4 Things You’re Doing Wrong in Social Media

09 May 2016

Susan Payton

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a content marketing firm based in San Diego. She’s written several business books, including “How to Get More Customers With Press Releases,” and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

I find that I sometimes learn more from other people’s mistakes than from their good advice. Believe me: in entrepreneurship, there are a lot of mistakes made. However, being aware of some of the more commons ones can help you make smarter decisions and minimize your own errors. Now that you are aware of the things you’ve been doing wrong in running your business, you can address mistakes you’re making in social media.

Social media can be a wonderful channel to help you reach a wider audience with your brand. It can drive traffic to your website, foster conversation on topics you’re well-versed in, and establish you as a thought leader. All that being said, there are some potholes you should avoid to get the best results.

You think all contacts are equal

You see people with a million social contacts and you think, “I want to be like that!”

While yes, having a larger network can help you grow your business faster, it’s really important to understand that quality is much better than quantity. Having a million followers who are spam bots trying to boost their own numbers or people who simply aren’t interested in either your message or your product just wastes valuable energy.

The Solution: Spend even just a few seconds reviewing each person’s profile that you’re considering following. There should be some connection: they work in your industry, they fit your customer demographic, or they’ve mentioned your type of product. Don’t get sucked into the vortex of following back everyone who follows you without cause.

Your stream is pure promotion

“If I don’t post links and photos of my products,” you think, “how will people know where to buy them?”

Here’s the thing: people are smarter than you give them credit for. If they like what you’re sharing on social media, they’ll find the link back to your site and check out your wares. However, there needs to be a careful balance between self-promotional updates and other types of content on social media. Go too far in the wrong direction, and you’ll lose your audience.

The Solution: Use the 80/20 rule, with 80 percent of your content being unrelated to any sales push, and just 20 percent promotional. Clothing brand Charlotte Russe has a good example of this on its Instagram page. While there are images of models wearing the clothes, there are also other images of flowers, nature, and scenes that exemplify the brand’s culture.

You’re just “doing” social media with no aim

And you wonder why you’re not getting results! Social media, like any other marketing tool, needs a strategy. Why are you on social media? Which channels are best to reach your audience (clue: not all of them)? What specific goals do you have? Without answers to these questions, you’re just shooting in the dark with a shotgun.

The Solution: Delve into the why, then spend some time finding out which social channels your audience spends the most time on. For example, if you’re trying to reach business executives, LinkedIn will be a better destination for your efforts than Pinterest.

You have no idea if your efforts are working

The other part of having a social media strategy is to measure, measure, measure. If you don’t know your analytics, like how many followers you gained this week, how many shares or mentions you received, and how many clicks you got back to your website, what’s the point of even being on social media?

The Solution: Measure today. Right now. This gives you a baseline to compare to down the road as you try different tactics. And when you have goals established, you can measure how close you are to achieving them. If one tactic put you far from that goal, you can switch directions and try something else after a few months.

While many people make these social media marketing mistakes, they’re completely avoidable. Have a focus and objectives with all of your social media efforts, and make sure you’re providing value to your followers.

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