Today, social media marketing is on just about every business marketing agenda. The bounty of engaged consumers is a target business owners can’t resist.
But social media marketing is still a relatively new discipline that many businesses struggle with. In fact, when businesses come to Marketing 360® looking for social media marketing management, they most often sum-up their efforts this way:
“We suck at this. What mistakes are we making?”
Here are 6 of the most common social media marketing mistakes with tips on how you can avoid them.
#1. Self-Centered Posting
Social media is a great place to talk about yourself. And talk to yourself.
Digital tends to put you in your own world. We often sit alone, engaging with a device rather than a person. It’s easy to become self-absorbed. Then you post at people instead of for them.
If you are Taylor Swift, you can assume your audience is fascinated by your every move. Your mom might like your post about hiring a new secretary. For everyone else, self-centered posts are a dud.
Effective social media marketing is a dialogue, not a monologue. Even as a brand, think about engaging with your audience by showing interest in their content. Join discussions and share relevant, interesting, funny posts – even when they have little to do with your business objective.
Put social media into the context of a group conversation. Listen to others and recognize their views. If all you do is hog the conversation and talk about yourself, you’ll end up being your only audience.
#2. Failing to Speak the Native Language
When we do an audit of a business social media account, the most common mistake is too much content recycling.
For example, many businesses’ Facebook posts consist of nothing but reusing blogs, designs, images, or videos that were originally created for different platforms.
So say you have a 10-minute tutorial video on YouTube. You post it to Facebook, but on your follower’s feeds you’re doing great if you engage them for 30 seconds.
You post a complex infographic on Snapchat – that looks great in your blog article – but like the long video is too much for people on this fast moving platform.
To be effective at social media marketing, create content that speaks the “native language” of the platform you’re using. And be sure to keep up with current trends. What worked a year ago may be passé today.
Often, businesses want to create shortcuts that let them post across all platforms with the same content. There’s even marketing automation software that does this for you.
You can, of course, use the same concepts. Your website, blog, and social media all have a common theme. They are all storytelling tools.
But make sure you format for the platform you’re on. You have to spark interest where you are first if you’re to lead prospects to conversion pages.
This a common, obvious problem with social media marketing. Accounts that go weeks – even months – without new posts or community engagement.
Everyone knows when they have this problem. Business owners get caught up running their business, and don’t have time to market on social.
If this is you, it’s a good reason to hire some help. Maybe you can find someone in your company who is active on their personal accounts who can take over some of your business posting. Of course, you can outsource the work to professionals, which works well for businesses that need to gain serious momentum with their social marketing.
#4 Lack of Voice and Humor
One of the tricks with marketing and advertising today is creating materials that convey the intended business message, yet don’t make people feel they are being marketed to.
To create this perception, you need to develop a voice for your social media channels. Brand voice is:
- Bigger: put your product or service into a bigger context that goes beyond just features and benefits.
- Braver: develop a story with a point of view, humor, tension, or unexpected surprises.
- Bolder: create a voice that gives your brand a unique feel as recognizable as a logo or tagline.
Imagine you removed everything that identifies your business, like your logo, offers, and ads. Could you still recognize yourself? Do you sound unique, or just like your competition?
If you have voice, who you are, why you do what you do, and what you’re like to deal with will come through.
With internet marketing, one aspect of voice rules: humor.
This is just human nature. When you can get people to laugh, you have their attention. Winning attention is 90% of the battle with multi-tasking online audiences.
To boost your social, consider voice and humor. Studies show that social media content that’s interesting and/or funny is far more likely to get shared.
#5. Fear of Risk
When we talk to businesses about the mistakes they’re making on social media, we hear this:
“Our social media just seems gutless.”
This is a blunt way of saying they’re so concerned about not offending anyone with the traditional “customer is always right” attitude that they can’t create anything funny or take a unique stand.
Wendy’s became an unlikely Twitter sensation when they took a gutsy stand against a social media troll. To everyone’s surprise, a big corporation (usually the most cautious of social media users) stood up to the guy, implying that he was a customer who was quite wrong.
This, of course, connects to voice. A “gutless” business is dry and removed. With no wit or opinions, your social will become boring fast.
(It is worth noting that you do need to take care with your social media voice. You want to be authentic, but not offensive or misinformed).
Consider brands like Red Bull, Old Spice, or Taco Bell. Their stuff is funny, adventurous, colorful, and unique. The priority is to fit the native language of the platform and get shares more than convey the business mission statement.
Notice that often, their social media marketing is scarcely even about their products. Yet by relating on that level of human interest, they create and maintain brand awareness on social channels.
#6 Misguided Social Media Marketing Goals
The last, common mistake companies make with social media is setting direct sales/conversion goals from their social channels. CEO’s want to see direct ROI sales data.
They’re usually disappointed. Again, consider the social media audience. They are not on these platforms to shop or seek out services. They want to socialize with their friends and be entertained.
It’s better to think of social media marketing as a brand awareness campaign that feeds top of funnel sales goals. You make connections, spread your content, and create more awareness that you exist. Then, you create retargeting ads and other natural pathways to content that’s more promotional.
Bottom line: don’t try to shape social media channels around your business needs. Instead, meet your audience where they’re at. Then sow the seeds of your business message.
It’s possible to use SMM to reach a lot of people. But reach doesn’t mean grab.
You and your phone are the only ones who believe you deserve attention. To everyone else, you must prove it.