5 Mistakes You’re Making With Social Media

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emmadavis | Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Filed under: Basic, Intermediate, Social Media Tips & Advice, Technology

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When you’re tuned into social media marketing it seems like every day there are new tools and services to join and plan promotions with that connect you directly to your desired consumer audience. Of course social media, like any other internet marketing force, takes hard work and the right planning. If you’re finding it difficult to achieve the social media goals you set for your company, maybe it’s time to determine whether you could be making one of these critical social media marketing mistakes.

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1.) Spreading Yourself Too Thin

PR. Article creation. Blogging. Facebook. Twitter. YouTube. FourSquare. Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon. The list of social media marketing tools available at your disposal grows every day. The point to remember is that for every new social media site that springs up, two more are shutting down as we speak. Social media marketing is a rapidly evolving monster that requires constant vigilance if you hope to keep up.
The mistake: By joining too many social networking sites and planning too many long-term social media marketing projects, you’ve spread your resources across too many campaigns to the point where none of them is working at top efficiency.
The solution: Make a list of every social networking or social media marketing venture your company has taken on. Now prioritize it by top potential for return on investment. Now knock everything but the top ten off the list. Still feeling the crunch? Get rid of everything but the top five. Now you can focus the resources you save on your less profitable projects on the campaigns you know will produce results for you.

2.) Consuming Without Producing

Yesterday you followed twenty new Twitter accounts and today you followed thirty more. Okay, so you’ve got a great news feed full of interesting and engaging conversation. Yet there you are still feeling like you’re on the outside looking in. There’s a reason it’s called social media and as a participant you’ve got to, well, participate!
The mistake: You’ve focused on pulling content to you for consumption rather than producing innovative content designed to bring the consumers to you. You’re using your social media marketing in the way most people use personal social media accounts.
The solution: Remind yourself that you’re a business with a product to sell and leads to generate. If you can’t write content to promote yourself, hire someone who can write it for you. Get the word out that you’ve got something interesting to say. Respond to comments of all kinds and ask questions of other industry players, or even of customers themselves. Also, don’t forget to play to your desired target audience: pay attention to what consumers want and then deliver it to them via engaging and sharable content.

3.) Reaching But Not Resonating With Users

Your followers count has climbed and you’re ready to connect with potential customers. The only problem is that while they’re present, they’re not exactly engaged in what you have to say. With each day that passes and each follower that unfollows you, you’re losing out on potential customer connections left and right.
The mistake: Working hard to get users to follow, friend, like or share your content without concern that the content is important or interesting or even worth reading for your target audience.
The solution: Step back for a moment and remind yourself of who your target audience is and how closely that demographic matches that of your followers. If you’re attracting followers that aren’t interested in what you have to say, that’s a problem. If your followers are your ideal potential customers, plan promotions using your social media marketing that target these users specifically. Offer rewards to repeat customers engaging in social media with you like VIP coupons and special offers. Revisit past efforts and learn from your mistakes by pursuing directions of conversation that spark discussion and avoiding paths that lead to the deafening silence of no response.

4.) Generating Buzz But Not Measuring ROI

Alright, your message is resonating with your potential customers! …But now what? If the number of people following your content across various social media marketing efforts is growing, then your hard work is paying off. Don’t lose the opportunity to justify this hard work to yourself and others with tangible, measurable positive results.
The mistake: Building up social media marketing efforts but then forgetting the ‘marketing’ part. Without the proper measurement tools in place, you’ll never know just how effective your social media campaigns have been.
The solution: Educate yourself on website analytics. Learn the ins and outs of knowing where your clicks come from. Nearly every traffic source including popular social media sites can be tracked with custom URL tracking parameters that report invaluable data to your analytics system. Determine the ROI of your social media marketing so that you know whether your efforts are worth continuing or whether your resources are better spent elsewhere.

5.) Expecting Bang For No Bucks

Everyone assumes that social media marketing will work but few recognize the cost of building an effective social media campaign. Due to the nature of the setting in which social media marketing takes place, many marketers consider it a ‘free’ form of promotion, but nothing is ever truly free.
The mistake: Not factoring social media marketing efforts into the overall cost of your marketing plan. Assuming that a few minutes here and there will generate a successful and perpetual social media campaign for your business.
The solution: If you consider your social media efforts to be as important as your other marketing campaigns, then don’t neglect social media marketing when it comes time to plan your marketing budget. Don’t forget that time is money and social media marketing efforts take time more than anything else. Make spreadsheets and other notes to stay on top of your efforts and return to investigate the success of every move you make. When you know what a marketing strategy is costing your company, you’ll know how valuable the eventual ROI truly will be.

What social media marketing mistakes has your company learned from? We always love to hear your experiences in the comments. Get in touch if you’d like a free consultation on how social media marketing can benefit your business!

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