For the past few years marketers and businesses have been flocking to social media, the land of free advertising, boundless organic reach and customer engagement - or so they think!
Is social media the Holy Grail of online marketing? Well, that all depends on how you use it. Unfortunately there are many common pitfalls and mistakes that brands make on social media, most of which are easily avoidable.
Is your brand using these platforms to their best advantage or are you committing social media suicide? Let’s discuss the ways that your brand strategy might be falling short when it comes to marketing on social media:
Mistake #1 – Not prioritising quality content creation
A common mistake many brands commit is paying to promote content rather than allocating their budget to create quality original content that will naturally increase organic and paid reach. Of course there is no limit to how much you can spend to get social media algorithms to shove posts down people’s throats but is that going to translate to positive brand associations and conversions?
Marketing evangelist Gary Vaynerchuk said it best: “No amount of paid media is going to turn bad media into good creative’.’’ The inbound leads you get from quality, organic social media reach is worth far more than those coming from an ad spend.
Creativity knows no limits and brands should be investing in the type of content which adds value to their customers lives and engages people effortlessly. Paid media spends can’t compete with high quality content; the kind that people willingly want to share and circulate without you having to work at it.
Mistake #2 - Using social media as a sales platform
While there is a dedicated space for advertising on most social media networks, your regular posting schedule and communications with your followers shouldn’t be confused with this. People use social media channels to be social and to interact with you and your brand, not to be marketed to!
Social media interactions should be a two-way street and you should be channelling your energy into connecting with your customer and building rapport. Your social channels are the perfect place to initiate a dialogue with them, figure out their pain points and find out how you can add value by reading comments, asking questions, and replying to queries. Every little bit of communication helps you get to know your audience a little better and once you know who you are catering to, you can continuously improve.
A push to purchase or directing your audience towards your website or shopping cart is ok once in a while, but don’t make it a daily ritual. Social media is not meant for revenue generation, it’s a by-product of it.
Mistake # 3 – Not prioritising engagement
Another common mistake is to write for the search engine algorithms. It’s important to spike the algorithms by writing longer posts and taking care of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). But, don’t forget that you’re writing to capture people’s attention and engage readers.
Remember – brands today are battling for ‘attention’ which has essentially become the most expensive and hard-to-earn commodity. People need a reason to stop while scrolling, pause, and click on a post. Give them that reason or you’ll lose out on a lot of potential readers; not to mention customers.
Be sure everything you put out on social media, whether it’s a post or an article focuses on engagement. Since most platforms only display as little as top 3 lines, make them good ones. Use a catchy headline, but at the same do not write misleading titles. Ask questions, include a touch of humour or give some fun facts. Make it a worthy read and above all – make sure it’s engaging.
Mistake #4 – Not responding in a timely fashion
Social media is a two-way street. You cannot just shoot an arrow and not wait to see if it hits the target. You have to remain active and monitor the conversation. How are people responding to the posts, articles, and everything you’re putting out? Regardless of whether you’re getting complaints or appreciation, it’s important that you remain responsive.
If people are facing any issues or giving you feedback, use it as a platform to offer a solution. Initiate a dialogue because the more active you remain, the more rapport you’ll build with your audience.
Make it a point to be consistent with your responses. Have a dedicated team in place whose job is to respond to comments. Even if your business receives complaints and negative reviews, how you handle them can still reflect positively on your brand.
Mistake #5 - Not leveraging the power of visual content
According to Hubspot, “37% of marketers said visual marketing was the most important form of content for their business, second only to blogging (38%).’’
Humans are visual creatures and we are naturally drawn to anything that is visually inviting. Use this fact to your advantage and give the stock images a miss.
Create original content featuring your brand that commands your customers to pay attention. Do not make the mistake of drafting an excellent piece of content and not support it with an enticing image or video. If industry stats are to be believed, people retained 65% of the information contained in a post that had at least one image and only 10% when it did not. Therefore, make sure to include at least one high quality image in every single post to make it memorable for your audience.