It’s been more than ten years since I created my Facebook account. I have to admit, it took me a while to realize that Facebook would turn into a marketing platform, as well, not just one where you “hang out” with friends.
Oh, how the times have changed.
Right now, we can’t imagine a complete marketing strategy without a strong social media presence. Whether you are in B2B or B2C, you know you have to be on social media, too.
However, this ubiquity of social media in every strategy means that a lot of mistakes are made.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I have made some of the ones below, too. Both as a marketer and as the owner of a digital marketing agency that offers social media management and marketing services to its clients.
I’ve learned something from every mistake. But you know what they say – “the smartest people learn from others’ mistakes.”
Here’s your chance to learn from others’ mistakes and avoid making them on your own.
10 social media mistakes to avoid
1. Taking social media lightly
If I had a penny for every time I heard “I don’t need to hire a social media expert; I can do it on my own – everybody does”, I could buy a car with them.
I know, everybody is on social media. Your kids are having a blast and they even seem to be super popular on a couple of platforms.
But let me ask you this: when they tell you they want to buy something they saw on Instagram or Facebook, who do you think wrote that ad? One of their friends or a marketer?
Here’s the thing: you may get tons of likes on your holiday photos, but did you know that people are much less likely to engage with a brand than with a human?
Couple that with the fact that organic reach on social media (especially Facebook) is constantly declining and you’ll understand why you need a coherent strategy and not just “having an intern post every once in a while.”
Furthermore, the social media landscape is constantly changing. If you can stay on top of this and adjust your strategy as soon as a new change takes effect, then you’re good to go – you can manage things on your own.
Otherwise, your social media mistakes may be costing you clients and money. You should consider outsourcing social media management and marketing.
2. Spreading yourself too thin
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Reddit, Pinterest, Snapchat – do you really need to be on all the social networks you can think of?
Here’s the quick answer: you don’t and you shouldn’t.
Now for the longer version: the more networks you’re on, the less time you dedicate to each of them.
More importantly, your buyer persona isn’t on all of them. And if they are, they’re certainly not as responsive on all of them.
So why bother?
Instead of being on five networks, focus on two or three of them and nail your presence there.
3. Being too focused on self-promotion
I get it. You’re investing money in social media, so you expect a ROI from it.
Did you know that some studies say the average person sees around 4,000 ads per day? Of course, that’s counting the ads we don’t really see.
We’re so used to being bombarded with ads that our brains have developed defense mechanics. Sometimes, we literally don’t see the ads thrown at us. We don’t consciously choose to ignore them; it just happens.
So take a break.
And help your fans and followers take one, too.
Instead of promoting your own content or your own products ten times per day, try curating content instead. Try offering them something they really need or want to read/see.
No, I’m not saying you share your competitors’ blog posts. But a funny or helpful article from the likes of Bored Panda or Huffington Post will tell your followers that you don’t only care about their money. It tells them that you truly care about their time.
4. Not posting regularly
You don’t have to post every day at the same time(s). But posting only once in a blue moon is a huge red flag.
On most social networks, this will tell the algorithm behind the platform that your content doesn’t need to show up in your follower’s feeds. More importantly, it will tell your followers that you’re not too serious about engaging with them.
However, you shouldn’t go to the other extreme either (see below).
5. Posting too often
Yes, it’s a game of balance.
You don’t have to go missing for weeks, but you don’t have to spam your followers with hundreds of posts every day.
What’s the right number, you ask?
Well, let’s see. Experts say that you should post ten times on Twitter every day and much less on other networks.
I agree with one thing: you should always post more often on Twitter. I managed to grow my Twitter profile to roughly 15K followers by upping the number of daily tweets.
However, the exact number of posts per day is not the same for everyone.
Think about Bored Panda. They post way more than two times per day on Facebook and all their posts have great engagement rates.
What is the right number of posts for you?
This is something that you can only find out by experimenting and testing different frequencies and different times of day to post.
6. Posting when you have nothing to say
OK, this one may seem similar to posting too often, but bear with me.
A few months ago, my agency took over the social media management and marketing of a luxury car dealership in California. The first thing that was discussed was post frequency.
You see, the dealership had a weekly quota they had to meet (imposed by the “mother lode”), but they wanted to go way beyond that. They asked for a quote based on a huge number of posts every week for every social network they were on.
I could have accommodated them and taken their money. But, instead, I asked: “what if we only posted every time we had something interesting to say?” I assured them this would by no means get them to fall behind on the quota imposed by the manufacturer.
And they reluctantly agreed.
It took less than two months for them to realize that it’s the best approach. Instead of stressing over “I need to post something today! How can I find the umpteenth interesting message of the day?” we chose the approach based on relevance.
The engagement rates went way up and so did lead generation from social media.
It’s now my favorite thing to say to any new or potential customer: “let’s give your followers the gift of relevance.”
7. Not being social
You post, you tweet, you share. But how about engaging in conversations started by others? Or simply taking a step back to listen?
Social listening can provide you with tons of invaluable insights into your buyer persona’s wants and needs.
So spend some time scrolling and checking trending topics. Log in to your accounts instead of simply using an automation tool to schedule posts and forgetting about them.
Remember: it’s called social media for a reason. Even newspapers communicate two-way now.
8. Being too slow to respond to comments or messages
Consumers expect responses on social media to be faster than those on email. Whatever you do, don’t let more than seven hours pass between the time when a complaint or a comment was posted and the time you reply to it.
Ideally, you should answer it within the hour. Speed is the main reason why people contact you via social media instead of email or phone.
9. Not having an ads budget for Facebook
As you already know, the organic reach of business pages on Facebook has been declining constantly. The truth is that, even if your page has more than 10K fans, your average post will be seen by 200 of them.
Of course there are exceptions: every once in a while, you will find that golden ticket – a post that’s so in tune with what your audience wants to see that you’ll get tons of comments and reactions.
But even those posts do so much better with a boost. In fact, I would recommend you focus on those very posts instead of the low performing ones.
Don’t worry – you don’t have to invest a ton of money in ads. But even a smidge of a budget can make a world of difference.
10. Focusing on vanity metrics
So, you got your 10K followers. Congratulations!
But here’s the big question: how many of them will actually buy from you?
Irrespective of how much or how little you invest in social media, you should expect a return.
Likes, shares and retweets are awesome – they make us all feel warm and fuzzy inside. Sadly, though, they don’t pay the bills.
For your next social media report, focus on the sales or leads you got through your social channels instead of vanity metrics. Align your social media strategy with your business goals if you want to see an actual increase on both fronts.
Yes, social media is changing rapidly. And it can be intimidating to try and keep up with all the changes.
Still, there’s one constant: just like in SEO or web content writing, if you focus on what your audience wants to see, your numbers will go up. I do mean all the numbers – vanity metrics and your bank account statement.
If you’re looking for help with social media management and marketing, my team and I are always happy to assist!