Over the past decade, social media usage has increased exponentially, making it a segment that marketers can no longer ignore. In fact, the number of people actively using some form of social media grew by 121 million since April of this year, adding to a worldwide total of over three billion people.
That massive number of social media users means that more than forty percent of the world’s population is within reach of anyone trying to sell something via the internet. For a marketer, social media can be a gateway to a vast world of opportunities. To guide you in your quest for online domination, here are five social media mistakes every marketer should avoid making:
1. Talking About Your Brand Too Much
In the real world, people who constantly talk about themselves can quickly become a bore. The same holds true in the virtual world, especially on social media platforms where there is no shortage of attention seekers.
Of course, most marketers are on social media to promote their brand and be in the spotlight. However, 60 Second Marketer cautions that always talking about yourself or your brand might turn some people off because that’s just not how healthy relationships work, even the virtual relationship between you and your online followers.
As a marketer, it's better to “listen in a virtual way.” This may be achieved by occasionally “shining the spotlight elsewhere” so to speak. Followers are more likely to trust you and your brand if they feel that you are a genuinely concerned member of the online community rather than someone out to make a quick buck. This explains why even big corporations occasionally post content on trending topics; topics that they know resonate with their target audience. And this leads us to the next mistake.
2. Trending Topic and Hashtag Overuse
As previously explained, there are merits to making posts on the latest online trends and using the hottest hashtags. By doing so you can create a positive perception of your brand and keep your online presence relevant. However, it's not advisable to post on a topic just because it's trending, especially if the topic has no connection to your brand or leaves your post too open for misinterpretation.
Even big corporations occasionally make this type of social media blunder which can be embarrassing and also create unwanted controversy. For instance, in an attempt to honor singer Prince shortly after his death was announced, Cheerios angered fans when it tweeted the message “Rest in Peace” punctuating the “I” with a Cheerio. The tweet ignited a firestorm of criticism from fans who accused the company of exploiting the tragedy with a cheap marketing ploy in order to be part of the conversation.
While it may be useful to jump onto the trending hashtags bandwagon every once in a while, it's best to do it sparingly. Marketers should also be selective about the topics they want to tackle in their postings, limiting to those that they are familiar with and help their brand message.
3. Neglecting What Your Target Audience Wants
One of the biggest mistakes that social media marketers can make is misunderstanding what their target audience really wants. While they may have crafted the perfect post to load to their social media accounts, the post will ultimately fail to deliver the intended level of engagement if the content does not resonate with the needs and wants of their target audience.
As such, the extra effort made in determining the desires of their target audience will eventually pay off in the long run. A better understanding of their target audience will enable them to make a more targeted social media campaign by fine-tuning their posts or selecting the right social media platform to be engaged at.
4. Selecting the Wrong Social Media Platform
This mistake is related to the previous in that it also requires an understanding of your target audience. Simply put, no two platforms are the same and people use different platforms depending on what they want to accomplish.
For instance, a job-related post would be suitable for Linkedin but may appear out of place on Instagram. In fact, your social media marketing efforts might bear more fruit if you concentrate on a couple of platforms most relevant to your brand and try to master the intricacies of these chosen platforms to get the best results out of them.
5. Ignoring the Numbers
Ultimately, all social media marketing efforts must produce some form of engagement from their intended audience. This means a marketer’s work is not yet done even after the content is out on the chosen platforms – effort has to be made to measure how people react to the post.
Since today’s marketing is heavily data-driven, marketers need to collect data on how their posts are received. From there, they can make some tweaks for their efforts to become even more effective. These could include the type of content that sells, the most productive time to post and other factors. Fortunately, there are numerous analytics tools available online to help you gather these metrics.[Featured Image by BigOakFlickr/Flickr]