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Top 10 social media mistakes to avoid today

Top 10 social media mistakes to avoid today – Part 1

What are the top mistakes businesses are making with social media?

More businesses than ever before are now embracing social media marketing. Great news! It is a relatively cheap marketing activity to utilise and can reach a potentially massive audience. You really cannot ignore the potential power of social media marketing! However, it is still a relatively new marketing tool and as a result there are some big mistakes that companies are making which could lead to their brand being devalued and businesses generally missing the point of social media and not realising the full potential of this power house.

In this blog I look at the top 5 biggest mistakes businesses can make with social media and provide some insight into how you can avoid these pitfalls. Make sure you join me next week for the second instalment and the remaining 5 mistakes that businesses are making with social media.

  1. Fools rush in; Without a doubt there a number of businesses that have rushed into creating a presence on the social media platforms without having the experience or knowledge required. If you would take the advice of a consultant or agency for your advertising campaign, direct marketing campaign or public relations campaign, then why wouldn’t you do the same for your social media marketing campaign? The value of creating the correct brand image is just as important in the social media-sphere as it is anywhere else.
    Whilst businesses see the potential value of social media, by rushing in feet first, some are devaluing it at the same time.
    Advice; seek the assistance of a professional social media expert or agency to guide you through the process or if you are pretty techno savvy – do your homework first! There’s lots of great advise that can be found in marketing blogs that can guide you in the right direction. A little time planning will pay dividends down the road.
  2. Act first, think later; And, if a business jumps feet first in to social media marketing, it is highly likely that there is no strategy in place. Lack of strategy invariably means lack of direction and lack of focus. As with any other marketing strategy, creating one for your social media marketing campaign will clearly mark out your purpose for being on the social media platform, how you plan to use it and what result you want to achieve from investing in this activity, ultimately making social media marketing measurable.
    Advice; give social media marketing the respect it deserves and create a strategy for your use of it before diving in. But, don’t despair! If you are already participating in social media and have lost your way, there is no reason why you can’t back track, create your strategy and give your business a renewed and clear focus moving forward!
  3. Are you taking it seriously?; Some businesses simply do not take social media marketing seriously. Micro and small businesses are the biggest culprits here! They dabble in social media with no consistency and post irrelevant messages that are sometimes too personal or political and have nothing to do with their brand. Big mistake! Social media posts are probably one of the most searchable and ‘findable’ types of content for search engines. So, when your prospective clients are searching for your product or service on google, it is highly likely that they will come across links to your profile and posts on the likes of LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook more so than professionally written press release via google. What impression are you making?
    Advise; if you are already, or are planning to partake in social media, take is seriously and give it the attention and professionalism you would any other form of marketing.
  4. Context & content are king!; A big mistake that businesses make with social media is failing to create and post valuable content. This more often than not boils down to; lack of planning, lack of direction and not understanding how to harness the social media platform they are using! A prime example is Twitter. With only 140 characters your message needs to be clear and concise and, certainly in my opinion, it should be used to tantalise your target audience to click on a link to your website. But, how many businesses do not add links to their tweets?! And how many more tweet completely benign, un-business related tweets?! Too many!
    Advice; Context and content are king! Two points here. The first is go back and read no.2 – in other words if you have created a strategy you will have a focus on the type of messages you want to be posting and what action you want your audience to take.
    The second point is quite simply spend time getting to know the social media marketing platforms you are using so you can ensure you are using them correctly and to there maximum potential. There are plenty of social media experts out there that not only provide outsourcing services (if you don’t want to manage your profile yourself), but also coaching so you can learn the basics and then better manage your social media profiles yourself.
  5. Listen to me! I’m talking!!!!; It’s called ‘social’ media for a reason! But, a number of businesses simply do not know how to act on social media platforms. Social media is interactive and requires a totally different approach to traditional marketing tools such as print advertising. The social media-sphere is certainly not the place to ‘talk’ to your audience. If you want to lose followers or switch them off in double quick time then keep talking and preaching!! However if you want to develop a positive brand image, foster relationships and build your audience, in order to develop new business and ensure repeat business, then you need to be sociable, engage with your audience and listen as well as talk!
    Advise; Guess what – read no.2 again! By creating a solid social media marketing strategy you will be able to identify and define how you plan to interact with your audience on your chosen social media platforms. Above all else make sure you are part of the conversation. As my #twitterguru says – it’s all about sharing!

I’ll conclude my top 10 biggest mistakes businesses make with social media in my next blog.