Some business owners are polarized when it comes to the success of social media marketing efforts. Some swear by it while others say it just doesn’t accomplish much of anything.
It’s been our experience that those businesses who struggle with social media ROI are not leveraging it correctly. We’ve developed this list of common social media mistakes in order to help businesses actualize the benefits of social media.
- No Social Media Strategy
If you simply signed up for several social media accounts with little thought to your purpose for each, you probably aren’t getting great results. That’s why it’s imperative to have a social media strategy.
It’s wise to have an overarching social media strategy with concrete social media goals. Start by understanding what you want social media to do for your brand. Drive traffic? Increase engagement? Enhance customer service?
Knowing what you want to achieve on each social channel, as well as developing a plan for how you’ll accomplish it, is the only way to get results. If, for example, you want to drive traffic to a landing page for a contest, that will shape your interactions on each social site. Establishing that as a goal and then outlining your actions to achieve it will help you hit your mark.
- Spending Too Much on Paid Advertising
While social media advertising can be a valuable tool for enhancing a social media plan, overspending without paying attention to results will only cost you money.
Each social ad platform has its own benefits. LinkedIn is ideal for connecting with business professionals. Facebook ads can help you find new fans who could have an interest in your product or service. It’s important to test out a few different channels (especially if you can get ad coupons) and monitor the results.
If a platform is costing you money and not netting the results you want, reinvest in the platforms that do drive results.
- Overusing Hashtags
While hashtags have their purpose, many brands don’t know how to use them effectively, ultimately abuse them to the point of turning off their followers. Hashtags are designed to sort social conversations and make it easier for people to find what they’re looking for. But there’s a tipping point when you’ve got too many hashtags.
Boil down your hashtag consumption to just one, maybe two, hashtags per post. What is the keyword or main focus of this update? If there is a corresponding hashtag for it, use it. But, don’t put 18 hashtags just to try to attract followers. It’s tacky. Beware of using hashtags across channels that don’t use them much, either – for example, on LinkedIn.
- Being on the Wrong (or Too Many) Social Media Platforms
So many businesses waste time on the wrong social sites, or sign up for all of them, thinking they can reach more people that way. Chances are, your audience spends time on one or two sites primarily. That’s where your focus should be.
This means you’ll have to spend time getting to know your audience so that you understand which social platforms they frequent. You’ll also need to pay attention to the results of your efforts on a given platform: if you’re spending a lot of time and energy posting updates and getting no follows, clicks, or likes, you might be barking up the wrong tree. On the other hand, if you’re seeing an increase in followers and interactions over time, this is a good channel for you to invest more energy in.
- Pushing Your Own Agenda
Just like in face-to-face networking, online social networking cannot be all about you and what you’re trying to sell. It’s about building relationships and trust; creating value for your network.
So many businesses offer up a steady stream of “buy our products!” in updates, which alienates their followers, many of whom may unfollow them. A better tactic is to include no more than 20% of social updates as promotional. The rest should be a mix of valuable links, commentary, questions, videos and images.
Social media can be a tool to enhance your business, but it requires effort to understand what’s working and what’s not. Pay attention to the audience response(s) and monitor the outcome of your goals to tweak and refine your strategy.
Kristian Rivera is a digital marketing specialist at Fit Small Business, a rapidly growing website for small businesses. When not helping other small business owners, Kristian manages a startup where he utilizes his experience in product management, digital marketing, analytics and business development.
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