Social media for your business sounds like it would be a piece of cake. You type 140 characters, you post a picture, update your status, boom. Turns out, a one track mind like that will leave your business in shambles. There’s a craft behind social media marketing; one that requires a lot of planning and insight about your audience. Here are 7 ways you may be failing at social media, and steps to turn your mishaps into must-haves.
1. Going in blind without a plan. One of the biggest mistakes a company can do is going into social media without a plan. These networks may be free, but in order to use them properly, you’re going to have to spend a lot of time (and time means money).
How to fix it: Make GOALS. What does your company want to accomplish through it’s campaign? Who is your target audience? Do you want to increase sales? Product awareness? Or both? These are just a few among hundreds of questions you may ask yourself when planning a marketing campaign. Make goals that are specific, measurable, realistic, attainable and timely.
2. Thinking a one-sided relationship will work. Think about it…people don’t like to be talked at. People want to have a conversation. The only way to improve your brand as well as your audience’s attitude is to engage.
How to fix it: LISTEN. Pay attention to what your customers are saying about your products and brand, and take it into consideration. The quicker you take note of the problems, the quicker you can fix your social media strategy accordingly. Make sure you also reply to your customers in a kind and timely fashion. If you find that it’s too difficult to keep up, minimize the amount of platforms you have.
3. Keeping personal and business accounts together. This is one of those things that can get your brand in a LOT of trouble. For example, an employee from KitchenAid accidentally posted a tweet that was rather offensive regarding Obama. The tweet was meant for her personal profile, but was sent out on the KitchenAid handle. PR had a lot of explaining to do.
How to fix it: Separate the accounts. It will keep you safe from a PR disaster. As a rule of thumb to be safe, don’t say anything on your personal profile that you wouldn’t say on your business profile. You shouldn’t be posting offensive or inappropriate tweets on your personal profile anyway, as it can symbolize your lack of professionalism to your employer, future employers and clients.
4. Being too “salesy.” Often times companies become too focused on urging someone to do something. “Buy a ticket today” or “Please follow us on Instagram” are ok every once in awhile, but excess messages come across as pressuring, and can drive people away.
How to fix it: Focus on what they need and not what you want. While it may not lead to immediate sales/results, building a trusting relationship with customers will result in loyalty; which can ultimately lead to long-term sales. Be creative in your messages; tell stories, make customers feel special. A little thought will go a long way!
5. Not measuring results. Numbers don’t lie. While you may think your campaign is successful, you can never know for sure.
How to fix it: Using a social media organization tool like Hootsuite will allow you to use analytics based on your different social media platforms. Did your results meet your goals and objectives? Looking at the results will help you determine what aspects of the campaign could be fixed for next time. It also reveals a lot about what your customers might think that you wouldn’t have been able to tell directly.
6. Assuming content will translate the same across different platforms. It’s tempting to want to type a post and send it out the exact same across every platform. It’s the easy way out, mainly for the time efficiency. However, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. were all created for different purposes, and tailor to specific audiences.
How to fix it: Tailor your message to the specified platform, and pay attention the language used on each. Twitter for example is short, sweet and to the point. Google+ on the other hand allows for a larger description. Say you are the social media coordinator for Starbucks. You want to promote a new deal, let’s say buy a Frappuccino, get the second half off. A tweet may say, “I think we made her morning…only a few more hours of #buyonegetone!” and post a picture of a happy customer. On Google+, you can include more detailed information about the deal, including which locations, how long it lasts, etc.
7. You’re not SEO optimizing. Too often, social media marketers are clueless as to what keywords their marketing team is optimizing around. Major advances in SEO technology allow for incredible potential for your brand, and can be crucial in feeding people to your content.
How to fix it: Create a shared content calendar with your marketing team including keywords your company is trying optimize around. Include these terms and tags in your social media posts!