Social Media is a world of opportunity. It’s one of the most simple and effective methods to expose your brand to new audiences. Every marketer hopes to get as many eyeballs on their product as possible, and in doing so, it’s not unusual to make a few mistakes along the way.
Social media can be unforgiving, and mistakes can be pretty severe learning experiences. Even if you’re trying to avoid them, they’ll still happen from time to time. We’re only human after all! Putting some best practices in place will stand you in good stead for mitigating those risks, so here’s a few things to avoid doing on social media.
Not Having A Plan
While everyone enjoys winging it from time to time, this doesn’t really work with a long term social media marketing strategy. Posting random stuff on social media whenever you feel like there’s a content opportunity is a big no no. Social media needs to be as planned out just like any of your other marketing strategies, whether that’s SEO, email, or content etc.
All these strategies should have something in common, which is a set of specific objectives you want to achieve. That’s what you need with social media, outline what you want to achieve, and how you intend to measure your success. Once you’re at this stage, you can then begin to outline how to get there.
Not Defining Your Audience
Everyone and their dog is on social media, literally. While a cute golden retriever might make a fantastic news feed appearance from time to time, they’re unlikely to want what I’m selling. Narrowing down your audience is critical. Concentrate your efforts on the demographic of people who actually fit in your target audience. It can be done by location, age, interests, job role, etc.
There are a load of categories that you can use to narrow down your audience, catering your content and social media strategy to accommodate them.
Treating Every Platform As Equal
Nothing in social media is uniform. Every platform has a different audience that uses a different language. In the same way that you can’t speak Russian to get by in the UK, you have to use the language local to that specific site. A number of people are on a variety of social media platforms, but the way we use each of them individually is massively different.
You can adopt or adapt content to suit each individual platform’s needs. TikTok is unlikely to be as polished as LinkedIn, for example, while Instagram might host great media, and Twitter great conversation. Every platform has its own audience, some may be better or worse for targeting yours.
Try and find the right tone of voice for each circumstance. If your brand voice is very official, it might be too boring. If it’s too casual, it might come off as unprofessional, or offensive. A balance is very difficult to find, and naturally everyone’s balance will be a little different. Making sure your brand voice is reflective of your business and that it connects with your audience are the key criteria.
This is sort of the definition of ‘stupid vanity metrics’. Follower count might look all sparkly, but if you’ve bought them all it might as well say 0. Botted and bought followers will count against most social media’s search algorithms. If you have 50 followers and your post gets 5 likes, that’s a 10% ratio. If you buy 1000 followers, most of whom aren’t interested in your posts, and your post gets 10 likes, that’s a 1% ratio.
Fundamentally, the more engagement you get, the more social media thinks it’s a good post, the more it will show it to people. It’s a feedback loop that you want to be on the good side of, not the bad side. You’re not chasing follower counts (or you shouldn’t be), you should be chasing conversions, engagement, leads, etc.
An Unresponsive Profile
One of the biggest pluses of social media is that you can interact with your audience in real time. Why then, would you choose to have social media if you’re not going to interact at all. If someone asks you questions, responds to your content, shares your content, makes a comment about your content, anything under the sun really, then respond. Establishing a connection is hugely important from an audience point of view and from an algorithm point of view.
Audience’s will feel like their feedback, criticism, or praise is noted, and it will establish a relationship. Customers or clients are far more loyal to brands if there is an established connection. Social Media is not just a megaphone where you can give yourself shoutouts. The ‘social’ element sort of implies there’s a conversation, so make one! If you’re responsive and active on social media, algorithms will look at your content favourably.
This responsiveness also applies to any negative comments you get. Unfortunately not everyone is going to love everything that you ever do, sometimes that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Acknowledge problems, don’t shy away from them, or delete them, and try to apologise and learn any lessons that you can. If someone is just being outright rude or offensive then don’t take any notice, but if someone is disappointed or upset at your service and wants to complain, let them know you understand.
Hashtags are a big one for your social media marketing strategy. A hashtag will bookmark your content to a specific search query forever, so be sure to use relevant and specific hashtags if possible. Use your best judgement for hashtags, but don’t overdo it, #Everyone #Hates #Tonnes #And #Tonnes #Of #Hashtags… #Please #Stop.
Not Utilising Full Features
Most social media platforms have a variety of features that go unused by most businesses. Live chats, stories, highlights, moments, bookmarks, etc. These are all features that you could use to streamline your profile. If you are constantly asked the same questions, maybe add some highlight bookmarks with access to an FAQ. If you have resources for training which people want to access, consider having a CTA for them accessible on your profile. Posts, shares and comments are fantastic, but they’re not the only way to share your content on social media.
Newsjacking is essentially taking advantage of any trending stories to try and boost your engagement or following. This one doesn’t necessarily shout ‘avoid’ with lots of big red tape. It’s more of a caution. Trending news, events, or challenges can all be worthwhile to your brand, but just err on the side of caution if there’s something that’s on the fence. Evaluate the implications of sounding insensitive, ignorant, or offensive and decide if it’s best to just sit this one out.
Social media is a fantastic tool with so many purposes. It can be great for lead generation, customer experience, and just as a portal to share all your great content. Try to fine tune your strategy with solid foundations. Social media marketing needs a plan, an outlined audience, and outlined objectives. Once you’re there you don’t try to take any shortcuts by buying your way to a blue check, and utilise all the features you can get your hands on. The golden rules really, are to be responsive, be engaging, don’t be boring, and don’t be offensive.