucial that businesses leverage the power of social.
You can only do that, however, if you establish and follow the right roadmap.
Posting without a strategy will lead to inconsistency, a lack of direction, and poor performance monitoring.
We know that social media algorithms like accounts that post regularly. You also need to provide value to customers each and every time you post if you want to appear in their feeds more frequently.
Failing to start (or refer back to) a strategy will result in content that doesn’t align with your goals. Your posts may be too infrequent, out of sync with your brand voice, or won’t prompt followers to engage.
Before you get on Instagram or LinkedIn and start posting, you need to devise your strategy first. Really hone in on your goals, research the best platforms for your brand, and come up with a system that helps you achieve your aims consistently.
MISTAKE: Forgetting to Engage With Your Audience
The allure of social media can all be traced back to the concept of connection. This is, after all, why social networking sites were developed in the first place!
These platforms provide a way to build relationships and share information from afar. Whether you’re catching up with a lifelong friend or you want to learn more about a product, social media provides you with endless opportunities to get what you’re looking for.
In other words, coming up with valuable content to post is only part of the equation. You’ll also need to work on audience interaction if you want to build your following, boost your brand perception, and drive traffic to your website.
Because the market is so saturated, you’ll need more than a top-tier product or service to make an impact on buyers. You’ll need to show them what makes your brand different from the others – and that involves some level of personalization.
Basically, you’ll have to demonstrate what your brand is all about and why customers should care. Leading with your values is a great way to get the conversation going – but you can’t just post and peace out.
Instead, you’ll need to become an active participant in the discussion. In general, that means your brand should feel accessible to your followers. You’ll have to respond thoughtfully to comments and direct messages of all kinds. Ignoring these interactions (or just responding with a “like” or an emoji) isn’t really going to cut it.
Customers want to know that they’re being heard. Whether they have a legitimate concern or they simply want to tell you how much they love your brand, you need to be available to and engaged with them. If you aren’t, chances are that consumers will look elsewhere for solutions.
By remembering to connect with your customers on social media, you’ll make the most of your efforts and improve your overall brand perception on a consistent basis.
MISTAKE: Responding in Anger or Panic
We mentioned above how crucial it is that you engage with your audience. There is, however, an exception to this rule – and it’s when you can’t keep your emotions in check.
Whether you’re the newest hire or the CEO, you’re a representative of your brand. And that means you can’t afford to let your feelings get the best of you.
It’s natural that you might become defensive if a follower criticizes your brand or tags you in a post that could have major implications for your reputation. Because social media is so powerful, these events can quickly spiral out of control – particularly if your response is off-the-cuff and less than calm and collected.
While you should aim to respond to comments, tags, direct messages, and the like as soon as possible, that doesn’t mean you should always rush to respond. You should establish a process for dealing with customer service inquiries or PR problems and make sure your team is on the same page about how to handle issues that will inevitably come up.
In the end, you should lead with empathy and never let your followers see you sweat. Staying silent isn’t an option with ethical issues, but you should also resist the urge to respond right away to defend yourself.
And if you do mess up, don’t blame the intern. In fact, don’t pass the buck at all. Even if there’s some truth to it, customers want to see accountability from brands.
MISTAKE: Dismissing the Power of Ads
Digital ads play a major role in today’s marketing campaigns. But if you’re currently sticking to PPC ads or website display ads, you might not realize what social media advertising can do for your business.
According to HootSuite, social media ad spend was predicted to increase by 20% in 2020, reaching an estimated $43 billion. And while costs are down, impressions are high. Around one-fifth of customers say they discover new brands and products through paid ads on social media platforms.
That’s not to say that every social media ad is successful. Bad social media ads can do a lot of reputational harm. But if you stay away from this opportunity altogether, you’ll be missing out – especially because platforms like Instagram are becoming increasingly brand-centric.
If you get it right, you can reach new demographics and leverage these powerful platforms to your brand’s benefit.
Avoid These Missteps and Make the Most of Social Media Marketing
Social media is always evolving, which makes your job even more difficult as a marketer or business owner. But if you’re able to prevent these problems before they happen, you’ll get more out of your marketing efforts and become a brand to watch (for all the right reasons!) on social.