Social media marketing has enormous potential, especially in 2023 as the landscape shifts - but that potential can be good or bad for a business.
Marketers looking to make their mark will inevitably make a mistake or two (or more, if they’re not careful). We’ve all been there. The trick is to know what pitfalls lie in store so you can avoid a tumble.
To help, we asked our strategists, Lindsay Miller and S.K. Vaughn about the five most common mistakes pros will encounter in today’s social space. Read on to see what they said (one in particular may surprise you).
As much as we’d love to think otherwise, our content isn’t for everyone. You can’t be all things to all people, so you need to find out who your people are - and how you can find more of them.
One way to identify your ideal audience is to see who already gives you their time. “Pay close attention to who likes, shares and comments on your content,” says Lindsay. “Free tools like Google Analytics, Instagram Insights, and help you determine factors like age, location, language and interests.”
“If you aren’t sure who your audience is,” adds S.K., “I would stop before spending money on advertising and take the time to build out buyer personas.” A buyer persona can help you pinpoint the key demographic markers that you want to hit (and shape your content accordingly).
Your brand is your business. In a cluttered marketplace that’s growing more crowded each week, you have to stand out - and that means having a strong brand that isn’t like anyone else’s.
One common mistake, though, is not having a defined and consistent brand personality. S.K. cautions against creating generic content that leads to little - or no - engagement. Instead, “Humanize your brand” and post what matters to your audience and yourselves on a deeper level.
To keep your brand aligned in general, according to Lindsay, you should create brand guidelines. “Create a media kit with your brand colors, logos, fonts and images that will be used across all platforms like website, social and clickable pages,” says Lindsay. “Aesthetics are highly praised in this social media world, so it’s important to maintain visual consistency across channels.
Negativity flocks to social media like birds flock to…well, everything. Whether it’s a bad review or a horrendous comment, you can’t avoid negative content.
But you can overreact to it, and that’s usually thanks to panic - thinking “Oh no, this is bad - quick, do something!”
According to Lindsay, the most important thing is to remain calm. “Don't jump to conclusions or instantly try to delete comments or bad reviews,” says Lindsay. All isn’t lost; you can find ways to “spin the conversation into a positive outlook.”
S.K. says, Respond with appreciation, empathy, and professionalism. Always prompt the user to look at their inbox, DM, etc. to continue the conversation.” You want to engage, not ignore or clap back.
Speaking of engagement…
Far too many social media marketers think posting great content is all it takes. Great content is essential, but social media platforms are for having two-way conversations - not just a one-way speech to the masses.
“Not showing up consistently and not engaging with your audience are missed opportunities for your brand,” says S.K. “You can’t just put creative content out there and hope for the best. You also need a plan to engage with your audience. Go like their stories and respond to positive and negative comments. Ask questions and be intentional. Social media is meant to be social.”
Lindsay agrees. “Your success depends on how well those people feel connected to you and your brand. Treat them like friends, and they will be your biggest supporters. If you fail to respond to messages, it feels personal more than it did.”
People don’t connect with brands nearly as well as they connect with other people.
If you don’t know where you want to go, you’ll never know if you get there.
Before you get too far into executing a social media strategy, you first have to understand the objectives you’re aiming for - and that means creating goals and key performance indicators that’ll mark your progress.
There are three different types of desired outcomes: awareness, consideration, and lead generation (getting people to hear about you, think about you, and reach out to you).
“Your desired outcomes can only be measured when you know what you want to accomplish,” says Lindsay.
Take awareness, for example. According to S.K., a goal may be to “reach as many new potential customers as possible” who are interested in your product or service. For that group, KPIs could include impressions, brand mentions, thruplays, follower growth, and likes.
When you’re trying to get your audience to take action, you may mark progress by tracking clicks, landing page views, email sign ups, and cost per conversion. Ready to take the next step into paid advertising? Here are mistakes to avoid when running social media ads.
The best way to avoid a social media mishap - besides inventing time travel - is to create a cohesive and authoritative social media strategy: a guiding document that covers everything from your target audience and your crisis plan of action to what - and when - you’ll post.
This first step can prevent future missteps. Plan ahead and anticipate common problems before they happen, and your social media marketing campaigns will be more successful. Ready to move forward with your social media marketing plan? Let’s talk!
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