1. Being all talk
The key to social media content is to show, not tell. Audiences prefer engaging with visual content over text anyday; did you know that tweets with image links get an engagement rate 200% higher than those with just 140 characters? Flooding your feeds with line after line of text could cause you to miss out on a huge opportunity to connect with your buyers. Instead, we should be emulating brands like Oreo, whose Twitter feed is addicting thanks to charming illustrations, clever videos and mouth-watering images.
Lucky for us, it’s easier than ever to share visual content, thanks to free design tools like Canva and seamless embed options on social platforms. For marketers, a picture really is worth a thousand words — act accordingly.
2. Putting on a one-man show
Trying to apply your advertising approach to social is a big mistake. In fact, one of the reasons social media is effective is because so many people tune out traditional media and mass messaging. On social, it’s even easier to mute brands that talk, but don’t listen — with a quick click, consumers can unfollow or remove your content from their feed for good.
Instead of talking about yourself nonstop, make your audience the center of attention by highlighting their interests, like Monster Energy on Facebook, or sharing their content on Instagram like Sharpie. Your social following isn’t a captive audience, so take a break from broadcasting and start sharing content they’ll actually want to click on.
3. Forgetting to think before you tweet
Staying relevant today isn’t easy — trending topics go from viral to ancient history daily. So how can marketers keep up? Cue newsjacking. Instead of trying to generate buzz from scratch, brands piggyback on the popularity of top headlines to amplify their own content. We see clever newsjacks during the Super Bowl and the Oscars, but occasionally, the not-so-savvy attempts end up being headlines themselves.
Last year, AT&T earned serious social backlash for a failed 9/11 tribute, and, Gap crossed the line when it took to Twitter to promote discounts during Hurricane Sandy. It’s true that marketing today is time-sensitive, but you’d rather be late to the game than be perceived as offensive.
4. Thinking all social platforms are created equal
Your social strategy shouldn’t be one size fits all. For example, B2B audiences spend most of their time on LinkedIn, while B2C buyers can be found on Facebook, according to Social Media Examiner. Find the channels that best align with your audience’s interests, then experiment with the type, cadence and style of content you think will resonate most. Measure what works and what doesn’t and optimize accordingly. Instead of publishing the same content to every channel, the best social media teams create tailored approaches based on the medium and the message.
5. Putting your customers on mute
It used to be that if a customer had a complaint about your product or service, they could tell their friends, family or a 1-800 number. Today, consumers can share negative reviews with their entire network — and the searchable social web — through a simple click. Not surprisingly, 72% of customers who complain about a brand on social expect a response within an hour. But in some cases, they are lucky to get noticed at all. This Facebook post from McDonald’s sparked tons of nasty comments slandering the company’s food and service, but last I checked, the Golden Arches hadn’t chimed in to put out the fire. Whether you have a handful of followers or 31 million Facebook fans like McDonald’s, you can’t afford to ignore your audience, period.
6. Forgetting to be a human
In an age where buyers are constantly bombarded with deals, promos and ‘lowest price’ taglines, your brand’s personality is crucial to stand out from the pack. Corporate jargon and automated replies will send your audience running in the other direction, while brands that aren’t afraid to let loose will be welcomed with open arms. This Twitter conversation between Pizza Hut and one of its followers is a great example of a brand having fun with its personality.
Ultimately, building a community of brand advocates today isn’t about what you’re selling, it’s about what you’re saying. Luckily, the casual nature of social media makes it easier than ever for us to talk to our audience like humans.
7. Assuming your social strategy works
In the Mad Men era, measuring the true impact of your marketing efforts was nearly impossible. Luckily, marketers today have more data than ever to truly understand how our efforts impact the company’s bottom line. Still, of the 88% of brands using social media platforms for marketing, only about 37% are taking the time to measure the ROI of their efforts. It’s easy to tally likes and retweets to get an idea of how engaged your audience is on social, but those numbers don’t tell the whole story. There are myriad metrics to consider to help put a dollar value on your Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn efforts. Having a data-driven handle on your marketing’s impact is something even Don Draper would be envious of.
Today, the customer is in control, and they expect marketers to know where, when and how to connectwith them on social media. Every marketer has a different road map for getting there, but avoiding these seven social mistakes can help us all steer clear of serious potholes.