Most modern businesses understand the importance of using social media to promote their brand and interact with consumers. Indeed, social media is at the core of many companies’ digital strategy, often delivering measurable results in terms of sales, leads and customer service. That said, there are many social media mistakes that we see time and time again: strategic errors that leave leads on the table and opportunities unexplored.
In this blog post, I will focus on just five of them and highlight why they are dangerous from a marketing perspective. If you’re already using social media for your business, great; but how many of these mistakes are you making? And how much better could your social media marketing really be?
You’re not listening to your audience
Your audience is speaking; but are you listening? Sure, you might see notifications appear on your dashboard but they represent a fraction of the social dialogue centered on your business, industry, service, products or competitors.
According to Brandwatch, 96% of people who discuss brands online do not actually follow those brands on social media. As such, business owners have to look beyond their own feeds to keep tabs on that chatter and obtain insights to influence overall strategy.
Utilizing social media listening tools is like turning up the volume on the conversations which represent opportunities for your business. Not only that, but they offer a unique means of researching a market, highlighting consumer demographics, gauging possible interest in new products and lines, reinforcing brand values, tracking the health of your company (and your rivals) and enhancing customer satisfaction.
By utilising a social listening tool, you can start interacting with leads in real time, or at any rate use the insights gained from monitoring chatter to improve your processes. They’re simple to use, too: mostly it’s a case of entering your relevant keywords and setting up alerts. The best of these tools (Awario, Mention, Keyhole) have powerful algorithms at their core and can yield valuable, data-driven results in no time.
You don’t have a clear objective
You’d be stunned at how many businesses concede to having no clearly defined goal. For those who manage to turn a profit anyway, it doesn’t seem like a pressing issue; but what if your business is stuttering? Wouldn’t it make sense to set meaningful objectives – to note exactly what you want to achieve in the months and year ahead?
This applies to business in general, but also to your social media strategy. It’s no good simply posting a selection of random updates each day, hoping to attract a steady stream of likes, shares, new followers and sales. Broadening organic reach is more challenging than ever, as the likes of Facebook have become pay-to-play platforms. As such, stimulating interest and growing your audience requires investment in advertising.
With social media advertising, you can forensically track engagements, and as such it is crucial to set clear goals. How will you define the success or failure of a campaign? How much are you willing to spend to win a customer? And remember, it is essential to connect your social media output to wider business aims (and ROI) from the get-go: if you don’t, social media can become a siloed platform, a form of brand waving with no real connection to the company as a whole.
You’re not optimizing for each social network
At this point, you’re probably utilizing a range of social media platforms – and largely that’s a good move, even if some succeed more than others. However, a common mistake business owners make is to simply replicate updates and re-share them on different platforms. Not only is this somewhat lazy, but it overlooks one key point: audiences on different social networks are not homogenous; they are unique, and the content they expect is unique too.
When using multiple social platforms for marketing the same brand, you need to think outside the box but also reflect the desires of users on those particular channels. In some cases, improving ROI may even necessitate the closing of social accounts which are not performing or are not aligned with your business objectives. Decreasing your post output may also yield better results.
Utilizing the correct platforms by scheduling engaging, custom-tailored content is the way forward. Focus on creating valuable posts that have been shown to work well on the platform in question, and pay attention to the direction of the networks too. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg remarked a few years ago that the service would consist mostly of video “within five years.” Twitter, meanwhile, works best with newsworthy items and company updates.
You’re stretching yourself too thin
The pitfall of being active on social media is that you’re, well, too active. So committed are you to driving brand awareness and gaining top marks for engagement, you wind up stretching yourself thin without really hitting the mark on any one medium.
As with any area of focus, you have to pay attention to which social channel is working and invest your time (and budget) accordingly. Using analytics to better appreciate which networks are paying dividends, and which are stagnating, is paramount.
This doesn’t have to be a burdensome process, incidentally: you can leverage intuitive social media management tools to save time handling your accounts, streamline your workflows and ensure your content reaches your target market at the most advantageous time. Importantly, they’ll help you drive meaningful engagement and yield tangible results, thereby ensuring you don’t spread yourself thin.
You’re not offering real value
One oft-cited mistake that remains worryingly common is this: you are too busy pushing your brand without providing value. While you may believe it’s smart to use social media exclusively to build awareness, users gravitate to these platforms to engage and interact – not to buy.
Social advertising has many merits, but you absolutely must mix it up by sharing other relevant, topical or shareworthy content to ensure you’re providing value. Create content – infographics, blog posts, videos – that answers a question or delivers a message that resonates with your audience. Content that humors, enlightens and gives pause.
Social is a two-way medium, so establish value by employing role reversal and asking your clients questions. Starting and then stoking conversations will undoubtedly improve your brand image and increase the likelihood of conversions.
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