8 Common Social Media Marketing Mistakes & What to Do About Them

8 Common Social Media Marketing Mistakes & What to Do About Them

When being in business, mistakes will happen. When using social media to help market your business, there is a huge opportunity for mistakes to happen. Knowing how to avoid them is key.

 

The world of social media marketing is gigantic. With numerous platforms to choose from, conflicting advice and strategies floating around, it’s not surprising to see so many businesses floundering about not sure if they are doing their marketing right. That’s where the mistakes happen. Off-brand messages getting posted. Too many, or too few, posts getting published. No analytics being tracked.

 

If you see yourself there, or if you are trying to avoid being there, help is here. Here are 8 common social media marketing mistakes I see businesses making, and some suggestions to help:

 

Doing More Than You Should

 

Often when a business decides to use social media, they think they need to do every.single.platform. If a marketing professional tells you that – fire them. You need to find where your audience is and focus on that. If that turns out to be Facebook and Instagram, then focus on those two platforms only. If it’s just Instagram, do only that. There is no need spending time on a social media platform that you have no audience on.

 

According to the latest data from Pew Research Center in November 2016, here is the demographic breakdown of the major social media platforms:

 

 facebook

instagram

 

 twitter

 linkedin



 pinterest

 

 Not Tracking Your Results

 

If you are not looking at your analytics on a regular basis, you’ll have no way of knowing if you social media efforts are working. Every platform, save Snapchat, has their own analytics component. Most social media management programs have them as well. To know if you are being effective with your social media marketing, you need to be consistently measuring your social media marketing efforts – weekly, monthly, however frequently you deem necessary.

 

If you are unsure what key metrics to look for, Sprout Social has a fantastic guide here.

 

Inconsistent Posting

 

Not having a plan, or posting consistently, is a mistake. Posting too much will lead people to stop following you. Not posting enough will leave people out in the cold because they will not know what’s going on. So, how often should you post?  That’s up for you to decide for your own business, however, here is my general recommendation:

  • Facebook: 1-2 times/day
  • Twitter: 5-6 times/day
  • Pinterest: 5-6 pins/day
  • Instagram: 1-3 times/day (depending on your business)
  • LinkedIn Company Page: 3-5 times/week
  • Snapchat: TBD based on your business type

 

Having the Wrong Message

 

Your social media posts should not be all broadcasts or worse yet, off-brand. People do not want to see sales pitch after sales pitch. Build a relationship with your fans. You want to use social media to educate your fans, yet build that relationship to establish trust. That last thing you want to do is to go off-brand to the point you leave them scratching their heads wondering if a 10 year-old is running your social media.

 

No Call-to-Action

 

Even though you want to limit your sales-y pitch posts, you do not want to forget your calls to action. People need to be prompted to do something. The CTAs (call-to-actions) can be something as easy as asking fans to like, comment, retweet, or share. CTAs lead to more conversions, not to mention more awareness for your brand.

 

Your Followers are Fake

 

I’ve become more active on Instagram with my business account and one thing I’ve noticed is newer accounts with unusually high following totals. When I go and look at who is following them… it’s mostly spam accounts. Even a “competitor” of mine is doing this. First of all, this is a Terms of Service violation that runs you the risk of having your account deleted, and second of all, this is an ethically wrong business practice.

 

Not Staying Up with the Latest

 

Social media is ever-evolving. Platforms change. Rules change. You cannot rely on articles and advice from two years ago. What everyone was suggesting in 2015 honestly is not applicable in 2017. When you seek advice or look at articles on Google, make sure to check the date of the article or source.

 

To stay up with latest, subscribe to a few blogs. Here are a few recommendations:

 

Trying to Do it All Yourself

 

This is the biggest mistake business owners make. Social media for your business can take all of your time, if you do social media right. As a business owner, you can outsource this to a social media strategist, or have someone in-house handle your social media.

 

Mistakes will happen. We’ve made them before – no business is perfect. The key is to learn from them and grow.

 

What other mistakes do you see businesses make on social media? Did we leave anything out? If you have any suggestions you’d like to add, please share them below in the comments!

 

If you see yourself or your business struggling with any of these, drop us a line and let us know – we’d love to help you get on track!

 

6-marketing-ideas-to-kickstart-your-holiday-campaign-mems-blog

6 Marketing Ideas to Kickstart Your Holiday Campaign

The holiday season is upon us and if you haven’t started to see any holiday marketing campaigns yet, well, get ready.

This time of year shouldn’t stress you out. It can be such a fun time to be in business. Many businesses, such as retail, depend heavily on the holiday season that runs mid-November through New Year’s Day. Yes, the fourth quarter can really make a business’ year financially, but here is one thing you should not skimp on right now: marketing.

The holidays make marketing so much fun – the contests, the deals, the relevant engagement – everyone needs to get into the spirit! However, a good bit of holiday shopping is done online, at via mobile at that.

Here are some of the facts:

  1. US retail e-Commerce will grow 13.3% this holiday season. (Source: Signal)
  2. 66% of consumers with shop both online and in-person. (Source: Adlucent)
  3. 34% of U.S. consumers say that digital advertising on a website or in a mobile app influences their holiday gift buying. (Source: Signal).
  4. 30.4% of online sales were placed from phones and tablets during the 2015 holiday season, up over 5% from the 2014 holiday season. (Source: Shelley Media Arts)
  5. Email marketing drove 20% of online sales during the 2015 holiday season. (Source: Shelley Media Arts)
  6. E-commerce revenue was up 16.2% on Cyber Monday 2015 compared to Cyber Monday 2014, making it the biggest day in US online shopping history. (Source: Custora)
  7. Black Friday was “Mobile Friday,” with mobile accounting for 36.1% of orders, up from 30.3% of orders on Black Friday 2014. (Source: Custora)

Now that you’ve seen some of the stats, how does that factor into your marketing plan?

Here are 6 tips to help…

1. Make your accounts festive!

You want your business/brand to be relevant, so that means “decorating” your website and/or social media accounts! Change out your Facebook cover photo to something Christmasy (if you celebrate that) or have your Twitter background be a field covered with snow. Show the world that you are ready for the holidays.

Idea: Use the Elf-Yourself program and share on your social media of you and/or your staff!

christmas-cover

2. Post interactive, engaging content.

Ask questions each week, share favorite holiday memories. Connect with your market on an emotional level and get to know them.

Idea: #TBT posts are a great way to spark a conversation!

mems-engaging-example

3. Offer sneak peeks to build buzz.

Let your social media community get in on special deals and products early by offering sneak peeks via your social media channels before any ads run or before anything hits the floors in your store. This is one way to build buzz and interest before an event.

Idea: This would be PERFECT for Snapchat!

twofriendssnapig

4. Offer something exclusive.

People like to have exclusivity. You do not have to do this to be successful, but sometimes this will help you convert those browsers into customers. It can something for Black Friday or Cyber Monday. It could be a month-long discount on a product or service.

Idea: Along with free shipping or a free month of service, throw in a free sample or something totally unexpected to surprise your customer.

treehousemacaroons

5. Mix it up with some traditional marketing.

The holiday season is one time of year you need to have a diversified marketing plan. Make sure to infuse your online holiday marketing plan with some aspects of traditional. Not all of your target audience will be online, so do not forget about those who may not be on social media or who may be using flip phones!

Idea: Visit your local businesses with some homemade cookies with your business card attached.

6. Have fun.  

The holidays is all about celebrating after all, so have fun. Enjoy the season and take time to get to know your customers and share this season with them as well.

Idea: Take your staff Christmas caroling!

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Are you ready for the holiday season? What tips would you share?

Digital Marketing Strategy

Digital Marketing Strategy 101 for Boring Brands

Over the past decade, and especially within the last five years or so, digital marketing has more or less infiltrated every area of our lives. Online advertising has evolved in leaps and bounds thanks to the internet and social media platforms.

You’re unlikely to escape the sponsored ads on Facebook, promoted tweets on Twitter, or those pesky popups on websites you like to visit – and everywhere else in between. We can thank the latest and greatest digital marketing plugins and algorithms (and other technical things, such as tracking pixels, which I won’t even pretend to understand).

Regardless of whether you consider current digital marketing techniques to be effective or “creepy/stalkerish,” many brands are finding success with using them.

In a recent article for TopRank Marketing’s blog, Ashley Zeckman pinpoints three attributes of a successful digital marketing strategy:

  1. Authoritative (having or showing impressive knowledge about a subject – Merriam-Webster)
  2. Credible (able to be believed – Merriam-Webster)
  3. Trustworthy (able to be relied on to do or provide what is needed or right – Merriam-Webster)

Sounds simple enough, right?

Sure, but how can I apply these digital marketing strategy attributes to my essential, but boring brand?

First of all, let’s determine what type of brand might fall into the “boring brand” category. These are brands that also want to creatively market their products, such as those for feminine hygiene, or medication for hemorrhoids, toilet paper, or auto insurance, for a few examples. You know, mundane things people don’t typically talk about in their everyday conversations.

And so, in a nutshell, the marketers for boring brands are tasked with creating and promoting brand awareness, starting conversations about and ultimately driving sales for these necessary, yet “blah” things – but for their brands.

For some time now marketers for this unique niche of brands are often left scratching their heads in the past when it comes to developing effective digital marketing strategies. They may be wondering, is it really necessary to “reinvent the wheel” just to gain more attention on the internet?

The short answer is, “yes.” Although many of us have become accustomed to seeing ads for these boring brands on television or hearing them on the radio, there is an entirely new and growing audience online. In my opinion, it’s just a matter of time before we fully embrace ads and other content for the so-called “boring brands” on the internet as well.

One issue the marketers or boring brands face is determining why their products and/or services don’t seem as easy to promote with the digital marketing tactics currently working for those not so “ho-hum” brands and how to work around it. The good news is that even though it may seem difficult to attract and retain an audience, it certainly isn’t impossible.

Scott Ayres has written an inspirational post for boring brands of all sizes for Post Planner, a social media engagement app. The post, which is titled, “36 No-brainer Social Media Tips for Boring Brands & Products,” provides an excellent list and resource guide that is perfect for creating content to use on social platforms or anywhere online.

Here are a few of Ayres’ tips you may wish to consider as you begin creating a digital marketing strategy for your own “boring brand”

  • Don’t be “salesy” — The 70/20/10 formula for content is ideal! This includes 70% informative, 20% other people’s posts, and 10% sales
  • Be personable — people want to see the personal side of your brand, and also use humor if appropriate
  • Share customer reviews/testimonials – potential clients often trust what others say about you and your brand
  • Create and share “How to” content related to your product or service through blogs, video or social media
  • Share posts from “experts” in your brand’s niche or industry

How real “boring brands” are finding real ways to reach their online audiences through digital marketing

As I have seen in my own experience there is truly no one-size-fits-all digital marketing strategy for any type of brand. There is a lot of essential research, testing, and trial and error involved in achieving success online.

However, there are several brands of various sizes and within different industries that are seeing positive results.

Here are a few examples:

1.  Charmin

Regardless of who you are, you probably (hopefully!) use toilet paper. It’s one of those essential, yet mundane products I referred to above with few marketable qualities.

In 2014, Charmin drummed up brand awareness when they launched a hugely successful social media campaign on Twitter using the hashtag #tweetfromtheseat. The tweets prompted interaction with the followers and provided some humor for the brand’s followers.

 

 

2.  General Electric

Although most B2B companies have had mixed results with their digital marketing efforts, General Electric (GE) has successfully boosted their brand using social media and other online marketing platforms.

One surprising platform where they have excelled in introducing their industrial products to a mainstream social media audience is Pinterest. Pinterest is still a widely popular visual platform. As of 6/8/16, Pinterest has 100 million active users according to Expanded Ramblings.

As for GE, Gina Hutchings says the following in her post for digital marketing site Receptional:

As a visual medium GE set up a ‘Badass Machines’ account to share images of not just their own work but also amazing innovations worldwide. The whole portal of the page is that ‘engineering is cool’ it’s new and exciting and something you would want to be part of.

 

3.  The Zebra

Car insurance is yet another one of those essential items people need. When it comes to gaining brand awareness it’s typically not an industry that attracts loyal online audiences by using the digital marketing strategy and techniques that work for more common consumer products.

The Zebra has taken steps to set themselves apart from some of the other car insurance providers online. As a startup in 2013, The Zebra’s goal was to be the “Kayak for auto insurance,” by aggregating quotes to provide car insurance shoppers with the best options. Consumers are also able to do this comparison shopping anonymously and without any obligation.

One unique way The Zebra is boosting its digital marketing strategy to attract the everyday, mainstream consumer is through providing free car insurance advice on demand through their website. Their page, “Ask an Agent,” promises fast, accurate, trustworthy – and 100% free – expert answers and tips from licensed and experienced insurance agents.

 

Zebra Ask an Agent

 

Which digital marketing techniques do you see working well for “boring brands”? What are other examples boring brands you think have been successful online? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

 

4 Underused Ways to Promote Your Brand on Social Media

4 Underused Ways to Promote Your Brand on Social Media

Here are some social media statistics if you’ve ever doubted the power of social media for business:

Source: http://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-for-business/

However, more and more people are branching out from the social media norm of regular posting and going to other platforms – Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc.

While none of this totally shocking, there are opportunities to really get creative and outside the box with your social media marketing. With so much of your competition now on the same platforms, you have to dig deeper and look for other unique ways to get noticed and capture your target audience’s attention. Here are four underused, creative ways to promote your brand on social media:

Tweet Chats

tweetchat

Tweet Chats are a great way to raise awareness of your brand on Twitter. If you’re not familiar with these, think of it like a group chat, except everyone follows the conversation via a hashtag. Every time I have participated in one, I’ve walked away with more followers and more people who now know about my business.

This is something you can host or you can simply just be a participant in. One of the best programs to use for this is tweetchat.com.

To read up on Tweet Chats, Buffer has a great guide to these that is a great starting point. Maybe one night someone will tackle a #southerncchat? 😉

Facebook Live Videos

Facebook Live is the “hot” thing right now on the platform and there are a multitude of ways you can use this to your brand’s advantage. Here are just a few –

  • Tip of the Week Video
  • Weekly Broadcast
  • Sneak Peeks
  • Cooking Shows
  • How-to Videos

The key to making Facebook Live videos work for your brand is planning them and promoting them. If you did an on-the-fly Facebook Live video, you’d be at the mercy of who happened to be online at the time you went live. If you planned it out and promoted it (via organic posting or social ads), people would know to be online at that set day and time to tune-in.

Specials/Sales via Snapchat

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This is something I’m seeing more of. With the limited time-ness (if that’s a word) of Snapchat, this makes the deal seem very exclusive. A lot of brands are still hesitant to join Snapchat, but for those who have made the leap, they are doing quite well with it. There is an ocean of opportunity if your target audience is one that uses this platform a lot.

Example: Promote on your brand’s social channels to follow you on Snapchat for limited time, exclusive deals. Then every couple days post a Snap that says to come in for 25% off item, if you’re a retail store, or if you’re a service-based business like myself, you could create a Snap for a free 30 minute consulting session.

Host an Open House Online

If you are a realtor, this could be one really creative way to set you apart from your competition. Hosting an open house online consists of posting a video or slideshow showcasing the best feature of each residence. You can narrate a walk-through, give decorating ideas and talk about what the seller is willing to offer with the purchase. This is a great way to weed out those who are not seriously interested and for the buyers, this may help them decide if they really want to take the time to go and look. This has a great potential to bring clients to you because of the creativity and the extra effort you go to. Plus, it’s out of the box from the realtor-norm.

This could be done on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram – and with a link to a video, the posting options are endless!

 

Any of these four ideas can be modified for any business-type, not just the examples I gave. Are you willing to give any of them a try?

 

This post was written for and originally appeared on The Southern C website and has been republished with permission.