Social media marketing is complex and constantly evolving leaving room for plenty of mistakes you can make, especially beginners. We've been working in the industry for over 5 years and have seen just about all of it! From working in an entry-level position in corporate marketing where we had to convince upper management that having a presence on social media was important, to today where the industry is oversaturated with illegitimate social media "experts" who believe the key to good social media marketing is a pretty Instagram feed.
With years of experience working with clients in a variety of industries also comes many, many mistakes! We've definitely made our share of mistakes and have learned A LOT about what it takes to achieve social media marketing success. Part of that being, we encourage making mistakes! We believe you have to push the envelope when it comes to social media marketing. However, there are still mistakes that need can be avoided. Continue reading for some of the most common social media marketing mistakes we've encountered or have learned from ourselves so you can avoid making the same.
1. Feeling the Need to Try Everything
Your business or your client doesn't need to be on every platform trying every new content trend. You may have heard you need to be on TikTok because it's the new fastest growing social media network or that funny videos perform better on Facebook. This doesn't mean your brand needs to be on those platforms creating that kind of content.
Did you feel a weight lift off your shoulders? We hope so! It can be extremely overwhelming knowing how many social media channels are out there and all the content that needs to be created for each one. Don't worry! Take a deep breath and a step back to some marketing basics - determining your target audience.
One of the key first steps to building an effective social strategy is understanding your target audience and what social media networks they are on and the content they are interested in or find valuable. When you hone in on your brand and your audience and you'll quickly discover where you need to be and what you need to be creating.
2. Not Understanding the Difference Between Social Media Networks
Similar to what we discussed above, each social media network is totally different. This means that the content you'll be creating for each platform is going to be different. We encourage you to dig deeper into each network and understand how they are different and the kind of content you should be creating for each.
For example, Instagram is heavy on visual content therefore you'll need good-quality photos and videos to share, while Twitter, on the other hand, is ideal for short updates and news-like content.
3. Focusing On Vanity Metrics
Counting Fans or Followers is often the wrong metric to measure marketing success. Too often we'll see people getting too caught up in the follower count rather than paying attention to other more important metrics at the beginning. When this happens, many people lose sight of building an audience that's interested in their product or service and instead end up with a bunch of fake followers that ultimately hurt their reach on social media.
It's crucial to establish your social media marketing goals when building your social media strategy so you understand what metrics to pay attention to.
4. Expecting Too Much in a Short Time
This one can be especially frustrating for those of us working with clients or if you're a new business that plans to use solely use social media to drive leads or conversions. Often those new to social media marketing focus on short-term goals rather than long-term. Social media is all about building long-term connections with your audience. One important way you do this is by building trust, and we all know trust isn't built overnight.
You need to be clear about one thing: Real Social Media Marketing success comes after a long time of consistency and good strategy. It does not help to poke around social media for a few days or weeks and then try something else and poke around there for a short time, just because results did not show fast enough. It takes months, and sometimes even years if you're a brand new business to get consistently great results from social media.
5. Not Making It About Your Audience
Hopefully, we've gotten this message across in the last few sections but we can't say it enough - social media is a tool to help you connect with your audience or customers. Don't put together a social media strategy with the mindset of "I want to get more followers" or "I want to make more sales". If you treat social media like any other advertising tool you're not going to get the results you're looking for. Instead, focus on connecting with and learning from your customers through content they find valuable. If you do that, the followers and sales will come.
6. Thinking Too Much About Design or Aesthetic
More often than not the first thing a potential client says to us is something about how they want their IG grid to look or the photography rather than discussing the most important piece: How can we provide value for our target audience. In Social Media Marketing it is not the social media feed with the most professional photography and perfect aesthetic that is going to have the most success – but the one that provides the most value to their target group. Especially in the beginning when you are starting out and still testing some of your activities, it is often time and money wasted to focus on getting everything looking perfect.
7. Thinking Anybody Can Do Social Media
Just because your 20-year-old niece spends a lot of time on TikTok doesn't mean she can run your business's social media accounts. Or, we see a lot of big companies assigning the job to a clueless intern, a secretary, or decide that the marketing or PR people should do it on top of their other tasks. The job of social media marketing is a highly complicated profession that is enormously diverse but also evolves continuously and fast. You can't expect results to come from the first time efforts of a naive and ignorant newbie.
We hope that by addressing some of these common mistakes you'll be able to avoid making them yourself or recognize some mistakes you may be making so you can get back on track for social media success.
Lastly, and most importantly, don't be afraid to make mistakes and try new strategies! Be creative in how you communicate with and provide value for your target audience. When you use social media as a connection tool rather than another form of advertising, that's when you'll see positive results from social media marketing.
What are some common mistakes you've seen people make when it comes to social media marketing? Or, have you made any mistakes similar to what we've shared? We love to learn more and share them with our readers! Drop a comment below.