Top 10 social media mistakes to avoid today – Part 2
What are the top mistakes businesses are making with social media?
In this blog I conclude my top 10 biggest mistakes businesses can make with social media and provide some insight into how you can avoid these pitfalls.
- Be prepared to engage – it’s a two way street in the social media-sphere!; If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again – social media is ‘social’ – it’s in the name! The rules of social media marketing are different to the rules you would apply to more traditional outbound marketing such as advertising and direct marketing. Unlike these traditional activities, social media marketing encourages, and its success is built around, engagement with your target audience. It involves a two way flow of information (or a conversation). Whereas, traditional marketing is more focused on a one way flow of information, from the seller to the buyer. One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make with social media is to not realise this point and being incapable (whether it be due to lack of resource or experience) of answering any questions or issues that may be posted about them. Choosing to ignore questions or issues raised on your social media profiles, could be detrimental to your brand image.
Advice; ensure that you have the resources in place to continually manage your social media profiles. And, within your social media marketing strategy, address how you will handle negative comments, issues or questions that may arise in the social media sphere. It doesn’t matter if you get negative comments – show me one business that gets it right all the time and has never received one negative comment from a customer! It is how you choose to handle them that will count.
- Quality is more important than Quantity; Its all about the number of fans, followers or likes you’ve got – right? A number of businesses can easily fool themselves into thinking that. On the surface, comparing your number of followers, fan or likes with your competitors provides a yardstick of how well you are doing. Well, maybe not! With the proliferation of businesses out there willing to ‘sell you’ numerous followers I would initially question the validity / quality of these followers. Are they genuine individuals from the company’s target audience that may one day be interested in buying their product or service? If the answer is no then the number of followers they have becomes completely meaningless.
The point to remember here is that the quantity of followers, fans or likes is not the key to measuring the success of your social media marketing campaign. The quality of the followers or fans is far more important. If you are targeting and engaging with a small group of individuals that may one day purchase from you or share, for example your tweets with their followers, that is far more lucrative, than having a million followers that would have absolutely no interest in your product.
Advice; as you would segment your target audience and buy a database with just their details on it for a direct marketing campaign, so you should focus on the quality of your followers or fans (i.e. actual prospects) rather than obsess with the quantity you have.
- Facebook does not equal social media marketing!; Here’s another classic mistake that businesses make when embarking with social media marketing – thinking that social media = Facebook. Yes, Facebook is still the number one social media platform in numerous Countries but if your target audience are not using it, in big enough quantities, or as a discussion forum for the type of product or service you are marketing, then there really is no point setting your stall out on Facebook and Facebook alone.
Advice; do your homework! Or, if you need assistance, retain a social media marketing expert, who can assess your business and target audience and suggest which social media platforms would be most appropriate for your business. Don’t forget, it may be the case that being present on a number of social media platforms may serve you better than just limiting yourself to Facebook.
- Are you spreading yourself too thin?; In contrast, another key mistake that businesses make with social media marketing is to think they need to be on every single social media platform. In doing so, they spread their time and resources very thinly. This may not be an affordable option to sustain. Additionally, they may be investing their time and resource into social media platforms where their target audience aren’t even present!
Advice; do your homework! Make an informed decision on the social media platforms you want to build a presence, based on evaluating and identifying which social media platforms your target audience are using, and the time and resources you have available to manage them adequately.
- It’s all about me, me, me!!!; Sorry to keep hammering a point but here we go again – social media is about being social. It’s in the name! My final top 10 biggest mistake that businesses make with social media is to treat it in the same way they would traditional, outbound marketing activities such as advertising and PR. That is to say they ‘talk to’ their target audience rather than engaging with them. As we mentioned in no.6, social media marketing is a two way street and involves a two way conversation. If you set up a presence on a social media platform, you need to be prepared and willing to share and engage with your followers or fans, not just send out traditional advertisement type ‘one-way’ messages.
Advice; make sure you balance your posts well between pure one way brand messages and posts which encourage conversation and engagement. Your approach to this should form a key part of your social media marketing strategy.