It’s no secret that social media has forever changed the marketing landscape. What may not be well known is that not every company with a Facebook page, and a few Tweets is getting all it can out of social media networks. In this short read, we hope to shed a little light on how to do social ‘right’, by highlighting a few mistakes that businesses are making.

1. Commitment Issues

The problem:

Commitment issues don’t only exist in romantic relationships. Businesses have their own commitment issues with social media. Primarily, they fear losing money, more than they fear missing out. But, seeing that social media has overtaken traditional media in terms of attention, they are missing out big time. By far, the biggest mistake is failing to make the long-term commitment to social media, mostly because they are unaware of what it takes. Instant results are unrealistic. Akin to building a relationship in the human world, it takes time and commitment, but once it’s built, the benefits are compounded. Too often, organizations get super-excited about their amazing new Instagram page and then 3 months down the line have forgotten to update it.

The Solution:

Make a plan: Don’t leave your posting for the last minute. Create a social media strategy and content calendar weeks in advance so that you don’t have the pressure of coming up with new ideas every day. Also be sure to consider your long term marketing goals and write down the ways you will achieve them using social media.

Build Systems: Next, automate. It’s hard to maintain a relationship when you are burnt out. Use online tools to make the process of updating social media as easy as pie. Check out our article here to find out some really cool tools to help you win at social media.

2. Forgetting the “Social” in ‘Social Media’

The Problem:

Once businesses deal with their commitment issues by setting up systems, running ads and using tools to automate posts, they sometimes end up too automatic. Wonderful content means nothing if there isn’t an appropriate audience to view it at the right time. And even amazing content gets overwhelming to an audience if shared too often. It’s also a big no-no to leave your fans hanging when they ask a question. Never receiving a response is not fun, and that overzealous sales push is even worse.

The Solution:

Ensure Engagement: first off you want to know that your target demographic is actually targeted. Use ads to get your information in front of the relevant people.

Be Sensitive: Every relationship requires a particular sensitivity to the other party’s desires and how you can supply something they want or need. The information shared through social media should be a good overlap of these two things. Be sensitive to the TYPES of content your audience wants to see by doing market research and observing other brands online. Be sensitive to WHEN the audience is most receptive by testing different posting times and noting engagement.

Check in: It’s important to check in. You wouldn’t consider someone very social if you spoke to them and they just stared back at you with a blank face, saying nothing, now would you? Neither would you consider them social if they did respond, but with seeming disregard for what you just said. Similarly, it’s important for businesses to set aside time every day to respond to messages and comments, always using the appropriate tone.

Call to action: The purpose of social media marketing is to socialize with an end goal of translating followers into customers. All social media marketing effort are futile if they do not translate ultimately to more business. As you sensitively engage and commit to checking in, be sure also to make the avenues of doing business with you clear. Use action words to encourage your following to call, text, send an email, visit a store, or call a friend. Once you’ve made a good connection with your following, don’t leave it up to chance that they will come to you, take that extra step and invite them over.

3. Forgetting the “Media” in ‘Social Media’

The Problem:

Appearances matter. Too many businesses seem to think that being on social media is enough and don’t take the time to consider the overall appearance that their media creates. The biggest faux pas include inconsistent branding, low-quality images, not utilizing images enough, and offering limited content variety (between text, images, gifs and video).

The Solution:

Pursue Quality over Quantity: It’s all fine and dandy to be engaging regularly with followers, but a focus on quality will yield the greatest return. Consider the question: “What’s going to make my content leave an impression on my following?” Focus on high-resolution images, real solutions, effective and simple communication, and enthralling video content. Above all think about the value your content is adding to their lives. This is the kind of stuff that transforms followers into customers.

Consistency: It’s important it make sure that your brand is consistently represented on all platforms and recognizable throughout. Sure, you may have different backgrounds and variation in content, but at the very least maintain consistency by having your logo as the display picture on all of your social media platforms. Also, make good use of your brand colours, be specific. There should be cohesion between your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and any other social platform you use.

Balance Original and Borrowed Content: You don’t have to create everything. Curate articles, videos, and images that will connect to your following. Just be aware of the way that linked content appears on your page. It’s preferred to have an image linking to outside content as opposed to a long url in a status, this just looks tacky. Details count.

4. Not Knowing Where To Stand

The Problem:

This goes back to the commitment issues, don’t bite off more than you can chew. There is a world of social media sites that you could be on, but does that mean you should be on all? It makes no sense opening up pages on Google+, Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter… if you aren’t able to service them all and probably aren’t even sure which ones will optimize your reach.

The Solution:

Analyze All: Analyze major social platforms to determine relevance. What goals did you focus on while you sorted out your commitment issues? Use these to guide the choice of platform and choose 1 to a few that will be best able to help you reach your goals and best targets your niche.

Master One: Choose one platform and master it. Resist the desire to be everywhere at once. It works best if you can have one account fully running and only begin adding account based on relevance and ability.

Delegate Others: If your strategy calls for positioning on multiple platforms, build or hire a professional team to manage it for you. We have mastered social media on many platforms and are eager to help.

5. Not Getting Personal

The Problem:

Professionalism matters, but businesses should never forget that they are dealing with human beings that value real relationships and connection with other human beings. Too many businesses focus too much on being “proper” that they forget one of their biggest selling points: the human resource in their organisation.

The Solution:

Share stories: Open up the inner workings of your organisation to generate even more interest in your product. Celebrate employees, give insider tips, boast employee credentials. Remember, everyone loves a good story, this is why the movie industry is as large as it is. Don’t forget to find creative ways to tell the story of your business.

There are countless other ways to be right or wrong on social media, so we know we are just scratching the surface. If you would like an in-depth audit of how your business is doing compared to others in the social sphere, book us for one of our branding consultations!

About The Author

Kemal is a serial entrepreneur and motivational speaker. He loves digital media, is a certified techie and re-incarnated lion (or so he tells himself). He trains executives, mentors entrepreneurs, and heads a soon to be well-known company called Digita Global Marketing Ltd.