Top 10 Social Media Mistakes

This post is a revisit to one of my old articles (can also be found on Sitemason.com). I have updated it a bit and am sharing it again because I think it has some good information that is still relevant on what-not-to-do in your social media campaign. Enjoy!

Mistake #1: Sporadic Updates

If you are only updating your social media profiles and networks occasionally, you are likely to lose followers and leads, as well as discourage your current customers/clients. It is so important to update all of your social platforms on a regular basis, without inundating your followers with irrelevant content and filler. Use status updates, graphics and images, interactive ideas (such as polls, surveys, events, and contests), and interesting information to engage your audience and keep them coming back to your profile or website. These are your returning visitors, and they are imperative to the success of your social media campaign.

Tip: Set aside a specific block of time each day to devote to your social media accounts.

Time Saving Tip: Connecting your social platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, can help you save time by updating them simultaneously. There are also apps that allow you to schedule social media posts, so you can create them when you have time but schedule them to be posted to your account at a time when the majority of your audience is online. Hootsuite and Buffer are great tools for scheduling posts!

Mistake #2: Too Many Profiles

Many businesses mistakenly choose quantity over quality in this area. Creating profiles on ALL of the social networks can actually be detrimental to your social media strategy (unless you are a large corporation with an entire department devoted to social media). One reason for this is that not all social media sites will work for all businesses. You want to find the best ones for your particular business or niche, and be sure to be active in them. Having an overabundance of profiles to update and networks to engage in can be extremely overwhelming and almost guarantees sporadic updating (refer to number one above), because you simply won’t have enough time to be as attentive as necessary. Remember to leave yourself time to engage with your audience, as well.

Tip: Be selective. Join a handful of relevant social media websites that fit your company’s needs and engage your audience.

Mistake #3: Not Becoming Engaged

Ideally, you should make it a point to recognize and reply to every comment you receive on your blog posts, website, status updates, tweets, articles, etc. You want your profiles to engage your followers through comment replies. Ignoring the opportunity to engage and interact with your community is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in social media. Gone are the days of talking to your audience. They want you to speak with them.

Tip: Set up e-mail or push notifications to alert you to new comments and, if time permits, answer them as they come in. If not, try setting aside a certain amount of time each day to reply to your comments.

Mistake #4: Confusing “Marketing” with “Engaging”

Many small business owners feel that social media is not giving them the leads they need. However, this is not because the leads are not there. The reason for this is that these companies are attempting traditional marketing and sales strategies in the world of social media, instead of taking the time to listen to their audience and learn more about their needs. Your social media strategy should be more about providing information and establishing yourself as an authority in your field. Building your reputation in this way will translate to more leads, which will yield more sales.

Tip: Utilize consistent, relevant, fresh content to “market” your company. Your content should do all of your “marketing” for you. Make it a point to directly answer any questions your audience may have to help elevate you to expert status.

Mistake #5: Spamming or Excessive Promoting/Advertising

Many companies have become involved in spamming as a method of advertising. This tactic no longer works as internet users have become very savvy and learned to ignore and filter these messages without even looking at them. Be very careful when hiring an internet marketing agency because some of the self-proclaimed “experts” in this area simply launch spamming campaigns which are highly unethical and largely ineffective.

Tip: Obtain a marketing outline from the agency which illustrates their marketing strategy for your company, brand, services, and/or products before signing any contracts.

Mistake #6: “Generic” or “Stock” Avatar

Clients and potential clients alike can become suspicious of businesses that use the website’s stock avatar or profile picture. It can cast doubt about the credibility of the company. In addition, this is an indication that the company is not experienced with and/or knowledgeable about social media.

Tip: Use your company’s logo as your avatar on social media platforms that allow it. On websites which require an actual photo of the profile owner, use the best picture of yourself that you have. Make sure the photo is as professional as possible. Don’t use a grainy selfie!

Mistake #7: Not Having a Plan

A lack of planning, preparation, organization, and strategy will result in the failure of a company’s social media campaign. It takes more than simply launching a profile, blog, or social media presence to run a successful campaign. Appropriate planning and follow-up are integral to the success of any social media strategy.

Tip: First, identify your purpose and audience. This will make it easier to formulate a plan, prepare, organize, and strategize.

Mistake #8: Inconsistent Branding

It is important to ensure that your branding is consistent throughout all of your profiles on each of your social media platforms. The sheer amount of social media profiles that a company can set up can lead to multiple brand identities on multiple sites. This tends to confuse the audience, making it more difficult for them to find pertinent information. They may also become fragmented by this.

Tip: Stay consistent. Set up your first profile, making sure to be as detailed as possible, then use it as a guide when filling out subsequent profiles. Don’t necessarily use it word-for-word, but the guide will help you remember to include all of the most important information which plays a role in your company’s branding.

Mistake #9: Trying to “Measure” Social Media Impact

Since I first wrote and published this article, a couple of key things have changed. 1.) Social media analytics have become more accessible and accurate. 2.) With more social platforms offering (or planning to offer) a way to make purchases directly from their websites and/or apps, I suspect measuring return on investment (ROI) from these will become easier. However, there is still no surefire way to measure ROI from social media, as you don’t necessarily know who has made purchases because they saw a tweet, Facebook post, etc. Companies can come up with measurable goals, but they must realize that it is very difficult to attach a monetary value to user engagement or customer relations. Another aspect of business that is difficult to measure is customer retention, which social media can help increase.

Tip: Become engaged in the community. (Refer to number three above.) If you stay active, you will retain your audience/following.

Mistake #10: Giving Up Before You Have a Chance to Succeed

Some companies dabble in social media, not giving it the attention it deserves or requires, and then claim no ROI. Oftentimes, this is before they have even identified their audience and/or devised a strategy to meet realistic business goals. (Refer to number seven above.)

Tip: Select a few, highly targeted social media sites to join, develop a strategy, and jump right in. Get active and stay active. Be patient. It takes a little time to build an audience or following. (Refer to number two above.)

To Conclude…

There is little doubt that social media has become, and will continue to be, a powerful tool to grow your business. When used wisely, it will provide your audience with a way to interact and engage with your brand. It can also be leveraged to boost your reputation and establish you as an authority. Being considered a trusted expert in your field will help turn your audience into customers and clients.

By: Danielle Dandridge