Social media marketing is a buzz word these days. No doubt, social media has revolutionized our way of life in today’s world. Not only has it brought billions of people together, it has also provided tremendous opportunities for businesses to reach out to consumers with their products and services, hence the growing interest in social media marketing.
Without a social media presence, prospective clients will hardly take your business seriously. It is not surprising then that most businesses have caught up with the trend and can boast of a social media presence.
However, it goes without saying that having social media accounts for your business is not an end in itself. What matters ultimately is how much business growth can be attributed to your social media presence.
While some businesses have gotten the hang of social media marketing and have much to show for it, many others still plod along without concrete results. If your business is the latter, perhaps it’s time to examine your social media marketing strategy to see what improvements you can implement. The following are seven costly mistakes you might just be making.
Lack of a clear plan
Are you on social media just because every other business is on social media? Going with the flow, right? Jumping on the bandwagon is a guarantee that you will get mediocre results. Putting the right strategy in place, however, will help guarantee success.
Begin by answering these questions:
What is the vision and mission of your business?What is your value proposition? i.e. what do you offer customers and what makes you stand out from the competition?Who is your target market? Do you have a clearly defined buyer persona?Where does your target market hang out online? What social media networks are they most active on?What do they mostly talk about online? What are their passions and interests?
Answering these questions will help you create a winning strategy that takes into account the needs of your target market, help you craft useful content to share with them and informs the nature of your conversations.
Breaking the 80/20 rule
The 80/20 rule stipulates that only 20% of your social media posts should be promotional i.e. showcasing your goods and services for sale. The other 80% should be content that informs, educates or entertains your social media followers.
Let’s face it, the primary reason we go on social media is to engage in meaningful and fun conversations with others, not to get goods shoved in our face. By putting out a constant stream of promotional posts, you put off prospective clients.
Think of fun stuff to share that solve the problems faced by your target market, entertains them or gets them talking. That way, they are more likely to share your content with others. How about running contests and giveaways, spotlighting a super fan, sharing workspace pictures or interesting news?
Lack of a consistent brand voice
Brand voice refers to the personality of your brand i.e. how your brand comes across to people in terms of the words used in communication, style of writing and tone. A brand’s voice may be formal, quirky, direct or even humorous.
Your brand voice must be suited to what your business offers. A business that caters to corporate clients will sound more formal than say, a musician. Whatever your brand voice is, ensure it is consistent across all your marketing channels – website, social media and even printed materials. It helps clients identify easily with your brand. Creating a style guide that clearly spells the rules of communication for our brand makes this easier.
Unprofessional pictures and posts
If you want your business to be taken seriously, you must take care to always project a professional image. And professional does not mean stiff, cold formality; rather quality, excellence and attention to details.
Get a professional photographer to take shots. Keep away from stock images as much as possible. It speaks volumes about your business; mostly it tells them you are cheap. You can take good looking photographs with your smartphone camera, but even this will require an understanding of the craft.
Always proofread your posts before sending them out. Typos and grammatical errors reflect poorly on your brand. In addition, cross-check news and facts before sharing them. You don’t want to lose trust at the end of the day.
No social media calendar and outdated timelines
Chances are you have stumbled on a Facebook business page that was last updated two months ago. How did that make you feel and what did you do? Personally, when I land on such pages I click away without much ado. My assumption being that the business has probably folded up or simply cannot be trusted.
What often leads to this is the absence of a social media calendar. You definitely need one for effective social media marketing. A social media calendar shows the different days of the week and the content that is expected to go out each day. It helps you mobilize resources and plan ahead.
When starting out, it is better to stick with a manageable schedule i.e. few days a week so you don’t run out of steam. But whatever days you choose, be consistent. This way, your followers know what to expect. Use scheduling tools like Buffer, Crowdfire and Hootsuite for scheduling your social media posts.
As a bonus tip, learn to take advantage of current internet trends to reach a wider audience with your brand e.g. TBT (Throwback Thursdays), etc.
You don’t have to be on every social media platform. Period. This is especially true for a small business with meager resources. The key is to know the platforms where the bulk of your target market can be found and focus your limited resources there.
A business that sells photography equipment is better off building a strong presence on Instagram rather than on Twitter. That’s not to say the latter is not important or that you cannot do both. But for starters, it’s advisable to focus where you have more advantage.
Generic posts across platforms
As an extension of the above point, it is important to also note that every social media network has its own uniqueness. The type of posts that work on one platform may well spell doom for another. As such, each requires its own unique strategy and schedule.
For instance, you can post a link to an article on your blog once on Facebook and be sure that a good number of followers will see it. Not so on Twitter. The sheer volume of tweets that go out may well mean that your early morning tweet may never be seen by a follower that checks her timeline by noon. This means you need to put out several well-timed tweets each day.
What this means is that you have to know the features of the platform you have chosen and tailor your strategy accordingly.
Making these adjustments to your social media marketing strategy will improve your odds of success in the ever-changing world of the internet.
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