As a business owner or public figure, these days you more than likely are dealing with Social Media. Whether you're just starting out or are advanced - you can still really f#@k up your Social Media wreaking havoc on your efforts.
1. Fake fans/followers. You've heard this is a bad idea a million times. Here's one million and one. Just. Don't. We realize the pressure is on. People who don't know anything about how social media works today think that the number of followers you have is important in order to book you, do business with you, etc. Not all of your fans reside in one town so the notion that having thousands and thousands of followers is important to sell tickets at that one bar in that one town is ridiculous. Unless you're the Grateful Dead, most likely people aren't going to travel more than a few hundred miles to see you perform, shop at your store, eat at your restaurant, etc.
Instead - have a budget of your own to do highly targeted ads that will reach thousands interested in what you do and make sure your Social Media pages are full of interesting posts and examples of your excellent community management - which means you or your team is responding to people who are engaging with your pages.
P.S. - today it takes seconds to see if you have Fake Fans...and the internets will be brutal about it.
2. Auto-posting from one tool to multiple platforms. This doesn't mean you can't use tools to schedule posts ahead of time - it means don't try to take shortcuts by deploying a single post out to all platforms with one click which most social media management tools offer. Each platform has it's own tone, image sizes, and rules for optimal engagement. Take the extra time to set up scheduled posts according to what's best for each platform community standards.
3. Don't fight the algorithm. As mentioned in #2 - each platform has a standard set of posting rules that fit best with their algorithm. Facebook doesn't like, and will in fact, suppress reach on images with too much text. Ads on these kinds of posts will be MUCH more expensive - if they aren't stopped from running at all. Also - they prefer useful and news-type content that's engaging, interesting, and likely to be shared. Using the right images for the different types of posts is essential, and even more so for ads. Take the time to learn these and make them a matter of course, and you'll find a little more organic love. Do too much of what they don't like and eventually you'll find your page low ranked and performing poorly as a whole. Instagram and Twitter have their own similar sets of rules.
Bottom line: Don't fight the algorithm by posting the way you THINK it should be done. You'll lose.
Pro tip: if you don't use the proper Twitter image size, it won't show up in feeds properly or at all and your Tweet is going to get much less engagement.
For a complete size guide visit our friends at Sprout Social
4. Hiring amateurs. We get that you don't have time to do Social Media yourself - that's why we exist. We get that hiring someone seems expensive. However, it's really unlikely that your 19 year old niece who is soooo popular on Snapchat is going to know how to create, manage, and deploy a high-level strategy for business. The facts are that Social Media is responsible for 49% of actual trackable purchases and 86% of brand awareness for those who utilize it correctly. It's also the lowest advertising space available reaching thousands for pennies instead of dollars. It's also infinitely complex and requires people with creative and analytic skills.
Larger companies have teams on board with individualized specialists in ads, campaigns, content creation, curation, graphic design, and community management. It's that multi-faceted - and each piece is equally important. We realize it's not feasible for most people to have a team, but hiring an experienced person or two who can wear all of these hats, and wear them well is critical. And PLEASE do not give them ten other jobs to do to save money. They should not also be your office assistant, PR person, SEO manager, and email marketer on top of doing social media.
5. Hiring an "All In One" Agency. We've worked for agencies. A lot of them. The inside typically isn't pretty, and that's why we are dedicated entirely to content marketing and social media and bring in other dedicated specialists for all the other stuff you need rather than trying to wear all the hats. These agencies thrive by taking on too many clients and running boiler rooms of low-paid first jobbers who have to manage dozens of clients in SEO, website builds, app builds, social media, content marketing and more. In the end for your thousands of dollars of "savings", you end up with very rushed entry-level work happening on your account.
6. Making Social Media an afterthought. It should be one of the largest pillars of your marketing strategy. 89% of internet users digest their online content via social media. To relegate it's importance to the lowest, instead of highest priority is the biggest mistake businesses make. Social Media is outperforming SEO efforts, click and banner ads, PR, and Media advertising by miles and it's SMARTER. It has the highest and most precision targeting available allowing you to hone in on the EXACT people most likely to love what you do.
7. Putting your Marketing Person or PR Person in charge. We promise. These people do not know the complex intricacies or abilities of Social Media - they have a whole other complex and busy job. (They shouldn't be in charge of your Email Marketer or SEO teams either).
Ideally, the Marketing team comes up with an overall campaign and then PR, Advertising, and Email gets the news out. The Social Media person/team creates an appropriate social media campaign based on the marketing message that fits in within THEIR world. They should also be able to create standalone campaigns.
Social Media is a two-way conversational, highly engaged form of marketing whereas most other marketing efforts are almost strictly outbound. Traditional Marketers tend to ignore this and create content for social media that is very advertising/billboard/magazine styled instead of conversation starters. This type of magazine ad or TV commercial style content gets skipped over for the most part in Social Media verticals.
8. The 80/20 Rule. As mentioned just above - highly promotional content doesn't fly all too well on Social Media. Yes, a dose of it is fine. Of course people want to know what bands and movies are playing, what new products are out, what new TV shows are coming - so a certain amount of straight up advertising styled content is appropriate. The rest needs to be useful, informational, conversational. You have your business because you are great enough at what you do to actually be in business doing it. Share your knowledge. Highlight your brand or talent by creating content that showcases it while being helpful, entertaining, educational. This incentivizes people to engage with you and your business because you are making it about them, not you.
9. Ignoring your community. Social Media is two-way communication. We can't emphasize this enough. It's where the word SOCIAL Media comes from. You can create all the great content you want, but if you don't join in the discussion, reply to messages, like and comment what your followers are saying - they will drift away. This is also a great way to identify and reward super-fans that will act as ambassadors for your brand helping to spread the word. In addition, Social Media today is on the front line of customer service. If you don't respond to questions and needs in a timely manner, word will get around quickly.
10. Not following best practices. There are a myriad of best practices depending on what your business is that can range from legalities (Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco, and Adult Entertainment Social Media pages are heavily monitored and can result in severe regulatory repercussions).
Common best practices generally are:
Quick response to customer service questions. You should be monitoring messages and comments several times per day.
Monitor for spam and abusive comments. These should be removed immediately. Ban abusers right away.
Don't do Political/Religious posts (unless your business is politics/religion or directly affected and it's relevant)
Don't post about tragic events unless directly affected. This can easily appear to be capitalizing on tragedy. Also - pull back or don't post at all during these crises. Halt ads for a day. There's nothing worse than being super-cheery "business as usual" when you shouldn't be.
Posting about every single holiday. Stick to the big ones and find the fun ones that are relevant to your business like Nat'l Coffee Day or Administrative Assistant's Day. Watch out for things like mixing up Veterans' Day and Memorial Day. Do a little research and make sure you know the history and make sure it's appropriate to post about it.
Infrequent posts. There are a myriad of theories on how frequently everyone should be posting - a lot of it based on old information regarding algorithms. We're big believers in quality over quantity, especially when today every post should have a few dollars in ads behind it, but bare minimum calendar planning should be 3-4 days a week on each platform along with unplanned posts you will have pop up. Ideally, posting 2-3 times per day would be awesome - but we understand how hard that can be without pro help.
We hope some of these tips help you! If you want to learn more and come up with a solid, manageable game plan for your social media that will help drive traffic and sales - we're here to help via coaching. Still feel like it's too much? Contact us to discuss affordable rates. We can help you shift the right amount of your traditional marketing budgets successfully to social media where you'll see better results for much less!
- Team Matrix