Social media has been around for a while now, and we know that 88 percent of all businesses are now on social media sites in some capacity. That being said, if we look at businesses actually getting value from social media, the number would be much smaller.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with thousands of businesses on their social media marketing strategies for over six years, and interestingly, the mistakes and barriers to success are the same today as they were when I got started.
Here are the biggest mistakes (and how to avoid them of course).
- Not having a plan. Many businesses today still don’t have an actual plan or strategic objectives for their social media marketing. They simply “get on Facebook” and assume that posting stuff and having people like them will lead to business value. This isn’t necessarily true. To be successful at achieving business goals you need a clear plan for what you want to achieve.
- Not optimizing content. One of the most popular questions I get asked is how to connect Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ accounts so that the same post will spread simultaneously to all accounts. There are tools that let you do this, but why bother? You’ll end up with content that isn’t right for the medium, and people will start to ignore you. Take a few extra minutes to customize your post for each medium.
- Posting whatever comes to mind. Most people decide what to write and then bang away at the keyboard to create a Twitter or Facebook post. Stop, take five minutes, and think about how you can improve it. Can it be more interesting? Can you make it funny? Can you add a relevant stat? Stop vomiting boring crap on your social networks and spend some actual time thinking about what you are going to post!
- Telling instead of showing. Stop telling people what you want them to believe about your business and start showing them. I don’t have to tell people that I am knowledgeable about social media because I show people with reports, videos, and blog posts. Think about your key value proposition and point of difference vs. your competition, and figure out how to show people via social media.
- Forgetting relationships. Relationships still count, and since the dawn of social media people have been preaching the value of conversations and engagement. Remember, you are talking to actual people. They want to be treated with care and respect. Don’t just post stuff, but participate and build relationships.
- Being boring. Many of the social media accounts that I look at are just plain boring. I’m not sure that there is a formula for interestingness, but (this links back to No. 3) think about how to make your message interesting to your audience: compare it to something else; use a picture or video; find a more relevant way to share your angle. Just stop being boring.
- Losing focus. If you try to talk to everyone you’ll end up talking to no one. Be focused in your content and your audience. We know that niche content does better online. Be focused and disciplined and you’ll be rewarded with loyal followers. Try to please everyone and most people will ignore you.
What mistakes are you seeing in social media? What challenges do you face?