There’s a trap that’s easy to fall into: You know you should be doing social media marketing (SMM), but you really don’t understand how it works, so you just jump in without any strategy, interaction, analysis, or effective approaches. You do it for the sake of doing it, minimizing the time, effort, and resources you put into it.
This doesn’t work. You’ll never see results so you’ll never see the point. You’ll assume it’s a bunch of hype and your halfhearted efforts will fizzle out and leave behind a collection of aging, inactive accounts, grave markers of more failed attempts to those who stumble across them.
If you dove into social media marketing without taking the time to learn about how and why it works, there’s a good chance you’re making some—if not all—of these 10 common SMM mistakes:
Treating Social Media Pages Like Ad Platforms
People don’t use social media to have more ads thrust in their faces. They use it to be social, to research and learn, to be entertained, to engage. If you want them to follow you and like you, give them reasons to; don’t give them reasons to ignore you like they do most other advertising.
Posting for Your Self-Interest
Similar to the above, you can’t just post over and over again about your brand. People don’t care. Speak to their interests, and they’ll pay attention and develop a relationship with your brand. Social media marketing is all about giving your target audience what they want—not what you want.
Not Identifying Your Target Audience
Of course, to give the people what they want, you have to know who they are and what they’re looking for. What interests do people in your target market have? What information do they need? What sort of content do they read and watch? What noncompetitive services and products can benefit them?
Skimping on Quality and Value
Giving the people what they want provides value. It gives them a reason to turn to you. Everything you post on social media should deliver something of value. This also requires quality. All content you share should be well crafted and reliable, or else you lose credibility and respect.
There are various ways to be perceived as spammy on social media sites. Posting relentlessly is one, while reposting the same things repeatedly is another. Also, only sharing links to your own website/content is no good; selflessly share from others more than yourself.
Focusing on Quantity
It’s not the number of followers or likes or connections you have that matters in SMM; it’s whether you’re engaging the right people. Sure, a big number looks impressive, but if you’re not speaking to people who care and might want to pay you for something some day, it’s pointless.
Not Picking and Choosing Sites
There are so many social networking sites, but you don’t need to be on all of them. Most are better suited to some industries than others. Use one or two sites well rather than slap profiles and links up on many without engaging or learning about what sort of content performs best on which sites.
Not Engaging with People
Note the “social” in social media. People want to be stimulated, participate in discussions, feel like they’ve been heard, and see that you want the same things. If all you do is auto-post links and fail to start conversations, take part in others, and respond, you won’t get anywhere.
Isolating Your Website
Social media should be integrated into your site, providing links to social accounts and easy ways for visitors to share your content. And your social media pages should have a link to your site, occasional links to your site content, and information about your brand. Everything should feed everything else.
Failing to Measure and Adapt
Countless free and cheap web tools are available for monitoring the analytics of your social media pages and posts, and most of the big sites provide analytics themselves. You have to pay attention to what’s working and what’s not and make appropriate strategy adjustments in response.