15 Social Media Marketing Mistakes … And How To Fix Them

Whether you are just getting started using social media for your brand or you are well acquainted with the do’s and don’ts of social media marketing, it pays to take a fresh look at some of the most common mistakes businesses make online to ensure you are not making them too. Here are fifteen social media management mistakes I see happen most often — and how to fix them.

#1 Being Overly Promotional On Social Media

Posting content that focuses solely on your own offering is sure-fire way to turn people off. Sprout Social surveyed more than 1,000 Facebook, Twitter and Instagram users to determine what annoys them about brands on social, what drives them to unfollow and which industries are on the right side of the line. Respondents indicated that the most annoying thing brands do on social is over-promote.

Try This Fix: Follow the 80/20 rule: 80 percent non-promotional content and 20 percent posts with calls to action. Experiment with posting quality content from others. To quickly find great relevant content on Facebook, use the Pages to Watch feature in your Facebook Page Insights.

#2 Not Responding To Comments/Complaints

The perils of over-promotion only escalate if brands are unresponsive. 1 in 4 people are annoyed when you don’t respond to them. And seeing as only 1 in 10 messages on social actually get a reply from brands, it’s likely that you’re ticking off a lot of fans. Getting into arguments with trolls doesn’t look great for your brand, but ignoring legitimate complaints, questions, or concerns is a major mistake.

Try This Fix: Although it’s tempting sometimes, don’t delete negative comments; instead respond to them in a positive and timely manner. While this advice is based on patience and understanding through communication and conversation, it does not apply to persistent trolls and those intent upon abusing you.

Image: Quill

Tip If you don’t already have a social media policy in place, create one right away which details the kind of comments you will allow (for example, no racist or abusive comments). Post your policy in a visible place on your social channels or share a link to a blog post on the subject.

#3 Not Defining Clear Objectives

When working with clients to create an online marketing strategy, one of my first questions to them is simply “what are you hoping to achieve with social media?” So many times I see businesses jump on board the latest social network, without any thought as to what they want to achieve there.

Try This Fix: Set SMART goals for your social media marketing. For a goal to become a reality, it needs to be specific, measurable, attainable, and realistic, as well as time specific, these are often called SMART goals.

#4 Not Identifying Your Target Audience

It’s essential to develop a deeper understanding of your target audience. Where do they like to hangout online? What content is most relevant to them? What kind of information are they looking for? How do they like to consume that information? Once you deeply know your audience, you can then start to build relationships with them and create content that is relevant to them.

Try This Fix: Use a tool like Followerwonk to get a better understanding of who your audience is, when they are most likely to engage with you, and to find new followers who overlap with similar social profiles and influencers.

#5 Being On The Wrong Social Channel

It’s important, especially if your resources are limited, that you’re focusing your social media efforts in places that will generate the most return for your efforts, but you can’t just guess at which ones those are. Not all social media is created equal. Different platforms attract different audiences. There’s no point spending your time on a particular social network, if your audience isn’t there. Nor should you spread yourself too thin by trying to be everywhere at once. Every additional platform your business is active on means additional time and effort required to engage on and create tailored content for that platform. Before becoming active on a social media channel, make sure to do the proper research. What is the target market? Is our target audience active on this channel? What are our competitors doing?

Try This Fix: If you are just starting out with social media, start with Facebook. It is the most widely used social media site by far, with 1.65 billion active users, and 66% of users logging on daily and spend an average of 50 minutes a day on the site.

If you’ve been using social media for some time, take stock of your social media platforms and consider which channels are performing for your business and which are not. Now you’ve identified who your audience is, map this information to social media behaviour. Use Surveys (e.g. Survey Monkey), Polls (PollDaddy; Facebook; Twitter), and publicly available reports to match your audience demographic to the social networks they use. It might be helpful to review the Pew Research Center’s Demographics of Social Media Users, which profiles the users of five major social media platforms — Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Global Web Index

#6 Not Posting Images

People connect more emotionally with images than text, and in an increasingly crowded digital landscape, when our minds are attracted more readily to content that draws our eye, images can break through the online content clutter to quickly communicate your marketing messages. The aesthetic quality of images encourages engagement and shares not just on these channels but also on Twitter and Facebook — research has shown that a tweet or a Facebook post that includes an image draws more attention than a text-only update.

Try This Fix: Avoid cheesy stock images; build up a photo library by using your own photographs and by finding suitable creative commons images.

#7 Posting Irregularly

Social media marketing is an ongoing commitment. You need to post consistently to stay in front of your audience’s eyes and keep growing. Consider that on Twitter, your content typically only lives for about 20 minutes; on Facebook, a few hours.

Posting consistently doesn’t mean you should choose quantity over quality. Posting too much might actually result in a decline in reach. Focus instead on posting high-quality, relevant updates your audience will want to share.

Try This Fix: Set aside one day each month to map out upcoming events, holidays, and so on, which you would like to write or post about. Then use a simple excel spread sheet to create your content calendar. Do the same thing with another spread sheet for social media postings.

#8 Not Posting When Your Audience Is Online

To optimise your social media engagement, it’s useful to know the best times to post your updates so they reach your audience when they are online.

Try This Fix: Follow this guide to the best times to post to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Tip: Everyone’s audience is different, so if you want to truly know when your audience is most active, it’s a good idea to do your own testing to determine the optimum times for your own particular audience.

#9 Posting Irrelevant Content

If you want people to get excited about sharing your content, you need to give them something worth sharing. Boring or irrelevant content will simply be ignored. Create tailored content for each platform — people have different expectations for the content they want to see on each platform.

When you plan or schedule a social media post, ask yourself if it’s going to interest, benefit, or ultimately delight your target audience. If the answer is “no,” reconsider sharing it. Hubspot

Try This Fix: Don’t just add to the online chatter. If you’re not adding value, you’re just adding noise. Before you post something, stop and ask yourself would this pass the re-share test? Why would I want to click on this information? Why would I want to share it with my friends/family? Hootsuite recommend you set up an editorial process for your posts. To help you they have prepared a handy flowchart, along with a list of questions to aid you with the vetting of your social media posts.

#10 Writing Boring Headlines

Your headline is the first impression you make on a prospective reader. An eye-catching headline is a key factor in getting readers to click through to your article.

Try This Fix: There are several free tools available to help you analyse your headlines. Try this one from CoSchedule which analyses your title and produces a score based on character length, emotional resonance, and keyword strength.

#11 Not Using Keywords Strategically

It’s important to include keywords in your titles if you want to rank higher for particular search terms. However, avoid key-word stuffing when you do this. Always put readability before search engine optimization.

Try This Fix: Brainstorm a list of important, relevant topics related to your business. Use a tool like Google Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest to find relevant keywords.

#12 Not Adding A Call-To-Action

Each time you write a blog post, or add new content to your website or Facebook page, you most likely have a goal in mind. Whether that goal is for a reader to share or comment on your latest blog, like your Facebook page, subscribe to your RSS feed, or purchase a product, adding a call to action increases the likelihood the reader will take the desired action and engage with you further.

Try This Fix: Don’t assume that readers will know what to do next. Make it clear and unambiguous what the next step is after reading your content.

#13 Not Having A Content Promotion Plan

Content has no value unless it’s shared. You could have the greatest piece of content in the world, but if no one can find it, does it really exist? Cross promote each piece of content you create — but do NOT copy and paste the same post on each platform. The platform and the audience using each, are unique and as such require a unique post. That doesn’t mean that you cannot create similar posts — but format each of them to meet the requirements of the specific platforms.

Try This Fix: Use a scheduling tool like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule your updates to reach more people, more often. While automating posting is fine for some things, you still need to interact with your audience to gain their respect, earn their trust, and build relationships. Always keep in mind that Social Media is just that — SOCIAL. Connect with content and then focus on building relationships by being there.

#14 Not Monitoring Social Media

Social media is a two-way conversation that requires you to listen more than you talk. It’s easy to get caught up in the metric of having the most likes on Facebook, views on YouTube and followers on Twitter as an indicator of your impact. But likes, views and followers are not an objective measure of your brand’s true position. You need to dig deeper to find what people truly think of your product or service.

Try This Fix: Set up keyword searches to incorporate your brand name and include words relevant to your industry. Don’t just monitor mentions of your brand’s name. Aim to evaluate sentiments attached to those mentions. Tweets that indicate issues with your company should be resolved immediately. Doing so strengthens public perception that your focus is strongly centered on customer satisfaction.

#15 Not Measuring Results

How do you know if all the time you’re investing in social media marketing is paying off? You don’t know unless you put a system in place to measure and analyse your efforts.

Try This Fix: Use built-in tools such as Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics, third-party tools, and measurement of social traffic and conversion with Google Analytics to track and measure your progress.