Social Media Marketing

The 7 Cardinal Sins of Social Media Marketing

Beware of these mistakes while going about your social media marketing activities. Tread carefully, and remember that the internet never forgets.

As much of a jungle as social media may be, it runs by some rules that govern us intelligent beings. Most of these rules are unwritten, and although some may be obvious, others require some deeper understanding. Being the generous and ever-helpful fairy godfather of the internet that I am, I have devised this instructional as a guide for mortals and corporations alike to make sense of the online world:

1.      Directionlessness

The first rule of Social Media Marketing is that you need a strategy. A roadmap that lays down your goals, describes your target audience, details the tactics to be employed in attaining the goals, and dictates a timeframe for smashing them. This is crucial because once you embark on this journey, it is easy to get lost and feel confused about what you should be doing. It is even easier to do a lot of work, spend a lot of time and money online, only for it to yield no results. A strategy helps especially on those days when you need content but have no ideas running around. It will be your compass, and with a few adjustments every now and then, it will lead you safely home.

2.      Unawareness:

Rookie mistake number 1: starting off with an aggressive campaign on all available social media platforms to make a huge impact. Sounds good in theory, but the reality is that all platforms are not the same. You need to find out which ones work best for your niche, then go all in. From there it gets more personal.

You need to understand who your target audience is: their age, where they live, what their interests are, which kind of posts do they like best, which followers interact with your posts the most? What do they say about your brand? Get intimate with your analytics; they will disclose a lot.

You need to have your ear on the ground here. Understand online sentiment around your brand, how you portray yourself, and what your online community looks like. Then take all that information and use it to craft a better online experience that serves the fans and meets your business goals.

3.      Bot Syndrome

By far the quickest way for your fans to lose interest in you. Social media users don’t want to interact with a robotic extension ofsome faceless corporation. Businesses need to approach SMM activities with people in mind. And people want to feel that human touch, even if it’s from a giant corporation. When done correctly, a PR tweet feels more like a tweet by a friend. This one shift in mentality can reap massive ROI, as the Twitter admins over at Tesla have recently discovered.

4. Vanity

Despite being criticized for fostering narcissism, even in the world of social media there is such a thing as too much. You see it with that friend who posts three Instagram selfies per day, with little difference between them. It quickly gets old, and they lose your interest. There is such a thing as media exhaustion.

It’s even worse for companies. People hate promotional content, and adverts even more. Promoting your brand, services, events and products on your social all the time is a sure way to lose followers. Self-promotion is a subtle art, especially on social media.

You need to strike a delicate balance and produce a creative mix of content that is novel, educational and unique. A few promotional pieces thrown in there won’t hurt your numbers then. Or even better, you can subtly incorporate brand placements into your regular posts as celebrities and influencers usually do (See Rihanna, Kylie Jenner, Gary Vee for examples). Done right, self-promotion can actually complement the material that fans love seeing on their feeds.

5.      Fear

Fear has a way of manifesting itself in different forms. It can come across as Vanity, or wear the cloak of Disdain. This is because most of the time, Vanity and Disdain stem from Fear. Fear to post something that doesn’t catch on so well, fear that they won’t like how you look, fear that your campaign is going to suck, fear that you won’t get any likes, retweets, comments… Fear. We fear failing so much (and failing publicly, at that) that it literally cripples us and kills our creative spirit. Yet it’s all meaningless, because every one of your posts won’t be a hit.

Treat your social media platforms like a lab. A social lab. Experiment with different types of content, try out some crazy ideas, and let the results show you what works best. Experimentation and diversification are key to building an engaging online presence, and it is vital for your evolution, as you are able to keep up with platform changes and updates. While the fearful complain about the extension of Twitter’s character limits, you are able to cope with the changes and uncover the new functionalities each change brings.

You cannot afford to be afraid of failure. Learn from your mistakes, learn from your successes, and use the lessons to develop a better experience.

6.      Disdain

This is one of those obvious ones. You cannot ignore messages, mentions and comments from your fans and expect them to stick around forever. Sometimes it’s unintentional: you forget, or the volume of engagement becomes overwhelming. The result, however, is the same: you appear snubbish, which is not a good look for your brand. You need to make the effort to interact with your fans. People take note of things like this, and although everyone has their limits, you can always tell who’s making an effort to interact with their fans and who’s not. As petty as it may sound, this does make a huge difference on your profile’s stats.

In the case of negative reviews, the best course of action is to always address them. Especially the negative ones. Strive to understand the reason for their feedback, take the necessary action to correct it, and let them know when you have a solution. A lot of businesses make the costly mistake of simply ignoring negative reviews, but they do harm you, as visitors to your page can see them.

7.      Laziness

How often do you post on your platform? How unique is the content? How much value does it provide? These questions are very important as they can tell you a lot about your visibility.

If you post the same type of content all the time or are the sort of people to spam post every once in a while, your numbers will suffer. Maybe you’re being careful so as to appear less aggressive on your social channels… the effect is the same. This again highlights the importance of a social media marketing strategy.

Are your followers real? Or did you buy them? Did you get them to follow you with the promise of a free iPad? Because such tactics only draw in fans of the iPad, not people who are interested in your core business. Fake followers yield low results, and as tempting as it may be, this shortcut doesn’t bear fruits.

Forget about vanity metrics, the only way you’re ever going to build a strong online presence is by posting valuable content and building an audience that is relevant to you. The number of followers is not as important as the quality. How many of them will take valuable actions on your profile? How many of them will convert at the right time? Creating such an audience will take time (and money), but it will also reap rewards for a long time to come.

Do you need help with your online marketing strategy? Apply for a free 30-minute strategy session where one of our consultants will develop a bespoke solution for your organization.

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