If your business is using social media to promote its products and/or service and its brand, here is a question for you, “Are you getting your social media marketing right?” The answer to this question is not as simple as a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. You must take a close hard look at your social media marketing strategy and find out whether you’ve been avoiding the various mistakes that can actually kill your promotional campaign before it’s actually begun in earnest.
With companies planning to increase their social media spending by a mammoth 144% over the next five years, it’s important they are able to identify mistakes that can come to haunt their social media campaign.
So let’s take a look at the pitfalls that need to be avoided with a bargepole:
1. No Content Strategy
Only 44% of marketers have a documented content strategy. This is a cardinal error. You can’t afford to define a social media marketing strategy without backing it up with a content strategy. The latter includes content creation and content marketing. It’s important to remember that your social media presence is defined by content. You cannot have a presence without content. As a business, it is the quality of content that you share with your audience that will help you create a solid and influential identity on social media.
The purpose of every social network is to facilitate interactions and this isn’t possible if you don’t have a talking point – read ‘interesting content’. Lack of engaging content can sound the death knell for even the most diligently crafted social media campaigns.
Some marketers expect a social media campaign to start delivering results as soon as it is launched. This leads to wrong choices, for e.g. building a list of fake Facebook followers and using underhand methods to increase ‘Likes’ and ‘Tweets’. The problem here is that they fail to understand that marketing a brand on social media is a long drawn out process and rather than it being a single campaign, it is a set of diverse campaigns with their own timeline for delivering results.
For e.g. your Facebook campaign and your Twitter campaign are two different things. While both these campaigns come under the umbrella of ‘social media campaign’ there are two very diverse campaigns with their very own challenges. To put it simply, it’s ok to wonder how long it will take to see results from social media marketing, but when it comes to social media, results will come but they might not come in a hurry. The idea is to keep at it, keep refining your strategy, keep improving it on a piecemeal basis and not adopt social media shortcuts that will do more harm than good.
3. Lack of Innovation
A standard run-of-the-mill social media campaign offers diminishing returns. It might work at the beginning, but as you go along, you will find that you are losing the attention of the network of fans and followers that you had so painstakingly built. In order to avoid this state of affairs, you need to keep re-inventing your campaign to keep things interesting all the time. Some of the best social media campaigns are known for the kind of innovativeness they brought to the table, and the fact that they explored newer avenues of leveraging social media.
Sticking to a tried and tested approach for marketing your brand on social media will work; but in this case you’ll be doing what everybody else is doing. You might not be able to differentiate your business and its offerings from that of your competitors who might be following the same social route that you are. So “spy on your competitors”, identify their strengths and weaknesses on social media; exploit their weaknesses to the hilt and learn from what they are doing right. If you do this, innovation will happen naturally.
4. Lack of Seriousness
Do you know 53% of social media marketers do not measure success? This illustrates a curious lack of seriousness on the part of marketers with respect to their social media efforts. This is also one of the biggest mistakes that you can make with respect to your social media marketing strategy. If you are serious about it, you need to track results consistently. But this is just one example of how marketers are criminally negligent with their social media campaigns.
For many marketers this negligence takes the form of being irregular with their ‘sharing’ efforts, which is usually a result of their inability to keep coming up with original, useful and relevant content regularly. The problem is a lack of clear and well-coordinated social media strategy. This strategy needs to be defined much before you actually implement the campaign. So figure out how much importance you want to give your campaign and more importantly, whether you can keep giving it the significance it deserves. If you cannot stick to a disciplined and consistent campaign, you will find your brand and the campaign faltering big time on social media.
These are not the only pitfalls that have the potential to kill and bury your social media marketing strategy. But, if you are able to avoid these, you are definitely improving your chances of getting solid value from your campaign.