One tricky thing about social media marketing is that there often isn’t one “end-all-be-all” solution to achieve your goals. It’s all about testing, learning and optimizing future content. However, before you can implement any social media strategy, there are a few fundamentals you must absolutely get right before beginning. As the old saying goes, “don’t put the cart before the horse.”
Below are three common social media marketing mistakes made by marketers, as well as how you can avoid or fix them.
Not knowing your target audience
Who are you trying to reach? Social marketing is all about getting relevant messages to relevant audiences.
From the image, to the copy, to using both organic and paid targeting tools, social marketers must get every piece right for optimal engagement. When social users see irrelevant messages, they are unlikely to engage with them, or act upon them.
Native analytics tools on social media platforms can help you to understand who your target audience is, where they are, and what they are looking for. It’s critical to understand how fans are interacting with your page, their demographic profiles, other accounts they follow, and past content they have engaged with.
These insights will help you build personas and tailor your posting calendar accordingly. The deeper you go into your analytics, the more successful you will be at reaching the right audience and providing them with content they will actively engage with. And of course, don’t forget to engage back!
Not understanding your data
With copious amounts of data available through each platform’s analytics, you may find yourself in a never-ending spiral of numbers. Because of this, you could be looking at (or focusing on) the wrong data.
For example, marketers used to be hyper-focused on fan and follower growth. One could argue that is a fairly arbitrary number nowadays, mostly due to the algorithmic nature of social media platforms. Would you rather have 500,000 followers with 1% engagement or 50,000 followers with 10% engagement? Organic reach has been declining for years, so the more engaged your audience is then the more organic reach your content will have.
Another common misconception is that you always need to post when the greatest amount of your fans are online. While this is helpful, it’s not something to overthink. Most social channels (with the exception of Twitter) are not chronological. If your content engages your audience, then it can appear in the News Feed long after it was originally posted.
While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer as to which data truly matters, the key is to define your primary KPIs and then use social media data to determine if your strategies are working.
Judging strategies too quickly
There is a common misconception that because social media is rapidly changing, new strategies have to (or will) produce immediate results. Although things seem to be happening more quickly than ever before, the reality is that it can take months to see the fruits of your labor. Unfortunately, because of this mentality, business owners can get worried when new social media strategies do not produce great results shortly after they begin. This worry ultimately leads to marketers receiving orders to “cut their losses” and change their strategy before its had a chance to become produce the desired results and be considered a success.
Don’t be discouraged if your target audience doesn’t engage with the first piece of new content you post. And remember that there are more engagement metrics than just “like, comment and share.” Are people clicking your link? Are they clicking the photo to enlarge it? All of these actions (although not necessarily visible on the post) trigger the algorithms to expand reach. Continually monitoring metrics, optimizing content, and testing different variations across different audiences is a much better approach then completely jumping ship.
Be patient with your strategies. Consistency is the key.
If you’ve noticed a lag in your results, check and see if you have been making one of these three common social media marketing mistakes and adjust appropriately. By next quarter, you should be back on track!