Social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools out there, but used incorrectly, it won't work for you and can be potentially damaging for your business.
We've seen many businesses be on the receiving end of some major social media mistakes and mishaps, so, here are the top five social media mistakes we've seen businesses make, and how to avoid them with yours.
1. Know your audience
Social media should be treated like any other marketing channel. Clear goals and a full proof strategy to reach the largest and most targeted audience are a must. After all, social media is a place to find and connect with your target audience. If you don't understand or make efforts to define your audience, you won't achieve the results you want.
Targeting a generic and undefined audience will mean your posts will lack engagement, and those who are actually interested in your product or service probably won’t see it. They'll be lost in the ether of a billion Facebook or Instagram users.
So, how do you fix it?
Easy, create a social media strategy that targets your audience demographics, focusing on the platforms that are relevant to existing and new customers. We've written about social media platforms and their relationships to certain businesses and demographics before, so it's worth thinking about before you decide to open an account on every social media platform. Think about it, Instagram and TikTok users are not not the same as LinkedIn users.
Defining your customer demographics at the start of your strategy will help outline your social media goals, set up your ongoing strategy and deliver a tailored, personalised social media experience that your users can really engage with.
2. Not engaging with your audience
One of the main reasons businesses use social media is to increase user engagements, and yet, in an ironic twist of fate, businesses often fail to grasp the core principle of what social media is about, the social part... no, seriously, its called social media, it works much better if you're actually 'social' and you converse with your audience.
Engagement is the act of a digital conversation, and you can't expect your audience to do all the work. Many businesses struggle to grasp the concept of how to use social media and often fail to engage with their users’ comments and messages in their social feeds. Failure to engage on your part gives the impression that your brand isn’t interested in forming a relationship with the community you want to be a part of. Often businesses find themselves hawking promoted social media posts on their channels in an inept attempt to gain engagement without wanting to put any effort in to the platforms themselves.
The simple solution to this conundrum is entirely in your hands. When someone leaves comment on your post, reply! If someone sends you a DM, write one back! The more you respond, like, comment, or even share, the more your audience will want to engage with you.
Want to take it a step further? Get involved in the social communities you want to target and engage with users on their posts. Liking and commenting on users posts is a great way to build brand loyalty, and sharing posts - with tags - helps to keep the conversation going.
3. A lack of brand consistency
What is unique to your brand? What sets you apart? Is that super slick branding you paid for on your epic website also being used on your social media accounts? Are all of your social profile images the same?
Brand consistency is essential to how your business is perceived, and it needs to be seamless. We're not talking about replicating the same content across every social platform you're on, (and, quite frankly, it's actually impossible...) we're talking about ensuring your brands mission, messaging and voice consistently show through.
Consistency in your imagery, colour palette, wording, tone and design choices creates credibility with your customer base and audience. It all adds up to an enhanced professional brand image that will grow in your target audiences minds.
4. Inconsistency and no focus
Quality over quantity. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY. Did you get that?
Posting too much can come across as ‘spam’, yet not posting enough can affect your engagement levels. Each social media platform works in different ways, so it's important to understand what you're posting, its relevance to your community, and the frequency of what you're posting.
That being said, one thing is always consistent, that quality content always wins out. If it's relevant to your audience it will work, regardless of post frequency, but posting relevant content regularly only makes it work better, and posting at the right time to maximise engagement is your golden ticket to social media success.
Plan your content, don't post it on a whim, then create a schedule. Space your content and post regularly for a more focused social media schedule. If you're posting more articles, long videos and infographics then look to post 2-4 times a week. If you're looking to post more images, short videos and less serious content, then look to post a minimum of 4-6 times a week but keep up your engagement with your audience.
Essentially, the more you post, the more you need to engage with your audience. Content, hashtags, how you interact with you audience and social post frequency are all the things that form your brands consistency and focus on social media.
5. Sounding impersonal and automated
This one is pretty much self explanatory.
Social media is very human oriented, and it's a place for you to display the human side of your business. If what you write in your post copy or comments sounds automatic or robotic, it will likely cost you followers and portray your brand in a bad light.
When writing posts, think about the ethos of your brand – how can you enhance this through social media? Think of social media as an opportunity to humanise your brand and use it as a way to build trust between your business and your target audience.
That's all folks.
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