Millions of brands compete for attention on social media, and the smallest mistake can trip you up.
Worldwide social media revenue has reached an impressive $16.9 billion, and social media marketing spend is projected to double by 2019. With all the dollars flying around and more eyes on the screen than ever before, social media marketing can seem like a modern-day gold rush.
The problem is that social media is a double-edged sword for marketing outreach. On one hand, it’s a great way to connect with customers, promote your brand, and support other valuable aspects of your marketing funnel. On the other hand, it’s a delicate public forum with thousands of eyes watching. Bad PR can spiral out of control fast.
But even without any catastrophic public meltdowns, many marketers are bedeviled by the details of their social media campaigns. Engaging viewers on social media isn’t easy, and any number of mistakes can trip you up.
One look at the 2015 Social Media Marketing Report is all you need to see this fact come to life: 91 percent of marketers want to learn the best ways to engage their audiences on social media, and yet only 45 percent of marketers actually believe that their Facebook marketing is effective.
And with Facebook reigning supreme as “the place” to be for social media marketing, these numbers are sobering indeed.
We believe the disconnect lies in the execution. Marketers want to engage audiences on social media but aren’t going about it the right way. Below, we’ve listed a few of the worst mistakes that we see time and time again. Check your own social media campaign and clean house of the following:
Everything we do on social media boils down to self-promotion, but there’s a limit to how much your customers can take. Imagine opening a brand’s page and seeing nothing but dollar signs, corporate slogans, and special offers. It’s not very exciting, and it’s not going to make anyone want to stick around. Did you know that of those who discuss brands online, a full 96 percent don’t even follow those brands’ official pages? We blame this on a lack of compelling content.
Engagement plummets when readers see nothing on a page but blatant advertisement. Yes, social media is a great channel for promoting yourself, but be careful about filling your feed with company-owned posts. A better strategy is to promote yourself via discussion—try to get your followers to contribute their experiences and successes. The best social media pages have a blend of sponsored content, customer comments, and organic discussion between consumers and your brand representatives.
Your Takeaway: Instead of more self-promotion, work on creating a lively, active page that features an interesting and diverse range of material. Engagement will come on its own.
Forgetting to Post
Engagement relies on a regular supply of content. It’s true of your blog and it’s true of your social media campaign. Why should readers keep visiting if there’s nothing new to see?
Many marketers neglect this important aspect of social media management and, naturally, lose followers. To build (and maintain) engagement, you must give your audience fuel for the conversational fire. Posting often gives the impression of an active, energetic business that has plenty of value to share.
And if that’s not enough, just look at it from your readers’ perspective. What do we think when we see a brand’s page that is lifeless, dormant, dead?
We assume the business itself is lifeless, dormant, or dead. There’s something unsettling about an abandoned social media page. Avoid the matter completely by keeping a regular posting schedule.
Your Takeaway: Regular posting guarantees that readers will have something interesting to see each time they visit. Posting often drives page activity and engagement.
Spreading Yourself Too Thin
This mistake is rooted in common sense. The more channels you use, the more people you reach, right? That part is true. The problems start when you spread your social media campaign so thin that your efforts are diluted. This is where the mistake occurs: The broader your scope, the less attention you’re able to give to each.
Instead of trying to make yourself known throughout every corner of the internet, focus your attention on your market’s favorite channels. Your web analytics should provide insight here, along with tried-and-true research. Different demographics prefer different platforms, and honing in on your markets’ most used platforms guarantees that your marketing doesn’t suffer for the sake of more channels.
Your Takeaway: Marketers must prioritize the channels that deliver the best returns—and get comfortable passing on the rest.
Leaping the Social Media Hurdles
Social media marketing is great, but only when it’s done right. Plenty of marketers start with the best intentions but get tripped up when handling the day-to-day details. Keep the following tenets in mind to improve your social media engagement across the board:
- Focus more on encouraging discussion than selling your brand.
- Post regularly (and often!) to keep the conversation brewing.
- Only focus on the channels that will yield the best results.
If you make these three tenets a central part of your social media philosophy, you might be surprised at the amount of engagement your content will see.