Top 19 Social Media Marketing Mistakes You Should Avoid
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Social media marketing is something that everyone is doing now. Be it an established business or a small local business. Everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon of making their brand presence felt on social networks. The simple reason being – that’s where the crowd is. However, there are some common social media marketing mistakes that most marketers make.
- Why do some social media marketing activities fail?
- Why are some Facebook and Twitter pages popular and not others?
- Why are your competitors doing better in social media marketing?
- What promises are you making and not catering to?
Everybody makes mistakes. Social media marketers are no different. Make too many mistakes, and you will see your follower count drop – along with your revenue stream.
As with all mistakes, the first step is becoming aware of them; then you will be able to avoid those mistakes. So, here are the top social media marketing mistakes that you should not make in your marketing:
1. Failing to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy!
Just as you need to figure out your business’s niche, product, and audience, so too do you have to approach your social media marketing strategy. Many companies might have executed without a solid social media marketing strategy, and you could be one of them.
The story goes like this: you decide to join the social network, make your profiles, load it with info, put great stuff out there to attract attention and then disappear. Within weeks of your ‘super’ launch, your page turns into a barren land with followers wondering what they are doing there and some people seeking answers and getting no replies. Your social media presence soon becomes a flop show!
Image Credit: Intersection Consulting
So the first step is to have a social media marketing strategy.
The social media marketing plan should be such that it should build on your presence and not let it dwindle. What is your goal in using social media? To gain likes and followers? Why? To create a new source of sales leads? To cement your brand’s authority? If you don’t know what your goal is, you won’t attain it. Any social media marketing strategy would need:
- Target audience
- Time investment
Social media is capable of sucking hours of productive time from you and your staff and give you nothing in return. You need to come up with a Social Media Marketing plan and stick to it. You need to have predefined and measurable goals, and you need to create plans to attain those goals. You need take steps to achieve those goals and set time limits to make sure you are not wasting days on fruitless endeavors.
You need to keep your resources in place to have the game progressing. Get your social media marketing strategy in place before you start. I will give you easy to follow steps that help you give your social media strategy a solid foundation. Read: How to Create Your Social Media Strategy?
2. Your Target Audience
Your audience is the most important thing! Know your target audience. You may be working very hard, but in the end, results will suffer if you are aiming in the dark.
3. Dealing with Social Media Negative Feedback
Nine out of ten brands make this mistake. Whenever a negative comment pops up, they come up with a lame excuse when in addressing it in social media. Some fudge it, some make apologies hands down.
Everyone fears that negative feedback would spoil their reputation. That is one of the great risks in social media. But instead of apologizing or ignoring negative comments, brands should see it as an opportunity to improve. Social media offers a great chance to start a conversation with the person who dropped the feedback.
Negative feedback is the honest opinions about the user experience of a product. The more detailed the feedback, the easier for a brand to understand the product’s shortcomings.
Customers, especially those who drop negative feedback, expect the brand to take them seriously. Customer’s expectations are constantly changing, but you should still do your ultimate best to meet their needs. Especially when your customers take the time to let you know what they think about you.
Customers don’t expect a formal apology but an assurance that the product experience would be better next time. Brands should clean up their acts and learn from feedback instead of pouring money into ORM campaigns.
Yet, negative feedback is not always a sign of a problem. Sometimes, it can be simply criticizing the brand. Instead of censoring such users, brands should still react to those messages somehow.
When you face negative feedback engage as early as possible. Create a response team who will be responsible for decisions and who will manage the social media channels during the crisis. Never engage in personal attacks. And most importantly, don’t panic.
How to Manage Social Media Crisis and Improve Negative Feedback
What to do when someone posts negative feedback among your carefully planned marketing messages and upbeat dialog with your fans. I have listed some of the best practice guidelines below. But first, let’s take a look at what types of negative feedback can you get on social media?
Types of social media negative feedback
The problem is the easiest to resolve. The problem is more of a support issue, but you have to keep it from blowing up by acknowledging the problem and fixing it quickly. Try to get the actual fixing out of social media channels. After successful resolution of the problem respond to an original post in social media.
Criticism is real feedback about what people feel is not working for them with your products and services. Criticism may explode if ignored or dealt with inappropriately. Examine the issue and let people know that you are looking into it. One way to minimize the criticism is to set up a suggestion box to gather opinions that would otherwise be expressed more negatively.
Crisis hits when someone is really pissed off and dedicated to beat you up. It is usually a result of earlier neglect (United breaks guitars) but can also be orchestrated as a campaign to an end (Nestle’s Palm Oil PR Crisis). First, make sure that there really is an issue and it’s not someone trying to create a problem out of thin air. If you screwed up, show real regret and apologize for what happened. Next, let people know what are you going to do about it. Give a timeline and specify actions you are going to take.
#1 Problem: Not addressing negative comments written on your profiles
Ignoring negative feedback has derailed more than its fair share of social media marketing campaigns. The negative comments may not get much response from other users, which leads the business to think it is not a big deal. But the people who look at your social media profile, see these messages are negatively affected.
Thousands of people may look at your social media profile, see the comment or review, and make no mention of the comment anywhere else. When people see something negative, they may not comment on that, but the damage is done. Respond to your negative comments with comments that will convert negative Nancys in into positive Paulines.
Here’s a List of Mistakes to Avoid in a Social Media Crisis
Social media is about people, and people like to be treated with respect. Treat people as individuals, be friendly and personal. If you approach your social media marketing activities with people in mind, then you should be OK. When the crisis hits, stay neutral and address the situation.
Concentrate on what you can change, work to find the solution, not the scapegoat.
What to keep in mind when dealing with negative feedback in your social media marketing:
Monitor social media to discover potential problems as early as possible. Monitor your brand’s entire social media presence. Social media channels, blogs, forums and news feeds.
Ignoring or Deleting Comments and Mentions
Don’t ignore the negative feedback as neglect will create more negative emotions. Act on complaints, answer questions, direct people to appropriate channels like support. Watch and be ready to react. You don’t have to respond to every negative mention. Negative product reviews and comparisons with other brands will always be there.
58% of tweets about negative customer experiences are still going unaddressed by companies on social media (Bluewolf). Responding to your social mentions – positive and negative – will help you address customer service issues, engage with your followers, and give you a good reputation.
- If you receive a negative mention or comment, don’t delete it.
- Ask the customer to call or email you, and keep your tone helpful and polite.
- Reacting poorly or deleting posts can give you a bad reputation that will be hard to shake.
Remember, you do not control the message, sit back and relax. Let your employees and customers talk freely.
Make sure that your employee cannot accidentally post personal messages on brand channels (Red Cross).
- Be real. Faking customer interaction by hiring an agency (or employee) to pretend to be a brand advocate is not a great way to success.
- Build your true fan base to help you when a crisis arises.
- Censorship. Censoring user content could make a trivial matter into a huge crisis. Do not delete negative feedback if it’s based on real issues. This form of ignoring people will make them angrier, and the problem will escalate faster. However, it will do so on channels that you don’t control.
- Do not use legal threats to silence customers.
- When you encounter negative feedback engage as early as possible.
- Hours not days. If you act fast, you may be able to keep the situation from escalating. Act slowly, and the issue might grow big enough to jump channels to mainstream media. What should the response times be in different situations?
- Don’t panic! Consider all the available facts and give a thought out and fact based response.
- Plan for the crisis. What can happen? How would you react? Even a rudimentary plan will help you more than no plan at all. Don’t think in campaign terms. There’s no end date on your social media activities. Social media is long term.
- Response team. Who will be responsible for decisions and who will manage the social media channels during the crisis? There has to be top level management involved as regular confirmation channels might not be fast enough. How you’ll respond to negative content? Who decides what to do with negative comments? What’s the worst that can happen?
- Create a fact pages that will answer the key questions about the situation and provide further information. These pages can be created in advance when planning for potential crises. I suggest that you create those pages on your domains, not Facebook or other third party channels.
- Create clear social media policy. What gets deleted? Foul and abusive language, threats against individuals, hate speech, flame comments about products/services
- Create guidelines, what actions to take in case of a wave of negative conversations in social media. The attack against your brand, customer service gone bad, negative rumor.
- Don’t hide information. If there’s any chance it can come out it will.
- Don’t argue. Even if all your arguments are based on facts, you will not win if you do not understand the underlying emotional issues. First, seek to understand the emotions.
- Engage in a dialogue, personally. I believe that people who are perfectly willing to beat up brands will cool down if they talk to a real person with a name.
- Show regret and apologize. Do it personally. If you let your legal department do it, then you will probably make the problem worse.
- Never engage in personal attacks. Although it may be the case that the person complaining does not understand the technology or problem but pointing that out will not get you closer to resolving your crisis.
- Do not lie! Doh!
- Do not bad mouth others.
Being a faceless corporation with no human touch
Being too “corporate.” People like people, and we get it really fast when we are fed another load of crafted marketing messages.
Social media is about people communicating with people. A faceless corporation is out of place on social media. When you are posting on your social media profile, you must add a little bit of human touch. When you are responding to a comment on your profile, then do not respond with your “stock” corporate response. Reply with a message that personally addresses the person in question and not something that was drawn up the PR department.
When a negative event occurs, keep your emotions in check. Most situations can be solved reasonably. Let the other side know that you understand how they feel and you are going to fix the situation. Never blame others and deal with the problem instead. If your ego is the only thing that gets bruised, let it go.
Customer service is beyond a ticketing system
In the past, customer service in social media was just a formality. Now brands are using it as a gateway for upselling and cross-selling. Aside from its sales benefits, online customer service is great for retaining and calming down pissed customers.
If merged with social media, the power of customer service can increase tenfold. See the infographic below:
The infographic gives you all the reasons to connect customer service with social media. When customers engage with brands on social networks, they expect their problems to be solved. Just like regular customers who call with the hope of getting a proper solution.
A brand can use its customer service team to better address the issues users share on social media. Using social channels they give a valuable answer in seconds.
Customer service becomes more efficient when support people or the lead-gen team adopt a tactical approach. Such tactics include finding influencers who motivate buyers, understanding the customer discovery processes, etc.
This model can also lower the costs for brands as communication on social channels is free. With time, the standard customer service model can be completely absorbed into social media.
4. Promoting yourself a lot
Social media is all about being sociable and communicating. People hate promotional content, and they detest adverts. If you spend too much time being promotional, then you are going to lose followers and likes on social media. Promotion needs to be used subtly on social media.
Of course, your business needs to sell. Every now and then it’s totally OK to post promotional material. However, the more engagement and social interaction you can include in those posts the more sales you get.
Another mistake people make is to throw links to their content and sales promotions on all the social networks. Don’t post automatic and spammy links They never work. Avoid broadcasting; social media is not another advertising channel. Engage in conversation.
6. Very Little Interaction
In many cases, profiles have updates but no participation in the conversation. Lack of conversation with your clients and followers decreases the value of your social presence, and you don’t build on valuable relationships. You can use social media as banner space, but in reality, “social” is about conversations and engagement.
7. No Real Followers
Very little interaction can be a result of no real followers. Some people buy followers just to look better. Some hold contests with prizes like iPads and iPhones where participants are not fans of your page but the products you are giving away. Keeping an active page with a lot of info but no real followers. This means you don’t really have support and weakens your social presence. To avoid this, it’s important to build a slow and steady network of real people.
8. “Set It and Forget It” Mentality
Your company’s Facebook page will not run on its own. Creating it and setting it up is just one of the many steps that you have to take to create a fan base. Engaging your fans requires investing precious time to update your page. Ignoring this aspect will not just hurt your brand’s fan growth, it will also affect your existing relationship with your customers—especially those who are expecting timely responses to their posts and questions.
9. Forgetting to Diversify
What kinds of content are you sending out to your social media channels? If you’re always posting the same thing – especially if it’s always self-promotional – your followers won’t be engaged. Increase their engagement by making sure to vary the type of content you post, such as:
- Your own blog posts, articles, videos, and photos.
- Links to external content that is relevant to your audience’s interests.
- Shares or retweets from other players in your niche.
10. Posting content for the sake of posting content
Low-value content is the problem of the many so-called online experts that tell you to post content all the time if you want attention. It is true that posting content regularly will get your attention. But, unless the content is amazing, it will be ignored. The time you spend on that is wasted.
11. Automated Posting Of Links
Another mistake is automated posting of back-links to your website. Of course, automation eases the load on your manual efforts, but a structure is needed, and randomness doesn’t pay. You only look like just – another – spamming site!
12. Not Tracking Analytics
There’s hardly any point in using social media without actionable insights. Just as you measure the success of your SEO and email marketing campaigns with analytics software, so too should you track and assess your performance metrics on social media. You can use the metrics provided by the platform or utilize an external software to gain extra functionality.
Use Google Analytics to track the shares and analyze the traffic that comes to your site. Are they more or less likely to convert to leads and sales?
Measure the quality of your followers, the popularity of your posts, and the extent of your influence to gain data that will help your future social media marketing efforts.
You need to define the social KPIs, demographic filters, and engagement factors. By doing so, it becomes easy for the software to identify the details that are useful for your campaign.
Start with monitoring engagement, customer conversion, and trends in buying decisions. The following insights are essential:
- How fans react to your posts, how they interact with you, is there any drop or sudden increase in engagement?
- Are the customers happy? What do their communications tell you about the brand experience they had with your product?
- Is your campaign skewed to any particular demographic segment? On certain networks, it should be. For example, more than 80% users on Pinterest are female. All those who sell women’s products, use Pinterest for brand promotion.
- Analyzing purchases made by customers can help brands apprehend key marketing insights. Such insights give an idea of which customers are open to cross-selling and which are not.
For example, TrueConversion’s research shows that only one payment option is an off-putting experience for customers. It takes 12 positive reviews to get rid of the impact of one negative review. Such actionable insights can make a brand better equipped in wooing customers.
If you haven’t been doing it yet, start collecting and decrypting your analytics and social media KPIs to ease your social media marketing efforts.
Read about measuring social media
- How to Measure Your Social Media Success with Google Analytics
- How to Tag Your Social Media Traffic for Google Analytics
- Why You Can Stop Worrying About the Outbound Traffic
13. Stretching Yourself Too Thin
You’ve signed up for an account on Facebook. And an account on Twitter. And accounts on LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Ello… Um… What?
The key to getting a positive ROI from your social media marketing is to put enough time and effort into the platform to successfully engage your followers. Unless you have a dedicated social media team on staff, you simply can’t keep up with that many platforms.
- Instead of trying to spread yourself across too many social media platforms – and failing at all of them – try focusing on just one or two. When you limit your social involvement to concentrate your engagement efforts, you’ll get a much better response from your followers
14. Multiple Profiles On Social Sites
This is another trend where a company has more than one profile on sites like Facebook and Twitter – all of which link to the main website. For one thing, having more than one profile confuse your followers. For another, it can waste your time and other resources! Focus all efforts in one direction and get people, real people, to follow your company.
By the way… If you’ve got an eCommerce store or sell on Amazon, you’ll want to check out Jungle Scout – we’ve just written an epic review on this game-changer of a tool.
15. Using foul language…even if your competitors do it
Some people think it helps them to connect with their viewers. Some just don’t know any better. Their clients may use foul language, as may their suppliers and competitors. Feel free to use foul language in real life if you wish, but keep it off of your social media profile.
You may well be connecting with your customer base, but you will have a hard time convincing them to trust you. Foul language often comes from an aggressive stance. Even when used in jest, foul language is aggressive by nature. You cannot expect to be aggressive (even passive-aggressive) on social media and succeed in your Social media marketing campaign.
16. Featuring sex, drugs, violence on your profile
Feature those on your website if you want to. Feature them in your blogs, podcasts, vlogs and your presentations if you think it connects you with your audience. If you use them correctly, then you may gain a lot of attention that you can turn to your advantage.
Sadly, they will do you no favors on social media. The reasons are diverse; people can be offended, it can be misunderstood, it can be against the platforms policy. Similarly to foul language, tread very carefully when dealing with these issues.
17. Low Key, Low Visibility
This is an interlinked factor where you seem media shy! Some businesses are extremely careful in a bid to be less aggressive in their social channels but end up going unnoticed. Being active and visible is important.
18. Not Having a Social Media Team
Just like not everyone is good at everything at all times, there are people out there who are just wired for social media. They “get it.” Assemble a dedicated team to handle social media — and they will make those goals and targets work. This team should include an analyst, a communicator (to customers and internal), a product expert, and a coordinator to help the other three. Choose people who have their own accounts and blog — they’re the digital fish who can swim along and around the oceans of social media. They will be the most comfortable, customer-oriented people who can handle positive and negative issues as they arise.
19. Skipping a Social Media Policy
With a good team, a company may not think it’s necessary to outline a social media policy. That would be an incorrect assumption. Having a solid social media policy can save a company’s reputation and cover other important issues. A good social media policy controls the following:
- What is said by employees about the company
- Instructs employees not to post confidential information about the company
- Instructs employees not to post gripes about customers
- Instructs employees on how to handle negative comments about the company
- Details the expected mores of employees
A company can avoid a public relations disaster by having a detailed social media policy. While the company should not attempt to dictate what a person does in his or her private time, they should remind their employees that social media is not private, and what they say and do online can affect the company in negative ways. Proactively protecting the company’s image is the best way to avoid disaster.
Bonus: 10 Content Marketing Mistakes and How to Fix Them
It is important to learn from your content marketing mistakes and correct these in your content. Google’s latest update which values quality and positive user experience is crucial in the small business world. Here you need to be on top of the game to get your name and brand out into the world. Yet, it is something that companies of all sizes need to improve. With that in mind, here are some common mistakes in content marketing that will hold you back, and how to fix them.
Social Media Marketing Mistakes
Everybody makes mistaeks. Learn from them, and don’t repeat the same mistakes. This will make sure that you get maximum results from your social media marketing efforts.