Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
Social media can be a useful tool for your small business. It’s interactive, engaging and is great for communicating your message, but it can be detrimental if it’s not used correctly. With so many platforms available, you must be careful about how you use social media to both communicate with your customers and to promote your business. Here are a few of the most common social media marketing mistakes, and how you can combat them to maximise your social media potential.
Posting the same content across all platforms
Not all social media platforms are the same. You have to understand the differences between engagement on Facebook and engagement on Twitter, for example. Posting something on one platform and then automatically posting it across all is not an effective strategy. It looks lazy, and it will show customers you’re not invested in engaging with them properly. Spend the time devising a proper content strategy for social media, and use each platform as it is intended.
As mentioned in point 1, don’t make the mistake of lumping all your content in the same way across each platform. For Twitter, which is fast paced, busy and contains snippets of information in its 140-character limit, you can afford to post 10-15 times a day, even sometimes repeating information because it’s likely some may have missed it the first time. Now think about posting 10-15 times a day on LinkedIn, or Facebook. Doesn’t seem right, does it? That’s because each social network platform is designed to be unique. Don’t make the mistake of overloading your followers with information on a platform that doesn’t suit it. Try and post 1-5 times per day for Facebook, same for LinkedIn.
You should post at least once a day to stay relevant. Use your content strategy and don’t fall into the trap of posting the same stuff everywhere.
Spreading yourself too thin
You don’t need to be on every platform. There are so many social networks; trying to be relevant on every one without some sort of media team or full time staff will leave them neglected. Think about which ones are best for your business. Instagram is perfect for businesses that can utilise images for marketing and promotion. Hairdressers, for example, can show off their skills and finished styles with images much better than an accountant, who would fare much better on LinkedIn.
If you can’t see the benefits of it immediately, then don’t set one up until you have the time or need to. One of the main social media marketing mistakes is having a business Facebook profile and not using it. Customers will see that it’s neglected, and might even think you’ve gone out of business. Choose the platforms that are most relevant to your business and to your target audience, and start with those first.
Too much promotion
Social media is wonderful for small businesses, but don’t use it purely to sell and promote your products and services. It’ll get annoying and your followers will switch off. You should make sure your content strategy for social media includes your own blogs, shared content from other sites that are relevant to your sector, and sometimes even behind-the-scenes posts so your customers feel let in to your world. Yes, social media is a great platform for promotion, but don’t overdo it – try a good mixed bag of content.
Not enough promotion
This is the opposite end of the spectrum to the previous point. Don’t be too shy when it comes to self-promotion, because you’re there to interact with your customers and to gain potential new ones. Don’t fall into the trap of just posting memes of cats in flowerpots because it’s cute, or jumping on a hashtag bandwagon on Twitter just because it’s trending.
You will engage followers for a few seconds, but it won’t make them want to buy from you. Use your content wisely, and if you just HAVE to post about what happened on Gogglebox last night, then try to make it relevant to your business in any way that you can. You should use popular culture to engage your client base, but don’t do it to the detriment of your actual purpose, and make sure it’s suited to your demographic. Find a way to strike a good balance between promotion and general engagement.
Ignoring negative comments or reviews
Hey, no one is perfect. One day, you’re bound to get it wrong; you’re also bound to experience customers who just like to complain, whether you think you’re at fault or not. The main thing to do is to tackle complaints or negativity online head-on. This does not mean that you take the approach that some companies do by going on the attack, as that can lead to an almighty backlash from customers, whether they’ve experienced your services or not. Plus, in this day and age that kind of behaviour goes viral, and it doesn’t help you.
By tackling them head-on, what I mean is addressing negative comments or reviews as soon as possible, and being helpful. Even if you don’t have the answer or explanation to hand, respond and say you’re looking into it. Ask them to contact you with their details so that you can get in touch directly with a solution.
The biggest faux pas for negative reviews – deleting them. Don’t do it; it’ll come back and bite you harder than if you’d just left the negative comment there in the first place and it’s one of the easiest social media marketing mistakes to avoid.
Not separating your personal presence from business
Everyone has their own opinions, but you must remember to separate your business life from your personal one. Be careful what you post, retweet, like and comment on your business profile, because it will be public. Don’t use foul language. Don’t post or like anything containing gratuitous violence, drug use, or anything of that ilk. Especially on LinkedIn, where members are fiercely protective of what LinkedIn is supposed to used for. You’ll see at least a post a day where the responses are mainly “LinkedIn is not the place for this”. Don’t make classic social media marketing mistakes by misusing the platforms, whatever you comment on can be seen by your followers; don’t get caught out.
So, what now?
Following these steps should help your small business avoid the basic social media marketing mistakes, and gain some loyalty and traction on social media. Post often, be relevant and keep it clean. Respond to your customers as soon as you can and use the platforms that will be most beneficial to you. You can always get an app or some software that will help you schedule posts if you’re strapped for time, but try not to rely too heavily on automation – schedule each post individually and update manually if there are any breaking stories or trends that you can capitalise on.