By Ashwini Pai
Social media is a powerful tool in any marketer’s arsenal. But it can backfire if you don’t learn how to handle it well and leverage it to your advantage. Here’s a look at four social media marketing mistakes you must steer clear of.
1. Promoting Excessively
If every second tweet or Facebook post promotes your product or company, your social media pages/account will soon start looking spammy. It will get a bit too much for fans and followers to keep track of – even those who’re there just to make the most of your specials and blowout sales. After a point, they will start switching their minds off when they see your promotional banners and offers. And it certainly won’t make a good impression on leads and those who’ve landed on your Facebook page during their browsing sessions.
How much of your content must be promotional? A popular ratio – also called the ‘golden ratio’ for social marketing recommends a 30/60/10 split between your own content, third-party content, and promotional content (calls to action).
Your owned content includes your blog, videos, photos and slides. The reason for a 30 percent allocation is because you don’t want to overtly market yourself and appear self-absorbed, and also because you may not have a lot of owned content to share, especially if you’re a busy entrepreneur.
Curate content useful to your community from high-quality third-party sources. Curated content allows you to discuss current topics of interest with your target audience. Curating also involves adding your point of view and commentary.
Promotional content can be anything from a discount offer and a product trial to demo and newsletter sign-ups.
If you have a ton of owned content or hardly any of it, you could consider a 20/70/10 split. On the other hand, if there’s a lot of brand content that you wish to share, a 40/50/10 split may work well.
Regardless of the ratio you finally decide to use, it is important to educate, entertain and emotionally engage people. Educational content is anything that helps them make informed purchase decisions, or enhances their knowledge of a certain product/service/industry issue. Videos, photos and memes are examples of entertaining content that showcases your creativity or brand voice.
Beyond informational content, there’s aspirational content that elicits emotions and creates desire. For instance, if you sell patio furniture, don’t just sell the product, sell the lifestyle, sharing images of happy families eating, drinking, laughing and relaxing leisurely in the backyard. Use customer personas and brainstorm on the kind of things your audience would like to see and get motivated by.
2. Making customer support faux pas
As a customer support platform, social media can sometimes be a double-edged sword if you don’t respond properly to customer queries and complaints. Some of the common customer support mistakes that brands tend to commit include:
Not responding to brand mentions
Though it may not be possible to respond to every brand mention on your Twitter or Facebook page, thank customers and influencers who have appreciated your product. Also prioritize mentions that can help with brand advocacy.
Reacting aggressively to negative mentions
It is quite easy to feel offended by a critique that you feel is unfair and uncalled for. However, remember that ‘customer is king’ and you can’t please them all. Send the disgruntled customer a
private message on Facebook or Twitter, with an offer to understand and resolve the problem. After you’ve fixed the issue, request the customer to mention the same on your FB/Twitter.
Relying heavily on auto-responses
The reason why customers use social media for support and query resolution is because they expect a representative from your company to respond to it. In other words, they believe they’re getting personal attention from a real person.
Automated responses are formulaic and impersonal. Besides, you cannot have the same response for different complaints and questions; they must be customized to whatever customers have shared. It is best to spend some time responding personally to customers on social, and giving them the assurance that they’re cared for and respected.
Not offering a quick solution
Customers complain on social media in the hope that you will respond swiftly in order to salvage your reputation. This is the hard truth, but also an opportunity to demonstrate that you’re serious about solving their problems. That’s why it’s imperative that you offer a speedy solution and appease customers without any delay.
3. Buying likes and followers
There are a number of services that can double or triple your followers and likes the unethical way. Most of them claim that the followers are ‘real’ and not ‘zombie accounts’. Unless you’re Coca-Cola or Kim Kardashian, amassing a vast number of followers and likes in a short while is impossible. As Guy Kawasaki says ‘There are two kinds of people on social networks : those who want more followers and those who are lying.’
Building a social media audience is a gradual and sustained process. Here quality matters more than quantity; after all, what you want is for your audience to engage with you, buy from you, share your content, be loyal, and hopefully act as a brand advocate. In this regard:
- Buying fans doesn’t necessarily increase sales
- Real reviews from real, engaged followers matter more than the number of followers
- If people figure out that your brand has fake likes and followers, it can cause irreversible damage to your reputation
Focus on building a fan and follower base that can contribute meaningfully to your social media marketing efforts. Use hyper-targeting techniques to deliver custom content to specific groups of people.
4. Not being strategic
A basic mistake businesses new to social media make is not having a well-defined plan in place. They jump in with all guns blazing and little by way of a short or long term strategy. If there isn’t a strategy or goals, there probably also isn’t a way to measure success and return on investment.
If you’re a small business with limited time and resources, it is critical to measure which social media tactics are working and which ones are worth the investment. Once you develop a strategy, use social media analytics tools to determine the results of your efforts and tweak your tactics for better results.
Image credit : Pixabay