Social Media Marketing The Five Worst Mistakes You Can Make

Social media marketing is now an essential part of every small business marketing strategy.  Using the popularity of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube might seem pretty easy. However, there are five very common pitfalls that you must avoid if you want your social marketing strategy to be successful. We will cover beginning without proper planning, not uinderstanding the importance of timing, violating proper social network etiquette, not providing a measure of success, and not knowing what your competitors are doing. 

Beginning Without Proper Planning - Proper planning prevents poor performance.  This popular military adage, with the wording cleaned up a tad, has proven to be very applicable to modern business.  Without a proper foundation, your social media marketing strategy can easily fall off track.  A good social networking plan is based on these fundamental principles.

  • Know your targeted audience and how you will communicate with them.
  • Tie your social networking in with your overall marketing plan.
  • Properly staff your social media presence.
  • Know what success looks like, and how it will be measured.

Your entire team needs to be operating under these principles.  And make sure whoever is in charge of implementing the strategy is accountable for the results. 

Not Understanding The Importance Of Timing - People are visiting social media sites all over the world 24 hours a day.  The most effective time to reach out to the American population is between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern Time.  This is because 80% of the US population that uses social media sites lives in the Eastern and Central time zones.  If you are based on the west coast, but are appealing to a national customer base, posting at 5 p.m. Pacific Time will miss the majority of your target audience.  Furthermore, if your web business is targeting customers in Hong Kong and Singapore, then this time frame makes no sense for you.  If you want your posts and tweets to be read, then they need to be made available when your target audience is available as well. 

Violating Proper Social Network Etiquette - You must not start your social marketing campaign without a grasp of the following rules in internet etiquette:

  • Dont follow someone on Twitter to get them to follow you, and then dump them. 
  • Engaging conversations in social media always start with a thought-provoking question.  This is how you turn your post into a discussion.
  • Promote others more than your promote yourself.  This is a great way to build goodwill and establish yourself as a member of the community.  A good rule to follow is for every time you promote yourself, promote another business or person five times
  • Narrow your focus to three or four networks.  Otherwise, you risk spreading yourself out too far and thus not having the time to engage your readers with beneficial and relevant content.

To become a real member of the social media community, make sure your posts focus more on providing information than promoting your business.  Shameless self-promoting on social media sites is a sure way to get unliked and unfollowed. 

Not Providing A Measure For Success - There are many tools available for you to measure the effectiveness of your social marketing.  These tools let you analyze the size of your community and how often your brand is being mentioned on the web.  One great free tool is SocialMention, which will let you send you notices about daily mentions of your brand on line. 

Not Knowing What Your Competitors Are Doing - Pay attention to what their customers are saying.  You might learn of a problem with one of their products that you can then solve with your own.  Social media is a great way to learn about complaints.  The complaints about your competitors can be a profitable opportunity for you. 

Social media marketing is incredibly effective, but only when done correctly.  With proper planning and by avoiding these mistakes, you can expect to see real results.

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