Part 7 – Social Media Marketing Mistakes To Avoid – by Tony Burke

What mistakes do business owners make when implementing their social media strategies? There are quite a few and we’re going to look into it so that your strategy comes out with a thumbs up, retweet or plus 1.


Thinking of social media implementation as a sprint instead of a marathon

A lot of people expect the job to be quick and simple but that’s not the case. You can’t get into it and commit a month to social media then step back and hope it all work out in the end. The plan will fail (#fail) and you won’t have anyone to blame but yourself. Give it time to grow and be there to make sure you adjust the details of your plan as needed. Remember you are building relationships –so commit at least a year to engagement and advertising before you can expect to see real traction.

Not having a strategy

This would be the biggest mistake anyone could make when running any type of business. Have a clear strategy. Understand why you are using it and what you expect to get from it. Keep tabs on the movements on your social platforms to make sure you’re on track. Have what manpower you need to support the  your efforts.

Not listening

Just because you have good content and can keep your audiences engaged indefinitely doesn’t mean you should go out on a relentless rant about whatever you think is important. The core of what you’re doing should be to make connections; and, just like what happens in the real world, (away from the internet) people will like you more if you seem to listen to their rambles and want to help them. If you’re constantly talking and not paying attention to the feedback then you’ll miss out on a great deal.

Posting  bad feelings

This happens more times than you’d imagine. A few CEOs have resulted to using sites like Twitter to air their bad feelings, starting pointless arguments with competitors, workers, etc. Some people go as far as posting bad language and that’s about as low as anyone can get. Try to remember ethics and conduct yourself professionally- that way people will respect you and you won’t have to worry about negative brand image.

Not moderating self-promotion

This happens in small businesses where the powers that be spend most of their time trying to market or promote themselves. Don’t forget social media is constantly evolving; so what you’re doing now might not appear to hurt your business, but your brand could suffer later on. Look at the forums and find out what the customers are saying. And don’t forget about the reach you have on social media. It can take years to build a business and watch it go down in minutes because someone wasn’t paying attention.

Unrealistic goals

You cannot expect social media to run your business entirely. It’s not the only way to get results to so polish up the other tools you have in your arsenal and see how you can compartmentalise. Whatever plans you come up with, ensure you set reasonable expectations for your team.

Not making the posts relevant to the customer

Nobody wants to receive 20 tweets a day hearing about you. People want messages that are relevant and of value to them. So give them something that’s going to be interesting, useful and shareable: but don’t send too many messages because you don’t want the consumer annoyed. Keep the messages short, spaced and of value to the consumer.

Not responding to fans – Common mistakes here are:

•  Ignoring customers

•  Not updating content – opening hours, contact numbers etc.

•  Bad design and old branding

•  Not responding to or addressing comments and complaints

•  Spending too much time working on promotional material

Not understanding personal and professional lines

If you’re using your Facebook page to post professional material about your business, try not to make it a platform for your other casual or personal posts. Decide whether you want an account to be personal or professional, but don’t make it both. LinkedIn is a good platform for conducting business professionally, so you could set up there, and use Facebook for more personal content.

Making casual assumptions

If you evaluate many cases of failure, much of it can be attributed to false assumptions. Highlight these assumptions and stay away from them:

•  Researching and monitoring aren’t important-

On the contrary, it is critical to understand the way your market engages with each other and with your company.

•  The best way to initiate customer engagement and interaction is through social media-

While social media provides a good platform for businesses to engage with customers, it’s not the only way to interact and it’s certainly not good for every type of business, so check out your customer behavior.

•  It’s impossible to measure ROI-

There are dozens of tools you can access online for this, so don’t operate under that assumption. Certainly don’t assume that a poor month in sales is a direct response to your digital marketing strategy. Engage a more realistic approach to ROI. Did your social media reach grow? if yes, that is what is called improvement.

A business profile  is more important than a personable profile

Many companies start out by making company profiles appear as company portals. What this does is increase bounce rates because people check in and then flip out to different profiles and don’t even scroll down. To avoid this, start by creating a profile that people will find interesting. Work on getting them in, engage them and then carefully start delivering your sales message.

Underestimating the resources needed to put it all together

How much do you think it would cost your business to set up and maintain a decent social program? Look at the math to make sure you don’t have the wrong idea. A sustained marketing plan (online and offline) should equal at least 6% of your turnover. It has been that way for over 100 years,  so this new fad called the internet shouldn’t change that.

Failing to understand that it’s all about building relationships

If you’re getting into social media because everybody else is doing it and it feels as if you’re getting left out, then you won’t have a proper plan to succeed. It’s one of the reasons people go and throw out all sorts of profiles on every social platform worth mentioning, trying to sell the brand to everyone, and hopelessly failing.

When you understand that the concept is relationship-building and give it time to grow and mature, then you’ll make different choices.

Not integrating with other social assets

The way to get the most out of social media is to integrate it with other forms of digital marketing efforts. Don’t leave your Twitter account on an island and hope for the best; link the accounts together and make sure they are all tethered to email, paid ads and search, and the website.

Use this guide to help stay away from some of the more common mistakes companies make on social media, and remember to use images and other visual content to help get people’s attention so that you can drive the point.

Stay tuned for our final part of the marketing 101 blog series, 10 Tips To Boost  Website Traffic from social media.