‘Social media marketing’ is a blanket term for anything you do to promote your website or business on social networking websites. You can have a presence on most of these sites, even if you’re not selling products that are directly related to the content they host. Social media marketing is any activity that will generate more traffic and customers for your business via online social networks.
Businesses tend to skimp when it comes time to budget for social media marketing. Still, quality downgrades are inevitable unless you avoid seven mistakes common among companies who fail miserably at social media. These mistakes won’t necessarily prevent you from getting links or increasing your search engine rankings. However, they may prevent you from maximizing the benefits of trust-building, brand awareness, lead generation, community-building, or any of the other myriad benefits you could enjoy by being an effective social media marketer. Social networks are about interacting with people who I can help most
1 . Failing to set aside time for social media marketing if it is already part of your job description.
What may have worked just fine when you were a small business run with minimal overhead will not work if your company’s growth causes you to hire employees. A social media manager (or managers) needs to be on your staff. If more than one person has access to company accounts, ensure they coordinate ahead of time, so nothing falls through the cracks.
2 . Too much reliance on automation tools without first finding out which tasks should be automated and which should not.
Auto DMs and IFTTT (If This Then That) recipes can save you a little time, but they’re often better for big brands that communicate with less frequency. If you don’t post often, then these tools may reduce the odds that you’ll be seen at all. If you want to automate processes, such as photo posting, consider outsourcing it through Instagram or Pinterest instead of Twitter if your business is more visually oriented. At the very least, keep an eye on how many engagements each automated message receives before committing to any new automation ventures. Sometimes it’s best to let people do things manually to build connections and drive engagement. The same goes for your employees: Let them know when they should be sharing updates and when they should not.
3 . Failing to prepare your employees for social media marketing efforts.
It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many businesses neglect to train their employees about anything related to their company—much less social media marketing. Before your staff members are unleashed on the public at large, make sure everyone knows what’s OK to say in public online spaces and what isn’t. If even one person violates this policy, it can damage the reputation of an entire business. People need to understand any restrictions, so they don’t do things like mentioning products or prices in a status update unless it directly relates to something just sold or is being given away for free. As long as someone remains employed by your company, that person’s social media activity reflects on the company.
4 . Failing to post regularly.
As a business owner, you may not know what it takes to keep people engaged daily—much less a weekly one. Make sure your social media manager knows what counts as ‘regular posting’ for you personally and as a brand so they can make sure those updates go out on time. Posting with consistency helps nurture relationships and establish trust with those who see your name pop up in their feeds over time, which is extremely valuable for getting links back from authority sites or generating leads via content upgrades. In some cases, you’ll need even more frequent posts because of the broad range of topics mentioned above.
5 . Not engaging with people who mention your brand online.
Not everyone sees every status update posted on Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media platform. The people who do see these updates are not just part of your audience; they are the people most likely to advocate for you by sharing their experiences with your company or recommending that others do business with you. Engaging with the people who mention you publicly is essential—even more so than connecting with those who send private messages. Of course, this means someone must be assigned the task of watching for posts about your brand and responding accordingly. You cannot reply if you don’t know what’s being said about you! Although it can be tempting to use automated tools like TweetDeck or HootSuite to track mentions of your brand, it’s important to remember these tools can fail. No one wants a spammy response from an automated account, so only engage with people if you have the time and energy to do so correctly—and if you have someone monitoring public posts on your behalf.
6 . Not being mobile-friendly.
50% of daily Internet usage comes from mobile devices between smartphones and tablets. Google has announced many times that its search engine ranks websites higher for both desktop and mobile searches when those sites are mobile-friendly. If someone looking for your company lands on a page that doesn’t look right or load quickly enough, they may never click through to the rest of your site. Don’t let your marketing strategy fall behind just because you’re not on a mobile device.
7 . Creating too many social media profiles.
Once upon a time, it was acceptable to create profiles for your business on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+—and even the professional network for moms, Meebo.com. Nowadays, it’s best to use a single account on each site and make sure they all represent your brand appropriately from top to bottom. Each social media platform has its own rules about how users should behave within their networks, which is why it makes sense to have one unified presence instead of several scattered ones online. In most cases, people will expect that if they add you on Facebook or add your Pinterest profile, for example, you’ll have the same name and information across the board. That being said, it’s also still a brilliant idea to create profiles for your accounts—such as one for your blog or other websites that only you should use to control what gets posted there. The more unified these profiles are, the better.
Ensuring that social media is a part of your marketing plan can be challenging in today’s day and age, but if done right, it can help bring a lot of visibility to your business online. Of course, making sure not to make any of these mistakes will immensely improve this process, so avoid them at all costs!