GoDaddy and I have a bit of a hit and miss relationship but credit where it is due this top 10 list of social Media Mistakes does make sense.
Whether you’re starting a new business or optimising your current social strategy, you can sidestep these common blunders with a little knowledge and preparation.
1: Treating all social media platforms the same
Every social media platform is a different ecosystem with its own nuances. On Instagram, you can’t include clickable links in captions. Twitter has a 280 character limit for posts. LinkedIn is a strictly-professional network, while Pinterest thrives on creativity.
On certain platforms, you can, and should, tag accounts to cross-promote. On others, that would be bad form.
Bottom line, not all social platforms are created equal. Not even close.
So if you create one generic post and copy and paste for all your channels, you’ll see lacklustre results. What’s more, you likely don’t even need to be on every social media platform. Certain networks will make more sense and drive better results for your business than others.
How to avoid it: Do brief competitor research to see where similar businesses in your industry focus. Buffer explains which channels most businesses use. Unsurprisingly, the top three are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Whereas, Hootsuite offers a look at the social platforms most used by audiences.
2 Creating an overly promotional social presence
A typical social media mistake is to treat your profile like a purely promotional vehicle. The online audience sees more than enough advertising. The Sprout Social 2019 Index report found that 35% of consumers will unfollow a brand if they post too many ads.
Your social media presence should not be a billboard for your business, but instead a network to meaningfully connect with your community and share useful information. It should also serve as a knowledge centre and resource for you to gain valuable insights.
How to avoid it: Remember that social media is an opportunity to educate your audience, participate in relevant industry conversations, promote thought leadership and even recruit employees. For example, 84% of organisations use social media for talent acquisition, and 70% of employers use social media to screen and research potential candidates. Utilise your social platform like the robust tool that it is.
Practice social listening to figure out what posts and content resonate with your target audience.
Then, find the right mix of promotional vs. engaging posts for your business. Traditionally, marketers promoted the 3-to-1 ratio (three engaging posts to every promotion) or the 80/20 rule (80% of your posts should inform, educate and entertain, and 20% promote).
However, there are no hard-and-fast rules anymore. It truly depends on the brand and audience. Just don’t overdo it on promotions. Social media is not the place for hard selling.
3: Lacking a strategy
Developing a strategy is not easy—47% of marketers struggle to create one that supports their organisations goals. However, a strategy is absolutely essential before you spend any time or resources on social media marketing.
Many brands think that regularly posting images of their team or reposting interesting content is enough for their social presence. But if you want to drive true growth and see ROI, you need goals and plans.
Beyond your general strategy, you need to have a plan for each platform, including a distribution schedule. People are active on social media at different times.
Automating a post across all the channels at the same time can make your brand look socially “thirsty.”
Imagine this scenario: I’m your social media follower and a potential lead. On my lunch break, I check my three favourite social platforms—Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I see the same post for your business on all three. I feel like it’s spam and clogging up my feed and unfollow your account. It’s a rookie social media mistake.
How to avoid it: Approach social media as you would any other campaign for your company. To create your strategy, outline:
Specific goals, (more on that next)
Budget (finances) and resource allocation (i.e., who on your team will execute)
Plan of action (deadlines and schedule)
Key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure results
Don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis, trying to create a complex plan. The above four points are enough for the foundation of your strategy.
To plan your distribution schedule, look at when your followers are most active on each channel. (You can find that data under the Insights section for each platform). Then make sure to distribute your post times throughout the day. For example, LinkedIn at 9 a.m., Twitter at 12 p.m. and Instagram at 3 p.m.
Lastly, decide on which metrics to track so you can not only measure your effectiveness, but also make data-backed decisions for future strategy. Tracking KPIs and metrics is especially important if you invest in paid social ads.
4: Having ill-defined objectives or (worse)
Goals ensure that your efforts are purposeful. The first part of a social media strategy is outlining goals. Many businesses have vague aspirations for social media that aren’t tied to real results.
While the general goal of social media marketing is to grow and sustain your business, you also need specific objectives so that you can benchmark your efforts and measure success.
All of your work on social media should be to advance your business’s specific goals. Many marketers forget this.
How to avoid it: Try the SMART goal-setting technique to help frame your business’s objectives. Make sure each goal is:
Specific: Clearly defined goals will help your team stay on the same page.
Measurable: Use your KPIs and metrics to measure success.
Achievable: Given time and budget, can you achieve your goals?
Realistic: Is success possible with your resources? Have other brands done the same?
Time-sensitive: Set deadlines for all goals.
Take a look at other social marketers’ top goals to get inspiration for your own.
Decide what outcomes you’d like to see from your social media marketing. Measure those KPIs, and regularly check in on your progress.
Don’t forget that social media is a long-term game, so tracking your ROI along the way will help you and your management recognise growth.