July 18, 2013

10 Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in 2013

Social media marketing mistakes can have some very detrimental effects on an organization’s brand and overall success if they are not avoided. Although social media marketing is still relatively new, it’s becoming one of the most common and important forms of marketing for organizations and businesses across multiple industries. Traditionally, many organizations have felt that “one can do no wrong” when it comes to social media marketing and that setting up a profile, promoting the organization’s products & services and simply creating a visible social presence will always result in a positive outcome for the organization. Theis assumption about social marketing in the digital arena could not be any more incorrect.

The term we use in the industry is “negative buzz”. If most people are speaking of your brand negatively, suddently quantity of traffic doesn’t matter, because no one is buying your product or service. The worst thing that can happen to a company happens when consumers lose respect for that brand. And since it’s hard to gauge the sentiment of visitors when viewing analytics, it can really be difficult to measure how effective any of your campaigns are after something like this happens.

Creating a misguided social media marketing strategy, or just doing the wrong things while engaging in your social media marketing strategy can actually be worse than not having a social media presence at all! The digital marketing strategy that your organization develops needs to be customized specifically to your core audience, related to your organization’s core services and / or products and in line with the organization’s non-digital marketing strategies.

Once your strategy has been developed however, there are some general social media marketing mistakes that all organizations can and should avoid:

1. Leaving social profiles unfinished

If you’re going to create a social profile for your organization, make sure that you’ve got the time and resources to fully customize the profile. There is nothing worse than going to an organization’s social media profile to find that the organization hasn’t uploaded a profile photo or logo, hasn’t provided a description of their product(s) / service(s) and has an overall blank profile.

When viewing an unfinished profile users will probably experience some, or all, of the following concerns:

  1. Does this organization still exist?
  2. Are they running out of money?
  3. If they care this little about their own company, how can I expect them to care about me and my organization?

2. Promoting only your own brand

This is probably the single most common mistake I see organizations making. Social networks are not the place to run traditional advertising campaigns like you would on a television station. Social media is about starting and engaging in conversation, sharing interests and connecting with your target market in a more personal way.

It may not always be wise to share content that is directly associated with your competition but, by sharing industry trends, developments and other content that you think your audience will enjoy, you will create a much stronger relationship with your followers. By sharing others’ content, you will avoid looking like a spammy account, become a more valued member of the industry’s online community, earn the trust of your followers and you may even develop some partnerships and joint ventures with other organizations in your industry.

3. Not including a call to action

This is another very common mistake that the majority of organizations are making when attempting to engage users on social platforms even when they have interesting and relevant content to share. I receive the same question all of the time: “I’m posting my content to [insert social network here] but nobody is liking it or clicking on it. What’s the problem?”

Instead of just posting the link to your latest infographic, meme or viral video, include a call-to-action with it! Often times, simply asking your followers for their opinion of the posted content is enough to significantly increase engagement. Posting questions, requests for ideas and feedback or just something memorable and funny along with your uber viral video will most certainly increase engagement from your followers and also help develop a more personal relationship!

4. Being inconsistent

Despite being one of the most well known social media marketing mistakes, inconsistency is a blunder made by numerous organizations. Everyone has expectations and, as an organization, one of the most important things you can do is properly manage your clients’ expectations. Managing expectations for your social network audience should not be an exception!

If you post too much, people will get annoyed. If you don’t post enough, people will see you as a less trustworthy and reliable source of information. At the same time, if you develop a schedule for your social media posts that your followers learn to rely on, they will actively seek out your organization’s social media profile when they know new content will be posted. A great way to do this is to create themed days, months or weeks for your organization’s social updates. For instance, you could post a new photo every Friday for “Photo Friday” and a new infographic every Sunday for “Statistical Sunday”. Of the organizations that I have observed, the ones that create a set schedule for their updates have been much more successful in their social media marketing campaigns than those that post randomly.

5. Not addressing negative engagement

Beware that when users interact with your organization’s social networking profiles, the feedback and engagement you receive may not always be positive. A lot of organizations choose to completely ignore negative feedback and, in some cases, that may be the best way to handle it.

If the user actually has valid reasons for providing negative feedback about your product or service, it can be a good opportunity for you to address and resolve the issue. By doing this, you can actually turn a negative situation into a positive one by showing you actually care about your customers. Ignoring the feedback however, is not the correct way to handle the situation. It is only going to increase frustration and misrepresent your organization’s intentions. In fact, if you can properly address the concerns, fix the issue or at least acknowledge the issue and provide a valid reason for it, you may actually end up receiving positive recognition for your organization’s sincerity and attentiveness.

6. Appearing “automated” and impersonal

This is a mistake that many newcomers to the social media marketing scene fall victim to. There are hundreds of apps and services that will automatically post, “tweet” and share your content without little or no human involvement. Organizations that are beginning their initial digital marketing campaigns often sign up for and use these services thinking that it will save time and money. In the short term, this may be true but, in the long term, this will generally end up wasting a lot of time and money.

People on social networks can tell when somebody is actually posting something and when something has been automatically posted. Automatic posts generally appear spammy, insincere and lazy. Many people will immediately unfollow an organization on a social network for this reason alone. There are some autoposting tools that are very subtle (we recommend Buffer>), offer a good deal of customizable settings and can be effective if used sparingly and with caution. Often times however, it is better to manually post less updates that are sincere than it is to automatically post numerous impersonal updates.

7. Failing to evaluate the results of your efforts

Every successful organization is different. If your organization isn’t unique to begin with, then a social media marketing strategy probably isn’t going to solve some of the bigger issues at stake. In the same way that every successful organization is unique, effective social media marketing campaigns also must be unique and tailored for your specific organization. You’re not going to get everything right the first time. What is more important however, is that you learn from from your successes and your failures.

Evaluate which posts receive the most engagement, which ones don’t and try to find patterns as to why. Use Google Analytics to review which social networking platforms are driving the most traffic to your websites. If one social network is more successful in driving traffic than the others, ask yourself why! By properly evaluating the results of your social media marketing campaign and strategy, you can continue to refine your efforts and create as effective of a campaign as possible.

8. Paying for followers, subscribers, likes or comments

In the same way that there are a great deal of “autoposting” services available on the internet, there are also numerous paid services that promise a certain amount of Facebook likes, YouTube views, Twitter followers, etc. These usually function by working off social signal exchange networks, a concept pioneered by a site called Twiends. Nearly all of the followers you recieve through such a service will generally be fake and paying for fake subscribers can really throw your social media marketing metrics off. Most of the time, these services violate the terms of use agreement of the social networks.

9. Forgetting to brand your content

Let it be known that, regardless of copyright and trademark laws, if your organization creates something engaging and unique and then shares it on the web, other people are going to post that piece of content all over the internet – whether your company’s logo is on it or not. In fact, once you understand this concept, you can really use it to your benefit to increase brand recognition and organizational visibility. If your organization shares a image, infographic or video on a social network, make sure that your logo is on it and that it is obvious to the reader where to find your organization on the internet.

Some organizations prefer putting their website URL, some put their Twitter handle and others may even put a phone number. It is the organizations that choose not to put any form of branding on their content that really get the short end of the stick. Remember, if it’s good, people are going to share your content – make sure your brand is shared with the content itself!

10. Being afraid to experiment

As mentioned earlier in this article, every organization is unique. The tips in this article are specific things to avoid when pursuing your social media marketing campaign. There are plenty of resources all over the web that will claim that they know how to run a perfect digital marketing campaign regardless of the organization. In reality, you’re going to have to learn what works for your organization. The organizations that are most successful in marketing digitally are the organizations that weren’t afraid to try something different. In fact, most of them probably tried things and failed before trying something that worked.

Always tread lightly when engaging in social media marketing but never be afraid to try something new and think outside the box.

Filed under:  Content Marketing Social Media  ||  Tagged under:

Anson Alexander

From a young age, Anson had always been enthralled with computers and technology. After earning his degree in International Business and Information Systems, Anson worked as an IT Administrator for a medium-sized publication company.
Leave a comment
comments powered by Disqus

Base Terminology

SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's un-paid ("organic") search results.
The semantic web refers to the next stage of the world wide web and aims to ascribe semantic meaning to all web content through a collection of systems of classification. This means that, in the future, machines will be able to better understand the content we produce, resulting in better search results, new applications and an Internet that is fundamentally different from the one we use today!
What if each of the objects around you had a unique identifier that can be connected to the Internet? The goal of the Internet of things is to equip all objects in the world with tags that allow them to be digitally organized or manipulated. The implications? Less theft, less waste and the ability to control your surroundings in a manner never before possible.
Conversion optimization is the practice of modifying the parameters of a lead-generating system to stimulate a higher success rate as defined by goals. Most conversion optimization is structured to create an increase in ROI (return on investment). We frequently use multivariate and A/B split testing when optimizing conversion, wherein we test two or more systems at the same time, analyze their performance and deduce precisely what action items will bring us closest to the set goals in the least amount of time.
Market diagnostics or analytics is the process of collecting and analyzing business data — especially consumer data. This allows us to assess and improve the effectiveness of a marketing campaign.
In many applications today, there is such a phenomenal quantity of data available that it's difficult to collect and process with traditional database tools. The field of collecting, manipulating and drawing conclusions from massive quantities of data from a particular source is known as big data.
What started as a CMS (content management system) that was only meant to create and edit blog content has grown at a tremendous rate to become the most ubiquitous system for developing websites on the internet. WordPress accounts for an incredible 15% of all sites on the web.

RT @PicardTips: Picard management tip: Don't negotiate absurd schedules with engineers. Encourage truth telling and reasonable time estimat…

2 months ago

RT @PicardTips: Picard holiday tip: Religion and commercialism will both fade over generations. Generosity and kindness, however, will endu…

3 months ago

RT @PicardTips: Picard programming tip: Don't be fooled. Machines have feelings.

4 months ago

Request Our Portfolio

  1. Which option best describes you? *

  2. Are you a key decision maker in the business you represent? *