Social media is now one of the main marketing channels for companies and, according to Statista, 90% of American businesses have set up accounts on social networks to stay in touch with customers and advertise their products. This percentage isn’t at all surprising, considering that social media marketing is both affordable and effective.
However, simply being on social media is not enough to grow your business. Mistakes in your social media strategy can cause a drop in the follower count and even affect your reputation. One Smart Insights analysis revealed what, while 80% of companies think they provide exceptional customer service on social media, only 8% of customers agree with this.
The first step in perfecting your SM strategy is pinpointing its flaws, so what are all these mistakes that brands don’t realize they’re doing?
1. Applying the same strategy for all social networks
We may be referring to all networks collectively as “social media”, but they’re not the same. Every social network has its niche and demographics, so applying the same strategy for Instagram and LinkedIn will limit your performance. For example, Instagram caters more to younger audiences and focuses on visual content, while LinkedIn is addressed to professionals and features insightful industry articles. When developing your SMM strategy, it’s important to differentiate between these platforms and deliver relevant content for each audience. Otherwise, your posts, though technically correct, will miss the mark and be ignored by your followers.
2. Ignoring your analytics
You cannot optimize your SMM performance if you don’t know exactly how audiences engage with your posts, which is why no strategy is complete without analytics and tracking. Marian Weldon, Digital Marketing Manager at PickTheWriter, explains: “No one gets it right the first time. Developing a sustainable SMM strategy requires a lot of fine-tuning, not to mention trial and error. In this experiment, analytics tools show you what is going according to plan and what aspects need improvement”.
Not tracking your results means basing your SMM strategy on luck. You will never know what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong, so there’s the risk of spending your budget and not getting any returns.
3. Avoiding customer interactions
Some marketers believe that posting some company updates or announcing a promotion is enough activity for social media. While these updates should be a part of any SMM strategy, you also need to interact with the audience and create useful, meaningful interactions, not just post one-way messages. According to the same Smart Insights study mentioned in the beginning, brands only send one customer response for every 23 promotional messages, which isn’t enough. To connect with your audience, you need to show the human side of your company, respond to comments, be helpful, and engage with followers without having a promotional agenda.
4. Handling negative reviews the bad way
It’s impossible to please everybody and even the best brands can make a mistake that triggers a negative comment or review on social media. The way you handle these reviews is very important because replying on a similar note can affect your reputation. Although it’s normal to feel bad because a customer was unhappy with your services, try to leave personal feelings aside and turn negative reviews in an opportunity.
Ignoring criticism or deleting negative comments won’t make your problem go away and neither will pasting a generic message. Followers aren’t just numbers, they’re real people, and people want to know that they matter. Try to clarify the situation with diplomacy, admit your mistake if there was clearly one, and maintain a proactive attitude. If you’re nice and do your best to fix the issue as quickly as possible, customers will be understanding too.
5. Neglecting copy approval
Social media may seem like an informal channel, but the text you post here should undergo copy approval, just like press releases and website content. Your social media profile is a reflection of your brand philosophy and if your posts are sloppy, with typos and grammar mistakes, followers will assume you’re not a professional.
You can never be too careful when posting something on the Web. Typos are inevitable, but online users can be quick to judge, which is why you should use proofreading and editing tools before an update goes live. Grammarly, SupremeDissertations, Hemingway App, Wow Grade and Readability Checker are great resources that every marketer should know about.
6. Not knowing your target audience
No matter how much time to spend on polishing your posts, they won’t be very effective if you didn’t write them with the right target audience in mind. As a social media marketer, you can use analytics to create buyer marketing personas and find out the age, occupation, and interests of your followers. Then, knowing these details, you can draft posts that your audience can resonate with. For instance, if you sell lifestyle products and your audience is made up mostly of unmarried Millennials, your posts should sound friendly and approachable, not cold and overly formal.
7. Too much promotion and no human touch
Social media is a great marketing tool not only because it’s affordable and effective, but also because it helps you interact with customers in a friendlier, more human way. When audiences interact with brands on social media, they want to feel that they’re talking to an actual person, not a faceless corporation. Therefore, if your posts, messages, and comment replies sound like they were drafted by the PR department, audiences will have trouble resonating with you. Don’t be afraid to use social media to show the people behind the brand. Engage with customers using normal, natural language, post pictures of your staff, make behind-the-scenes videos, and have a little fun.
8. Not having a posting schedule
Audiences love consistency when it comes to brand interactions on social media. You don’t want to flood your followers with dozens of updates every day, but you should make sure you reach their newsfeed daily nonetheless. Otherwise, they’ll forget about you or they will assume that you’re no longer in business. When checking out a brand for the first time, people look at what you’ve posted before and if they see that the last time you posted something was three months ago, this doesn’t send the right message. Besides, being inactive from social media for too long can hide your content from the newsfeed.
9. Buying followers
Building an audience for your start-up can be difficult and time-consuming. When all your competitors get thousands of shares per post and even go viral from time to time, it can be tempting to cut corners and buy followers. However, this is a risky move that can set you back in the long run. Buying followers may give you instant gratification, but remember that these followers aren’t organic and they don’t have any real interest in your business. Even though it’s slower, take the time to build a genuine follower base who is likely to engage with you and purchase your products.
If any of these 9 mistakes sound familiar, don’t panic. You identified the problem and now you know what you need to do set your SMM strategy on the right track!
Nicole D.Garrison is a content strategist, writer, and contributor at IsAccurate and a number of platforms for marketing specialists. She is a dedicated and experienced author who pays particular attention to quality research. At her free time, Nicole is a passionate runner and a curious beekeeper. Moreover, she runs her own blog LiveInspiredMagazine.