Social media marketing mistakes can sink a small business in a heartbeat. And that’s because social media marketing is a must for brands these days, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t risks associated with this tactic.
Many brands aren’t properly utilizing all the tools at their disposal to reach their perfect audience on social media. Many businesses are also entering social media marketing without a solidified game plan and rules of engagement. At best, both types of businesses are missing out on potential revenue; at worst, they’re risking serious public relations disasters.
To help you navigate the twists and turns of the digital marketing landscape, our social media marketing experts compiled a list of common social media marketing mistakes for your enjoyment. Read on to learn the common social media pitfalls small businesses make in their marketing and what you can do to avoid these mistakes!
Common Social Media Marketing Mistakes
#1 – Cookie Cutter Messaging
If you’ve read about marketing in the past, you know that marketing is essentially putting the right messaging in front of the right audience. That sounds good on paper but can be a little harder to implement in practice. Social media is no different.
There are a couple of different areas to remember this. The most obvious is the messaging you use on different social media platforms. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all cater to different audiences and your messaging should reflect this.
Depending on your industry, it’s completely ok to prioritize one platform over another. If you sell a physical product geared towards a younger audience, you should spend more time crafting your Instagram strategy than on Twitter. That might not be true if your ideal demographic skews older, in which case Facebook will be more valuable.
The next area to evaluate for cookie-cutter messaging is within one social media platform. The best way to do this is through paid social media advertising.
Paid advertising lets you target specific audiences and tailor your messaging to those audiences, capabilities that non-paid or organic social media lacks.
If you need to reach a particular audience with a unique message of ad ASAP, paid social media is the best way to do it. While this does cost a bit more, the ability to select the audiences you want to reach pays dividends. Trust us; well-targeted ad campaigns are worth the investment if you want to put your messaging in front of the right audience.
#2 – Chasing Vanity Metrics
A lot of business owners understand that the brand awareness social media marketing can offer them is a valuable thing. Since many of us use social media in our private lives, we understand the metrics. Shares, likes, comments, and retweets are typically more accessible to the average person than other marketing metrics and it’s easy to feel a sense of satisfaction when one of your posts receives a high number of likes.
However, don’t make the mistake of only chasing these metrics at the expense of other goals. A good example of this would be examining a Facebook ad campaign and walking away satisfied with the results if the ads received a lot of likes. But if the goal of the campaign was to drive sales, then driving great engagement in the forms of likes and comments isn’t a substitute for clicks and sales.
Obviously, an ad set that is receiving a lot of likes and comments is still valuable! You’re putting your message out there and making an impact with your audience. But, don’t think that likes in and of themselves are the end goal for every social media marketing strategy.
That’s why it’s so important to set a social media marketing Key Performance Indicator or KPI at the beginning of any social media marketing campaign so that you know what the benchmark is and are constantly striving towards it.
Don’t get distracted by what looks like progress. Use beautiful images and videos, clear calls to action, and well-written copy to advance towards that well-defined end goal and drive the right results for your business!
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#3 – Not Developing A Comprehensive Style Guide
Social media reflects society at large. After all, it’s in the very name “social!” This means that any and every type of content can be found throughout social media, from the humorous to the more controversial. Many businesses don’t codify their social media rules before launching social media marketing campaigns and this can cause confusion.
- Should your brand engage with any content that involves politics?
- How about egalitarian causes that are politically-slanted, but are not inherently about political parties?
- What types of humor are in bounds?
If you don’t set a style guide for your entire team to operate from, you’re likely to end up with embarrassing situations.
Sit down with your team, develop a comprehensive social media style guide, ideally as part of a brand style guide, and clarify the rules of the road.
#4 – Making it all about You
There is nothing wrong with a little self-promotion. Feel free to share your content, advertise new products, and update your customers on new business updates for your brands!
However, there is a balancing act here. People log onto social media to have fun and relax. They might be interested in updates with your business, but you will need to entertain as well.
A nice mix of industry content, personal posts about your staff, promotional updates, and branded photography and videography is a good start.
Again, don’t think that you can’t talk shop on social media, but if you’re constantly making an elevator pitch for your brand on Facebook, you’re probably losing followers.
#5 – Missing the Mark on Humor
Humorous posts are a balancing act. On the one hand, no one wants to follow a stiff and robotic social media account. People get on social media, after all, to have fun and methodical and forgettable posts about your product aren’t exactly a good time. Sprinkling in humor and keeping a light and upbeat tone is a great idea.
However, the pendulum can swing too much the other way. Attempts at humor can fall flat and damage your brand and leave you looking at best hapless, at worst heartless. We’d recommend reading this article on social media marketing whiffs for some examples.
We’re not saying to abandon any post that isn’t about your product. Humor is a valuable aspect of a social media marketing strategy, so it’s imperative you make your audience chuckle from time to time. To help that goal, we’d recommend you follow these quick pointers for auditing a joking post.
- Always Review. The more eyes weigh in on a post, the better. If multiple members of your team consider the post brand-safe, non-offensive, AND genuinely funny, you’re most likely in the clear and can go ahead and post it.
- Keep it G. There are use cases where a brand might operate in an industry where risqué or adult humor could be pertinent to your audience. However, you likely do not fall into this camp. To avoid any potential slip-ups or PR nightmares, ask yourself if you’d be comfortable showing the post in question to your priest, rabbi, or imam. That’s a good rule-of-thumb for if the post is within bounds.
- Stay Positive. Dark or deprecating humor has a place, but it likely isn’t on your brand’s social media accounts. Again, refer to the priest/rabbi/imam rule-of-thumb and if in doubt, ask another member of your team to weigh in.
#6 – Mishandling Negative Feedback
Negative feedback is a part of life when you sell a product or service. It’s just life. However, too many brands take umbrage at any criticism in their comments sections and can become combative with the reviewer. Don’t do this.
Be sure to respond to the review or comments professionally, empathetically, and promptly. In the best-case scenario, you might convince the reviewer to revise or delete their comments. However, even if this doesn’t happen, you’re demonstrating to other customers that you care about your customers and are willing to professionally handle bad feedback.
And that’s way more effective than arguing with or ignoring poor reviews.
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