There aren’t many new tools out there that can boast the same level of technological, social, impact, and economic advancement that social media can.
Even though social media is still relatively new when compared to other marketing and communication channels, it’s still connected our world like nothing we’ve ever seen before.
It’s enabled the rapid, if not immediate communication of information. It’s contributed to revolutions, social movements, and important political discussions.
And it’s given small businesses and entrepreneurs access to the very same business and marketing tools available to fortune 500 companies.
But with great power, comes great responsibility, and so let’s dive into this episodes tips by taking a look at the top 15 social media marketing mistakes your business should avoid.
Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you should do it too.
Well, unless that thing is social media.
Because if you have a business and you’re not making social media a key part of your businesses marketing plan than there’s just no other way to put it than to let you know straight up, that you’re not only leaving money on the table, but you’re also hurting your brand and business by not being relevant, accessible, and connected to your customers.
Mistake #1 Not using social media marketing
Social media is here to stay.
Sure it may change, evolve, and adapt to changing consumer media preferences but the odds are good that from this day on there will always be some form of social media channel that connects users to each other, their friends and families, and the companies they choose to do business with.
Ignoring, denying, or outright neglecting social media sends a clear and damaging signal that your business is either out of touch with reality, or just flat out doesn’t care about how your customers want to connect.
Mistake #2 Not giving social media marketing the respect it deserves
So if social media isn’t going anywhere, and if it’s where your customers are active online AND how they want to consume their information and connect, then the next worst thing to not using social media marketing at all is not giving it the respect it deserves.
This is an understandable mistake to make though, as most businesses are simply unaware of the true power and potential of a strategic social media marketing campaign, or alternatively they’ve studied, tried, and failed to run a successful campaign in the past.
But whatever the reason, it all leads to the same place, not giving social media marketing the respect it deserves.
Mistake #3 Treating social media like a hobby
Treating social media like a hobby or for personal use only is an all too common mistake when businesses and entrepreneurs misidentify social media as a genuine and valuable business tool or miscategorise it under the Personal, and not Professional heading.
But the reality is that social media is both personal, and professional.
It can be used to stay in touch with family and friends AND to promote and grow your business.
But the key is to clearly differentiate the two and if you’re just getting started than don’t try to do both at the same time from the same channel.
Above all else, ensure you’re approaching it thoughtfully and strategically.
Mistake #4 Not being strategic about your social media marketing
A lack of strategy is perhaps my biggest pet peeve when it comes to marketing and something I see all the time.
As the saying goes, if I had a nickel for every time a business came to me after running an ultimately unsuccessful campaign, well, let’s just say I’d have a lot of nickels.
But regardless of where the bad results come from or how bad things turned out, the cause of a failed campaign is almost always the same; a focus on tactics, shiny objects, pretty pictures, and catchy quotes, and a complete and utter disregard for foundational marketing strategies and principles.
All too often businesses spread themselves too thin across too many channels, play the short game at the expense of building long term trust and customer loyalty, and try to hedge their bets by throwing everything at the wall hoping that at least something will stick.
But I’m getting ahead of myself and we’ll cover all that in just a minute.
For now, just know that strategy is the single most important element in creating an effective social media marketing plan, and a great place to start is by not making this next mistake, which is ignoring customer social media details.
Mistake #5 Ignoring customer social media details
Whoever understands the customer best wins.
This is because successful companies don’t try to be understood by their customers but rather, try to make their customers feel understood.
And one of the best ways to do this is by clearly identifying your target markets social media usage statistics.
These are things like what channels are they on? How do they use them? What kind of content do they consume? When are they most active? And why do they use these channels? Lastly, what about these channels is so appealing and how can you incorporate and leverage them to your businesses advantage?
Knowing this information will go a long way in helping you better understand and serve your customers, but there’s another benefit as well.
When you’re clear about what channels your customers are on, it gets rid of the need to be everywhere and on every channel which will save you time, money, and countless headaches.
Mistake #6 Being active on every social media channel
Trying to be active on every social media channel out there is one of the fastest ways to overwhelm that I’m aware of.
I know this, because this is exactly what I did when I was first starting.
Countless hours were wasted creating content, sorting through feeds, and sharing tips to an audience that wasn’t there, or didn’t care.
What I later learned and what literally transformed my business and my sanity, was that by focusing ONLY on the most important social media platforms – the ones that best aligned with my market, my business, and my style – was that I could literally cut my workload in half while increasing my results by a factor of 10.
The takeaway message is this, you don’t need to do everything, you just need to do the right things, in the right place, for the right people.
This is a hugely important point and one that could literally 10X your results so I’ll say it again.
You don’t need to do everything, you just need to do the right things, in the right place, for the right people.
Mistake #7 Thinking social media marketing is free
Everything has a cost and social media marketing is no different.
You can choose to pay with time, or choose to pay with money, but either way you’re going to need to pay. My advice is to take a look at your revenue and workload and go from there.
If you’re just staring out then you likely have more time than money. So dive in, learn the ropes, and get active sharing, helping, posting, and caring.
If on the other hand you’re a more established business with consistent revenue and who’s time is more limited and valuable, than don’t be afraid to invest more money than time.
But make no mistake, social media is important, and when it’s done strategically it’s worth every single penny.
Mistake #8 Not investing enough in social media marketing
As we just covered, social media marketing is going to take at least some level of investment, whether it be time or money.
The next place many businesses and entrepreneurs go wrong is not investing enough in social media.
Again, both time and money.
With competition at an all-time high, a more connected world than ever before, and a more sophisticated and discerning clientele the bar has been raised, and the level of the minimum viable investment, or the least amount of time and money required in order to experience positive results, will only continue to climb.
But here’s the good news, when done right, more time and money in will equal more time and money out.
And like most things in life, you get back what you put into it.
So unless you’re spending huge sums of money and experiencing diminishing returns on your investment, then the odds are pretty good that you’re probably going to want to ramp up your social media marketing game. And this means allocating more of your businesses marketing budget towards social.
Mistake #9 Playing the short game
After years in the digital and online marketing industry, I can see it coming from a mile away.
A new business pops up and starts over-promoting like a crazy person.
Making hard sell offers, using pushy and “salesy” tactics, and essentially ramming their message down everybody’s throats. This can go on for days, weeks, even months, but eventually they burn out their audience and themselves, and disappear never to be heard of again.
And they leave with the impression that online marketing just doesn’t work.
But online marketing works just fine, it’s just that they used an old school tactic of “Yell and Sell” opposed to “Share and Care”.
This is an amateur mistake and one that sadly takes place all too often especially in the online space.
And is the reason that playing the short game at the expense of the long game is social media marketing mistake #9.
But this mistake is great news for you, because you know better, and that the real money is generated long term, though backend sales, continuing to nurture the customer relationship, and building a brand worthy of your customer’s time and attention.
Mistake #10 Not combining social media with content marketing
Social media is a tool. Not a strategy.
And therefore NEEDS to be paired with another and more foundational marketing strategy.
Fortunately, there is one available that can deliver 3 times as many leads and customers to your business for 62% less cost than traditional methods.
And that strategy would be content marketing.
Content marketing is easily one of the most effective and valuable marketing strategies available today. Especially if your goal is to rapidly build the know, like, and trust factor, establish authority in your marketplace, and create a world class brand and business that customers can’t help but want to work with.
Basically, content marketing is great, but it gets even better when you combine helpful and valuable content with the content amplification power of social media.
Mistake #11 Not leveraging paid social media traffic
Organic, or non-paid social media reach is rapidly declining which is why mistake #11 is not using and leveraging paid social media traffic.
Paid social media traffic is where platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, offer to show your content to a greater number of people for a small cost.
Some old-school marketers and traditionalists think it’s unfair for the social networks to charge for this service but this should make you smile from ear to ear because it means they’re not taking advantage of this absolutely incredible and game changing tool.
And here’s why they’re wrong.
- It costs money to create, maintain, and service a massive social media network like Facebook, which employs over 17,000 people and offers unparalleled access to its users and network.
- We don’t own these social media networks and so they’re free to do what they like. Which is a great reminder that we need to be creating and posting content on our own websites first, and sharing it on social media after so we can maintain control of our content.
- In a competitive business environment, barriers to entry and marketing obstacles are fantastic at eliminating those unwilling to adapt and evolve from the competition.
As paid social media traffic operates like an auction and more and more people are jumping on board all the time, costs today are as cheap as they will ever be.
We’re basically in the golden age so if you haven’t already, now’s the time to dive in and start benefiting from the incredible power of paid social media traffic.
A quick tip, Facebook continues to offer the best targeting, options, and ease of use so if you’re brand new to paid traffic, this is likely the best place to start.
Mistake #12 Not being consistent
We’ve all seen the Facebook business page that posts 5 times a day for a week straight and then goes completely silent for months, or even years, and this is mistake #12, not being consistent.
Consistency doesn’t just provide linear returns, but rather it acts like compounding interest and provides exponential returns over time.
It also builds trust, likability, and recognition as people and customers begin to rely on you as a trusted and authoritative source for information.
The beauty is that once you understand the value and significance of a strategic social media marketing campaign and commit to integrating and scheduling it into your business the dangers of inconsistency become a thing of the past.
Mistake #13 Leading with anything other than value
To fully capitalize on the returns available with social media you need to understand and appreciate the mentality of the average social media user and adjust your strategy to that.
Unlike Google or Amazon which are search based platforms, the typical social media user isn’t logging onto the platform with credit card in hand and the intention to click, buy, and do business with your company.
Rather they are there to engage with family and friends, consume content, kill time, or catch up on the latest viral video or news headline.
It’s for this reason that so many direct response, infomercial type, pushy, hard selling, “I’m so great” messages crash and burn when they’re simply cut and pasted into social.
The key here is to understand the mentality behind social, and seek to engage your customers with value providing content that enriches their lives by either educating, entertaining, or a combination of both.
Mistake #14 Not being authentic
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in business, and with your social media marketing is mistake #14, not being authentic.
I don’t just mean the obvious things either like not lying, cheating, stealing, or deceiving your customers, but even the more subtle things like being true to yourself, true to your brand, and true your business.
Customers today are quickly able to detect a fraud and thanks largely in part to the financial meltdown of 2008 they’re also a lot less receptive to big faceless corporations and meaningless mission statements.
In today’s economy being overly polished, rehearsed, or scripted may actually hurt your business.
The good news is that it’s a pretty easy fix.
All you need to do is define and establish your values and principles, and then live them, day in, and day out. Simply be yourself and don’t be afraid to show it.
Minor flaws and idiosyncrasies? Those are fine too. We’re all human after all, and your customers will appreciate your genuineness and humanity.
Mistake #15 Being afraid to ask for help
At the end of the day social media marketing is one of the most important tools you can implement in your business.
Facebook influences over half of all online and offline consumer purchases, Pinterest drives 25% of all retail website traffic, 81% of millennials check Twitter at least once a day, and on any given day, Snapchat reaches 41% of all 18 to 34-year-olds in the US alone.
Which all points to one thing. You simply can’t ignore this powerful force if you want your business to thrive, let alone survive moving forward.
But with so many options available, and so many different ways to win, and lose with social, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and put it off thinking you’ll get to it next week, next month, or next year.
Which is why mistake #15 is being afraid to ask for help.
Whether that means buying a book, taking a course, or hiring an agency, the businesses and entrepreneurs who take action and commit to adopting a social media strategy in their business will be the ones best positioned for success today, tomorrow, and for years to come.