By now, social media is an established marketing channel, with numerous educational resources available to empower and support businesses and entrepreneurs of every size. Still, many companies are making big mistakes on social media. These mistakes are costing those companies in terms of reputation, reach, and ROI, which all impact the bottom line.
Not Having a Business Page/Account
Many companies are still trying to market through a personal account set up in the business name, instead of establishing a true business or professional account. This is especially true on Facebook and LinkedIn, where personal accounts in the business’s name creates a great deal of confusion. Those personal accounts are also often hidden from most searches that could generate new leads and followers. Not only is it free and easy to set up a business page, many platforms are starting to restrict or even ban users who market through personal accounts instead of a business account. To avoid the blacklist, you need to establish your business account right away if you are marketing through a personal profile.
Not Sharing on Staff Personal Accounts
Leaders and staff should be liking, sharing, and commenting on company posts. Not only does this help boost the page rankings and visibility, it also helps get the company in front of their networks, which include clients, prospective clients, and industry professionals. Leaders need to set the example and be the first to actively engage and share their brand’s content with their followers.
Only Sharing Promotional or Owned Content
Another common mistake is to treat social media as a purely promotional medium. Consumers today want to be educated and entertained. Accounts that solely share their own content or only post sales pitches are a turn off for the consumer who wants to learn, be valued, and locate resources that can make their lives better. Many marketing professionals recommend keeping owned or promotional content to 20% of the total content, with the other 80% as a mix of third-party resources such as news media, influencers, and even competitors. This isn’t always feasible, especially for niche companies, but if you can, make sure you are providing a good mix of owned/promotional content with related resources from other sources.
Only Sharing Your Content Once
On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are many brands who are posting a blog, white paper, or other owned content once in their social media streams. People log in and consume social media and different times. Also, there are multiple brands and topics they follow that have multiple posts per day. To be seen, you have to share your content several times, in different intervals, with different copy and images, to ensure you are maximizing your views and reaching as many people as possible. Social media management platforms like Hootsuite make it easy to schedule out content over weeks and even months, so you don’t have to login every time and share it yourself.
Focusing on the Wrong Platforms for Your Business
So often we see brands wasting time on social media platforms that do nothing for their business. Facebook is one that almost every company thinks they should be on, but for many it’s not where their customers go to connect with brands and content like theirs. Some companies also try to hit too many social media platforms at once, diluting their efforts and overinvesting in platforms that, again, do not produce the ROI they need. Not only is it okay to only have a presence or one or even a couple platforms, for many companies, there often is one platform that pays out better than the rest. Even among my own clients, I have some who score big on Instagram, and others who only see traction on LinkedIn. They each serve a different purpose. So, focus on the platform whose purpose and audience best match your target client.
Not Using Hashtags
Hashtags are fundamental to getting found on social media. They allow you to tag your content with relevant keywords and search terms that users follow. They can also be used for branding purposes if you create your own and are able to drive adoption. However, sticking with known and popular hashtags is ultimately the best way to get in front of new followers. One of the best resources for finding and selecting hashtags is Hashtags.org. You can search by keywords to find relevant hashtags, including information on how the hashtag originated, the content, number of posts/searches, and other relevant insights.
Valuing Quantity Over Quality
Erroneously, folks assume that social media is a volume game. Unfortunately, publishing excessively high numbers of posts can turn off followers, while large numbers of followers don’t necessarily translate into engaged prospective buyers. Its more important (and fruitful) to focus on quality content and attracting active, engaged followers then shooting for hundreds of thousands of fans.
Likes have become a false indicator of a piece of content’s impact on the sales process. That’s because a like has become a passive action, taken largely because someone likes the picture associated with the post or the person who posted. They almost unconsciously click “like” as they mindlessly scroll through their feed, largely ignoring the actual message of the post. What does signify impact though are comments, clicks, and shares. That shows true engagement and effort on behalf of the prospect and is a much better indicator of interest than the passive like.
Not Having Back-up Admins
This is a big issue we run into, especially when we take over a new client’s social media management. Handing the reins to your brand’s identity online to a sole intern or outside party can create big headaches when those relationships turn sour. We always recommend having at least two staff members as admins. That way, should one of you be hit by a bus or quit, at least one other employee can access the accounts. This also prevents a third-party social media marketer from hijacking your accounts and holding them hostage (sadly, it has happened in our industry). In the interest of protection and worst-case scenarios, it’s always good to at least have multiple people who can access the accounts in an emergency, even if they never do any of the actual social media marketing.
Not Tracking Data
Social media can become a vortex of waste, sucking time and resources if not properly managed. Data and analytics help you identify what activities are paying off, and which aren’t, so you can focus on doing more of what’s working and avoid or eliminate what isn’t. If you are an in-house marketing professional, data and analytics also helps justify your time and effort and lets you brag to the boss when your amazing post drives visitors to a key landing page.
Social media is a necessary and powerful part of a company’s marketing strategy. To truly maximize the return on investment, you need to make sure you’re employing best practices, protecting your online presence, and focusing on creating value for your target clients. If you have no idea what you’re doing, there are plenty of free online resources, like Social Media Examiner. Or you can work with a marketing agency, like Connor Creative, to help you define your strategy and set up your accounts the right way.