You probably feel obligated to use social media for your business, with good reason. You know it's important for getting your brand in front of people, sharing your content, generating leads, and converting customers (52% of marketers found a customer using Facebook).
But anyone who carries the keys to their company's Twitter account can tell you it's more complicated than squeezing a message down to 140 characters (and leaving room for a retweet). It can also be a little nerve-wracking when you read about huge, costly social media mistakes brands have made.
So if you're one of the many marketers wondering why his or her social media isn't performing as well as you'd like, here are some of the common mistakes you might be making and how to fix them.
Do you feel like your social media efforts are going to waste? The problem might not be what you’re posting, but where. It’s a waste of your time and energy to create and share content on a social network your customers aren’t even using. Just because a social channel becomes popular doesn’t mean it’s right for your business.
For example, even though Instagram can be a really useful marketing tool, it might not make sense to focus on it if your business is not targeting 18-34 year olds. Pinterest is probably not the social network to choose if your audience is primarily male. The point is, you don’t NEED to be on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Linkedin if they aren’t doing anything to help your business and you should choose the ones that make the most sense for you.
So how do you decide which networks to use? First, it’s critical to determine your buyer personas. Buyer personas are your ideal customers that you should use to guide inbound marketing efforts. They include information about demographics and which social sites your customers use. Taking this information and demographic statistics of social media sites, you can choose which ones are most useful for your business.
Have you ever gone to a party and ended up stuck with that “friend” who only knows how to talk about himself? Remember how annoying it was and how quickly you wanted to get out of there? That’s how people feel when the brands they follow on social media are constantly talking about how great they are.
Let’s be honest, no one follows a brand on social media because they want to hear endless marketing messages. They follow because they want to get something out of it, whether it’s entertainment, education, a great deal, or interesting news.
A good rule is 80/20. 80% of your content should be education and valuable to your audience, the other 20% can be about your brand.
It’s called social media for a reason. Be social! One reason people follow a brand is to have the opportunity to actually interact in a human way. If you act like a robot on social media people will quickly lose interest.
When someone publicly compliments your brand on social media, it’s okay to respond, interact, or say thank you. These people will think even more highly of you than they did when they wrote the comment.
Along those lines, if someone says something negative about your brand, it’s probably even more important to respond. It may seem easier or preferable to ignore direct complaints on social media, but it doesn’t do your reputation any favors. Handling social complaints appropriately and effectively is a great way to change someone’s opinion about your company.
Images rule social media. 44% of social media users are more likely to engage with content that includes an image. Finding quality images you can legally use is difficult and time consuming, especially if you don’t have a stock photo subscription or a designer with spare time. Fortunately, there are tons of free resources out there for frustrated marketers to use. Here are a few of my favorites.
If you’re having trouble increasing your social following, maybe it’s because you’re making it too difficult to follow or find you. People expect social media to be quick and simple. If you want more follows, make sure you include social follow buttons on your homepage, blog, in emails, and anywhere else that would be relevant. If someone visits your website and sees the option to follow you, the chances of them doing so are much higher than them simply remembering to find you the next time they’re online.
Similarly, if you want people to share your content you have to make it easy. Include social sharing on your blog posts and landing pages. If you want Twitter followers to retweet something, just ask. Is there a statistic or quote in a blog post that you think is valuable? Use Click to Tweet to make it super easy for readers to share it.
There is plenty of research on the best times and frequencies to post on each social network, but here is a VERY simple guideline: post often enough to be useful and not so often that you're annoying. For example, if you have a Twitter account but only post about every two weeks, people are going to forget your account exists. If you post to Facebook 30 times in a day, people will definitely know you exist but they will also instantly hate you. It really depends on the social network.
Generally, you get away with far more posts on Twitter than you can on Facebook because tweets quickly get buried in a feed. However, Facebook’s algorithm makes brand posts show up less frequently in news feeds. The simple answer is to test the frequency that works for you. Start with a few tweets a day and see if that works. Some recommendations suggest up to twice a day for Facebook, others say every other day (not every two weeks, note). For LinkedIn, once a day is usually appropriate.
Photo Credit: Meddygarnet