by Brittany McSorley
Mistakes happen. Sometimes you order cheesecake and they bring you flan, or you study the wrong material for an exam, or you forget to get your life together in time to shove your happiness in the face of a former lover at your mutual friend’s wedding. We’re only human.
Social media is kind of like a vault where many of your mistakes are stored forever. It’s like that episode of The Twilight Zone with the man who wears those thick reading glasses. He survives the end of the world, as will the evidence of everything embarrassing you’ve ever done. Ah, technology.
My own regrettable past aside, we’re here to talk about marketing mistakes when it comes to social media. Despite your best intentions, you could be sabotaging your marketing strategy with some common errors. Here are a few of the big ones and how to avoid them:
Writing Off Social
You may have decided that social media marketing would be ineffective based on the demographic your business is targeting. Un-decide this! There are very few groups that are unreachable on social platforms. This is especially true of Facebook, which has nearly 2.5 billion monthly active users. It’s the largest social network in the world; at least a few of your customers are using it.
Even if you don’t think you’ll make a lot of marketing headway online, setting up a Facebook account for your business is pretty much a must. It lends authenticity to your operation when potential customers can confirm your online presence.
Treating Every Platform the Same Way
Once you’ve established a social media presence, it can be tempting to cross-post the same material to every platform and engage with each of them similarly. This makes plenty of sense; you definitely do not need to create individual, diverse posts to share to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. You do, however, need to know the differences between how platforms work so you can get the best possible ROI. For example, while Facebook is perfect for straightforward posts and photos, Instagram will not work for you unless you make use of hashtags. And while Twitter rewards being succinct and not overwhelming your followers’ feeds, Facebook and Insta are now operating with algorithms that reward engagement and activity. While your content can stay uniform across platforms, your methods shouldn’t.
Having Too Many Accounts
A quick way out of the “every platform is different” kerfuffle is limiting which platforms you choose to use. Unless you’re trying to reach a very wide and diverse group, you probably don’t need to maintain a presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat. Choose the channels where you’re most likely to find your target audience, even if that means just one or two platforms, and focus your efforts there.
Not Having a Plan
So, you’ve narrowed down which platforms are important to you. Now you can post whenever you feel your marketing could use a boost, yes? No. Frequency and reliability are key when it comes to social marketing. The algorithms on Facebook and Instagram, in particular, are not kind to those who post sporadically. Establish how often you want to connect with your online community, then stick to that timetable as much as possible. With scheduling tools, you can set up your posts well in advance to ensure you’re not dropping off anyone’s radar.
It’s a bummer, but if you want to get the most out of your social marketing, you can’t just come up with content, send it out into the void, and be done with it. Accounts that engage with their followers are rewarded on news feeds. In other words, if you react and respond to comments on your posts, you’ll be given a more prominent spot on the your followers’ timelines. Don’t let comments go unanswered, even if you’re simply replying with a pleasant emoji. Engagement shows that you care about the community you’re building. Think of it as thanking people for following you.
Ignoring Negative Feedback
Sometimes, people are the worst. If you receive negative feedback online, whether it’s in a review or just a snarky Facebook comment, do not ignore it. Even if the criticism is completely unfounded, followers don’t like to see dissatisfaction being disregarded. Reply as politely and productively as possible if and when something negative happens. An attempt at addressing the problem reads much better than the silent treatment. (For extreme or offensive cases, there’s always the option to hide or delete comments.)
Posting similar content in quick succession may not seem like a big deal, but it can make followers lose interest. When you’re gathering content to share on social, try to mix it up as much as you can. Rotate works in progress, customer reviews, and more personal posts, for example, so your followers aren’t overwhelmed with too much of the same. Additionally, I cannot recommend enough involving pets in your posts whenever possible. Not everyone needs their kitchen remodeled, but everyone loves puppies.
Not Tracking Your Reach
All that planning and posting is hard work, so make sure to investigate how it’s paying off. Each platform has tools that show you who your content is reaching, how much they’re engaging, and so on. You can even check out what time of the day the majority of your followers are most active and plan your posts accordingly. Play around with the metrics tools on your platforms of choice to get some inspiration on how to improve your conversion.
This one is last and in caps because, in my opinion, it’s the most important mistake to avoid. I know being incredibly picky about grammar makes me annoying, but someone needs to be annoying. Do you want to live in a world where everyone’s splitting infinitives and misusing semi-colons with nary a care? Do you thrive on chaos? Are you even capable of love?!
I’m sorry. This is just who I am. I chose correcting people for money as a career. And a grammar error or spelling mistake in your marketing content can stick out like a sore, unprofessional thumb. Be sure to proofread your posts before they go live, or run them by someone trustworthy. Ideally, do both, and avoid the cringe-worthy possibility of a follower correcting you.
Now that you know what not to do, you can focus on perfecting your social media strategies. And if anyone asks, I’m wildly successful and personally fulfilled.