Social media is as critical for your online marketing campaign as breathing is for your lungs. While having a well-designed and implemented website is the centerpiece to your online marketing initiative, your social media is the method by which you draw in customers to look at your website and other products, all while developing a personality and brand.
Developing a social media marketing plan is easy, and we’ve written extensively before on how to do so. However, executing it correctly will take effort and evaluation. The hard part is finding the perfect balance that will keep your audience engaged and satisfied. There are reasons that many businesses never take off on social media, and it’s because of common mistakes. Generally, these include doing too much, not doing enough, being too serious or not being strategic. These seem simple to fix in theory, but below we have each mistake explained and what exactly you need to do instead.
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1. Prioritize Your Networks, Don't Spread Them Thin
Your company is always going to work with some networks better than others. Although all platforms are important, to put an equal amount of time into each of them is silly. It’s important to find the one channel that is densely populated with your ideal viewers and focus the most on that. Usually this is the channel that needs to most time anyway, so it should be a natural decision.
2. Don't Standardize, Diversify
It’s important to maintain your brand identity across all platforms. This usually includes using the same color scheme, profile picture, campaigns and tone of voice, but be careful extending farther than this. Each platform is very different and should be planned for what is most effective for your company. For example, Facebook's casual community makes conversation very natural, but LinkedIn has very professional, industry-focused messaging . Some platforms are useful regardless of the audience such as Twitter, but still deserve a different approach.
3. Respond to Comments, Don't Ignore Them
This is the most common way to slack in the area of social media interaction. Your content will only get you so far, so make sure to interact with followers to draw them in and encourage loyalty to your page. Comments can quickly get lost in the mix of everything on your social media to-do list, but this is something followers care about. Responding could be answering questions, sending replies, thanking your followers or asking others for recommendations. Customers who are so unsatisfied they want to comment about it, deserve your attention.
4. Be Transparent, Not Defensive
You can almost guarantee that a future angry customer will go on a rant all over one of your posts. When this happens, the worst thing to do is try to delete it or cover your tracks. Viewers will watch how you react and envision themselves in the situation. Respond the best way you can by offering a solution and not being defensive. Follow up afterward to make sure the problem is resolved.
5. Strategic Hashtags
Adding a random hashtag that is not relevant to your post will not help you. Hashtags are all about connecting people who are looking for your content to you. If you link people to content they aren’t looking for, they will most likely be frustrated. Be honest and try to use relevant, popular hashtags. If you are building a campaign, come up with a new hashtag that is easy to remember to use throughout. This should tie all of the pieces of your campaign together.
6. Balance Fun and Seriousness
No one wants to follow a company that posts like a robot. Your viewers will trust you if they know you are real people with emotions and like to have fun. Poking fun at yourself is a great way to show the human side of a corporation . As long as it’s harmless, people will appreciate it. Fun content is also a great way to grab your audience’s attention. After they are grabbed, you can bring up your product or service. Cree, a worldwide manufacturer selling lighting products, posts fun content frequently. By saying something like “What happens if a baby holds a Cree light bulb?”, they are speaking to the audience in a way that grabs their attention and makes them laugh . What is most important for Cree is that once the consumer answers the question, they are involved. Fun content is key to a happy and active audience.
7. Find the Right Post Frequency
Posting non-stop can be very annoying and frustrating to your followers. Make sure to narrow down your content depending on the platform, in order to focus on what is important. This is beneficial to you, because there are bound to be peak times of the week that you should be posting and refraining from posting in the down times. If you are unsure how to find this perfect frequency, try tracking the reach and engagement of your current plan and record a week where you post less and a week when you post more. You’ll be able to see what direction is best fit.
8. Make it About the Followers
Your social media techniques should really focus on your fans and followers instead of yourself. The more you spotlight your fans, the more they will engage with you and continue to come back. Many companies do this by showing the customer how following them will be a mutually beneficial relationship. Zappos, for example, uses the slogan “Let’s be in a Like-Like relationship” . This means that Zappos cares enough to like each follower back and build relationships. People know this from the very beginning and will trust the company more. Zappos also has “Fan of the Week” contest where they encourage fans to send in photos of the Zappos box and get a chance to win . Then this person gets “fans-only content” with special gifts and promotions. This means that people who are loyal to Zappos get invested in by the company. It makes the consumer feel important and a part of the company.
9. Entertain and Inform While Selling
You can boost exposure by giving more to your community by entertaining and informing. If all you do is “take”, your community will stop giving to you. In order to make the relationship mutually beneficial, offer valuable content and resources that people actually want to share. No one wants to be sold, but they want a quick fix for their issues. It can also be a good idea to encourage followers to educate each other via your platform. Ford does this by asking customers for Ford stories and ideas that in the categories of Safety or Personalization . While educating the community, they are also getting new ideas for their cars. This gets their friends involved while also growing the company.
10. Visuals Instead of Text
Viewers’ attention spans are always shorter than you think they are. There is so much content out there, that viewers have to pick and choose within and instant, and visuals always catch their eye first. On average, tweets that feature images are favorited 89 percent more, earn 150 percent more retweets and lead to 18 percent more clicks. Sephora has mastered their visuals technique by making their posts original works of art . They make custom-designed, inspiring visuals that function as more than advertisements. Each post is as aesthetically pleasing as possible and catches the viewer's eye. After they are drawn in, then they see what the product is really about.
By building a social media plan, your brand is creating a textbook. At the end of the day, let your customers guide your brand to success. Remember it is your job to entertain and inform your followers so that they become loyal to you. Continue testing, experimenting and improving your techniques to master the perfect balance for your brand.
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