Now that social media marketing is past its infancy, it seems that almost every small business out there wants a piece of the pie. And it’s very easy to see why. With increased sales and bigger brand recognition being just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to potential benefits, more and more business owners are eager to see what the fuss is about and start seeing results for themselves. Unfortunately though, it can be difficult to get it right.
Here, we take a look at common social media mistakes that businesses are making, and suggest how you can avoid them.
Not allocating sufficient resources
Social marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. To see results, you need to be in it for the long haul. Sadly, many businesses never see any impact from their efforts, simply because they aren’t allocating the right resources. If you’re running a small business, you may not have marketing experts on hand to run your social presence. Though this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use social media at all, it does mean that you need to give some careful thought to how exactly you’ll run your campaigns.
How to avoid it
Outsourcing social media is a great option for smaller businesses and those without the expertise in-house. Handing over your online marketing to the experts means that you’ll hit the ground running and are far more likely to reap the rewards. If you do want to keep it within the business, make sure that it’s the responsibility of the right person. Just because someone uses Facebook a lot socially, it doesn’t mean that they can run a successful social media campaign.
Using the wrong measurement tools
A vital part of any social campaign is measurement. When you’re investing time and money into any sort of marketing, you need to know that you’re getting a return. All to often, the extent of a measuring strategy is simply monitoring how many likes, mentions and retweets a brand receives over a given time period. While this is a good place to start, it misses the point. You should be looking beyond vanity metrics and considering how your social campaign is impacting the bottom line.
How to avoid it
It’s essential that you have objectives for your social campaign that are tangible and measurable. So, for example, you might want to increase your online sales by 10%. If this is the case, you need to be using measurements that explicitly tell you whether you’re achieving this. It’ll be different for every business, but make sure that you know from the start what you want to get out of it, and make sure that you review your results regularly.
Using social media as a broadcasting tool rather than a conversation starter
Many businesses think that social media accounts are just there so they can tell their customers what they’re up to. While that’s part of the story, it’s only really the beginning. Social media gives organisations an unprecedented way to reach out to people and engage them in conversations and ask for their opinions. It’s a way to build relationships, and if your business isn’t doing this, you’re missing out on a massive area of opportunity.
How to avoid it
You should be talking to your fans and followers on a daily basis, so make sure you’re listening to what they say and respond to their questions and comments. In some areas of business, this is an invaluable tool. Imagine, for example, that you’re considering launching a new product. If you have a large social media following, you can reach out to potential customers and ask for their views. Never stop looking for opportunities like this, and seek to get your audience involved as much as possible.
Running a social campaign without a strategy
Because everyone wants to see the benefits of social media, so many companies rush into setting up their accounts without stopping to give any thought to how they’ll use them. This can actually be more damaging than not having a social presence at all. Every message you send out paints a picture of your business. Never forget that millions of people have access to what you’re saying.
How to avoid it
This one is straightforward – you need to develop a strategy! You can get assistance with this from a reputable social media company, or can find guides and templates online that will point you in the right direction. This stage should come at the very beginning of the process, before you’ve even set up any accounts. If you’re already set up but don’t have a strategy, make it your number one priority. Not only will the social media management process become a lot easier, but you’ll also be better placed for making it a success.
By checking that you aren’t falling down in any of these areas of your social media campaign, you can avoid the common pitfalls that many businesses make. Are there any other mistakes that you often see online?