Social media marketing mistakes to avoid

12 April 2017

Social media marketing mistakes to avoid

Social media is frequently used for direct sales, but at this time its main value is for relationship building or brand engagement. It’s important to recognise that using social media for business is very different from using it in our personal lives. Keeping this in mind will help you to avoid these 3 basic, but common, mistakes:

Being on too many platforms

In your personal life, it’s absolutely fine to have a whole plethora of social media accounts that you use whenever you feel like it. Most people probably have one or two accounts they check every day, one or two accounts they check every week or so and a few more accounts they check as and when they remember.

In business, however, this is a horrendous mistake. The key to using social media for business is to post high-quality content on a regular basis. For most smaller companies, with limited resources, that means focusing on using a few platforms well, rather than scattering so-so content all over the internet. Even just using one platform is fine, if it gives you a chance of being one of the top influencers in your industry.

Posting aimlessly

Your own social media accounts may contain a random mixture of selfies, memes and rants, but using a social media account for business requires an effective communication strategy. This may involve batch-creating at least some of your content (e.g. taking lots of photographs at once), organising a posting schedule and using appropriate automated tools to ensure that the posting schedule actually happens.

It’s also a very good idea to document your posting strategy and your schedule, along with noting details of who the key people are and where the key resources are located. Having brand guidelines in place is also always good practice.

As a minimum, make sure that anything you want to avoid at all costs is clearly signposted. You may think that it is obvious that certain subjects (e.g. politics) are out of bounds and that certain types of language (e.g. swearing) are unacceptable, but other people may have different ideas about what constitutes acceptability.

Failing to dedicate sufficient resources to social media

When you’re posting for the benefit of your family and friends, it’s OK if your spelling and grammar are a bit off and your photos are slightly out of focus and have random objects in the background. When you’re posting for business, though, these things count.

Social media platforms may be free to use (for the most part at any rate), but creating high-quality content requires time and effort. Likewise, making sure that posts go out on time, and that comments get a meaningful response also requires a commitment of human time and hence money.

In other words, if you want to use social media for business purposes, you need to be prepared to take it seriously and put real effort into it, with everything that implies from a financial perspective.