Seven Deadly Social Media Mistakes That Can Kill Your Online Marketing Efforts and How to Fix Them
by Vallorie Henderson
Most small business owners understand that social media can drive website traffic, leads, and brand awareness. Yet many struggle to get results from social media marketing. Big businesses have the same problem. US spending on social media marketing hit $7.52 billion in 2015. Yet, only 42% of marketers feel they can measure the return on investment (ROI) for their social media activities.
What has caused the promise of social media marketing to become tempered with such a healthy dose of uncertainty about its effectiveness?
Far too often, business owners treat social media more like a toy than a marketing channel. And that leads to wasted time and money. Not to mention a lack of results. In a typical scenario, a business owner puts up a Facebook page, posts to various social media accounts, and expects the sales to start rolling in. When that doesn't work, the head scratching begins along with wondering why they aren't getting results when other businesses claim to get so much benefit from social media marketing.
If you are struggling with social media marketing - or if you are just considering launching a social media marketing campaign, you'll greatly improve your chance for success by being aware of these 7 social media marketing mistakes and their solutions:
Mistake 1: You don’t have a social media strategy.
If your social media activities don't have any strategy or business purpose behind them, that's a red flag. You're not alone though. 55% of small businesses struggle with developing a social media strategy.
Solution: Develop and document your strategy. What are your goals with social media? Who are you trying to reach? What social networks do they use? How will you earn their attention? The answers to these questions will help you build a social media marketing plan.
You're not measuring the impact of social media. Tying social media marketing to a tangible ROI can be tricky. Maybe that's why a Manta small business survey found that 59% didn't see a ROI on social media activities. But, if you don't track and measure your efforts, how will you know if it's helping to grow your business?
Solution: Start measuring your efforts and their results.
There are a lot of factors involved when it comes to figuring out your return on marketing investment. To get started, track what you put into your social media marketing (time, effort, and resources) and what you get back. Start a spreadsheet that you review each week.
Mistake 3: You're too aggressive. If you find yourself going straight for the sale every time you interact with a client on social media, you may be missing the point. Although you can use it to sell, social media is all about making a connection first.
Solution: Sell less, listen more.
One of the best parts of marketing using social media is being able to observe and participate in conversations with your customers and potential customers. Pay attention to their wants, needs, and disappointments. Use social media to connect with them by sharing useful content or responding to comments and complaints.
Don’t’ continually scream “BUY ME! BUY ME! BUY ME!” Andrew Davis' Social Media 4-1-1 formula is a great guideline. It says that for every six pieces of content you share on social media:
• 4 should be content relevant to your audience that is shared by influencers in your market.
• 1 should be your original content with an educational bent to help your audience
• 1 should be sales-related content.
Mistake 4: You're spreading yourself too thin.
If you're burned out from trying to use too many social media platforms, it may be a warning sign. Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t “win” at social media by being the first to setup an account on every new channel.
Solution: Consolidate your efforts.
Find out where your customers are and start there. For most small businesses, that's going to be Facebook. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said the majority of its 3 million advertisers are small businesses. Learn how to use their free tools first but don’t ignore paid options. They have affordable options and best of all; you can do targeted marketing aimed at your ideal customer.
Mistake 5: You're sharing lackluster content.
Great content is what makes social media work. Without original, engaging content to get their attention, why should anyone interact with you on social media?
Solution: Find out what interests your audience and share that.
According to www.MarketingProfs.com 27 million pieces of digital content are shared on an average day in the US. Visual and interactive content can help you stand out. Make sure your content is helpful, entertaining, and easy to share. Above all else, make certain that you share content your audience finds relevant.
Mistake 6: You're not responding to customers.
Social media is all about genuine interaction. Yet, 34% of small businesses don’t have any social media presence, and 36% of those who do don’t respond to their customers’ comments.
Solution: Respond in a timely fashion.
If a customer called you on the telephone and left a voicemail message, I’m pretty sure you would call them back. Well, customers have a similar expectation with social media. In fact, 32% of folks who reach out to a company through social media for customer support expect a response within 30 minutes. 42% expect a response within 60 minutes. If you’re not doing this, in your customers’ minds, you’ve already dropped the ball.
Mistake 7: You don’t have designated staff whose job it is to have a focused and consistent plan.
Business owners often admit that this task is assigned to different staff members as add-on work to an already full workload or even worse, the business owner thinks they are the ones that should head up this effort and they won’t admit that they don’t know what they are doing!!!!!!
Solution: Hire a professional.
Successful social media marketers often work contract for several businesses and these contractor are often Millennials that have grown up in the digital age. Look for marketers with proven n results that speak to their knowledge of successful social media efforts. Determine a specific number of weekly-allocated hours for this project as well as expected deliverables. If the business owner prefers to keep the work in-house, then make sure to offer regular training or certification to keep staff‘s efforts relevant in today’s fast-moving market.