The 5 Social Media Mistakes that Marketers Make and How to Avoid Them

Posted by Sheryl Roehl

More and more businesses are jumping on the social media bandwagon, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re getting everything right.  Here are 5 things that keep marketers from getting the most from their social marketing programs.

1. Running your social marketing without a strategy or a plan. Social media is maturing, but is your approach to it? You should build a plan for your social marketing like you would for any other marketing discipline. Your plan should include the strategies and tactics, branding, messaging, content, tools, resources and goals that will help you make your social media presence a successful part of your marketing.

2. Operating in a silo. 7 out of 10 marketers in a recent BtoB survey said branding is their top goal for social marketing.  Funny, but the reality often seems like the exact opposite. Many companies seem to run their social media programs like a separate sideline and tactical program handled by an intern or entry-level marketer. This is a mistake. Instead, you should incorporate social media into your integrated marketing programs. Be sure to project a consistent brand in all your social media channels (and across all marketing channels) in terms of design, positioning and personality.

3. Using social media as just another marketing “me” channel. Twitter and other social media are not just another corporate press release wire for your PR team or product announcements. Can you say boooring? Too many B2B companies use their social channels to push out one-way PR announcements and top-down messages.You can instantly set your company apart from competitors by delivering interesting and valuable content and engaging in two-way conversations about topics that really matter to your target audience.

4. Neglect your following. I’m always surprised when I run across company’s social media accounts that push out plenty of tweets and posts, but have relatively few followers — let alone engaged ones – even after years of maintaining an active social presence.Like it or not, your company’s reach and engagement with its following help drive your Klout score, a key measurement of your social media influence.

You wouldn’t drop a major email campaign to a dozen contacts, nor should you do the equivalent on your social channels. Just as you work at building your email list, you should invest time and resources in growing your list of quality followers, fans and likes.

If you don’t have the bandwidth to tackle it, you can outsource this task to social media experts. For example, Avenue L Marketing built up a client’s Twitter following to more than 500 in a matter of weeks. For another client, we grew the quality and number of followers gradually over several months, from around 400 followers to 1,000. Here, atAvenue L Marketing, we increased our following (@MarketingIntel) during the past year to over 2,500 as of this writing.

5. Obsessing about the score. Yes, metrics can help you track your progress, but you don’t focus too much on them. Your social media presence should be making an impact and contributing to the success of your marketing campaigns.  Sure, pay the proper attention to your Klout and other metrics delivered by your social platform, but don’t go overboard. They’re just numbers after all.

Don’t make these 5 mistakes in your social marketing. Build your social media plan and constantly fine-tune it based on what works and what doesn’t.  Get help from experts to optimize your social presence and invest in growing your target audience of followers, fans and likes. It’s smart to keep an eye on key performance metrics but stay focused on improving your content and increasing the engagement of your audience.

What other tips would you add to this list of social marketing pitfalls? Would you please share your experiences and perspectives on social marketing?

Sheryl Roehl is co-founder, president and chief marketing officer of Avenue L Marketing, a full-service marketing agency in Atlanta, Georgia, that helps clients achieve outstanding results from their marketing, demand generation, public relations, content, social media and web initiatives.


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