Social media marketing can be difficult to master because the Internet constantly changes and shifts — not just year-to-year, but also sometimes day-to-day. And let’s face it, the last thing you want is to waste your marketing efforts.
The number of people on social media grows every year. Facebook has around 2.27 billion active users now, and Instagram is the next largest social media network and is snowballing. There are dozens of social media sites, but for this article, we’ll look at the most commonly used platforms.
Although effective techniques vary, there are some big social media marketing mistakes you should avoid in 2019 and some you should avoid forevermore.
1. Targeting the Wrong People
If you spend $20 on an ad campaign and have no idea who the message is for, then you might as well light $20 on fire and toss it in a metal trash can.
No matter which social media platform you market on, your first step is understanding your target audience. For example, if you place content on your Facebook page, what is the purpose of that content, and exactly which people will you reach? Facebook allows for highly targeted advertising to specific audience segments, so figuring out who that audience is makes your marketing much more effective.
2. Spamming Your Followers
You’ve worked hard to gain followers on your social media pages. However, if all you do is post spammy sales pitches non-stop, you’re wasting your potential. People see ads all day long — from the time they wake up and turn on the TV or check their phones to the time they go to sleep when the day is done.
Understandably, people are sick of promotional material. Instead, think about the pain points your customers deal with and address those with content meant to solve their problems.
Agriculture Pest Control Services manages to address an issue — how to know whether or not you have a pest problem in your yard and information for those worried about this issue. Instead of merely trying to sell their services, they work on educating the public about the issue. If the user needs pest control for their agriculture, they’ll likely turn to Agriculture Pest Control Services for advice. This company doesn’t make the mistake of only pushing their services — they also add value for their followers.
3. Forgetting the Hashtag
Events are the perfect opportunity for connecting with consumers and driving interest on social media. Those who can’t attend the live event get updates by searching for a specific hashtag. A big mistake some event planners make is failing to create a hashtag for the event. Ideally, the hashtag is in place long before the occasion, and followers are informed about it ahead of time.
Imagine a tradeshow booth where visitors stop by and take a photo with your brand logo and colors and then upload it with a hashtag. You could even offer a prize and draw a winner based on Twitter posts using the hashtag.
4. Using Bots
As your company grows and more people follow you on social media, it’s tempting to use bots for interaction. However, this can and has gone wrong for companies in the past. Bots don’t always understand the little nuances of the English language and respond in strange ways, making it clear a real person isn’t behind the response.
Use bots to let followers know you got their message and will research and respond within a set time, but don’t use bots for an actual response.
5. Buying Fake Followers
Don’t just worry about how many followers you have. You also need to focus on the quality of the followers you have. A percentage of followers on social media are bots and not real people, which wastes your time and energy. Invest in seeking out real people through groups about your industry and interacting with those who have authority in the field.
NASA is an excellent example of a Twitter page with a strong following of about 30 million followers. However, they only follow 297 people, so they aren’t simply following people to get follows back. While there may be a few bots mixed in the 30 million, a majority of them are likely to be real people.
6. Lacking Clear Goals
Companies sometimes add a social media marketer to their payroll without truly understanding what they want that person to do. They know they need to post regularly, and they don’t have time to deal with it.
However, before adding content to social media, companies should lay out their goals for social media marketing. What do you hope to accomplish? It might be as simple as getting your name in front of a specific target audience or as complex as driving a set amount of traffic to your website.
7. Creating Too Many Profile Pages
Does it seem like a good idea to create separate pages for your women’s and men’s lines? Most of the time it isn’t useful. You’re watering down your overall branding efforts and creating more work for yourself. Instead, create a central hub on each social media platform you wish to have a presence. A better marketing method is segmenting those who sign up for your newsletter into specific groups.
8. Not Responding to Customers
About 55 percent of people name a brand on social media and use a platform to get a response. The person’s followers watch your response and base their decision on whether or not to do business with you on how you treat those they know. If you either don’t respond or respond negatively, the impact is far reaching beyond that one person.
Instead, treat social media complaints with the same respect as an in-person complaint. Work hard to resolve the issue and stay in communication at all times.
9. Failing to Interact
Social media is a unique marketing animal. If you want people to share info on your brand and talk you up, you must interact with them. Ask questions, respond to comments and create a positive online environment. Failing to communicate signals that you don’t really care, and you only want promotional opportunities — which is a big turnoff to consumers.
Whole Foods does a good job of interacting on Instagram by offering photos from their stores and asking questions or posing a thought for followers. In the screenshot above, they thank one of their customers with a shout out and then offer 25 percent off their supplements. They then respond to questions almost immediately.
10. Not Creating Videos
Videos are shared more often than text posts and hold the user’s attention. Nearly 75 percent of users on Twitter find video ads less intrusive than other types of ads. Statistics are similar on other social media platforms with people viewing video more and more. If you aren’t creating videos for your social media channels, you’re missing out on a positive marketing ploy.
11. Advertising on the Wrong Days
Some days are more expensive for advertising than others, and your ads won’t be as visible. Some days have a high cost per click (CPC) because you’re competing with other companies, driving up prices. The best way to figure out when your ads are most effective is running a few campaigns and tracking the results.
The overall average CPC is 97 cents per click, but this varies by the country targeted and many other factors. Pay attention to your ad analytics to see when and where to best utilize your advertising dollars.
12. Losing Your Brand Identity
Your brand identity should carry over into everything you do. If a customer visits a physical location, they should see the same logo, colors and personality as they do when visiting your social media pages. Don’t change or lose your brand identity on social media platforms. Instead, look at each new platform as a chance to enhance your message and help customers better know your brand.
Form a Plan
Avoid making the same mistakes other marketers made in the past by forming a plan for how you’ll approach social media marketing. Look at the specifics of each platform and figure out unique ways of reaching your target audience. Marketing on social media requires a lot of time and effort, so make sure your efforts matter and have maximum impact.
About the Author
Lexie Lu is a web designer and CX enthusiast. She is a contributor to Marketo, Website Magazine and Envato. In her spare time, she enjoys walking her dog, watching HGTV and baking. Feel free to subscribe to her design blog, Design Roast, or follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.