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Top 19 Social Media Marketing Mistakes

No one wants to flush money down the drain or lose market share to competitors—with an inefficient social media marketing campaign you may be doing both of these things. By avoiding the following mistakes, you will be 19 steps closer to avoiding a disastrous and wasteful marketing campaign.

1. No Strategy

“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Who in your company will be responsible for specific tasks in the process of your social media marketing? Will there be employee(s) dedicated wholly to SM (social media) or will they still be required to handle their previous responsibilities also? Is your industry B2C or B2B? What platforms are proven to work for your industry?

You need to iron out these questions (and a lot more) first. Without goals and meaningful analysis, a social media campaign could be a huge waste of time and resources.

2. Not Committing to Social Media Long Term

Have you ever come across a brand’s social page only to discover they haven’t posted anything in years? Any prospective customer that sees a “dead” social media account will be skeptical about the reliability of that brand.

If this is the social page, would you have confidence in their 10 year warranty?

Too many businesses are bursting with excitement about their shiny new social page, but then 2 months later have already started to be irregular in posting content.

Your marketing efforts won’t provide you with an overwhelming flood of customers on day one. The real payoff comes after many months of hard work. If setting aside the time or budget will be an issue within the first year, another form of digital marketing (with more immediate payoff) should be pursued in the short term. If your business is seasonal, with cash flow problems, this may apply to you.

3. Social Media Means Engagement

Social media is not a megaphone for you to shout to a silent audience. It’s two friends grabbing a coffee to exchange ideas, ask questions, and share stories.

Many “faceless” businesses have a reputation of being cold and self-serving. The digital age we live in has given people the ability to interact with the corporations they buy from and to see the human side.

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Your business can remain self-serving, but you do have to pretend not to be.

The key is to make the person feel their input is important. If you kill your fans (potential customers) with kindness and empathy they will remain loyal.

4. Ignoring Reviews

Most people don’t relish engaging in conflict, but unfortunately, you can’t ignore negative online reviews. There is an expectation for companies to reply, and for these responses to be swift.

If you don’t have the full answer right away, zero response is not an option. You should at least give a partial response, such as: “Hey Dan, thanks for your question. Let me find an answer for you.”

Of course, you can’t leave them hanging for too long with half an answer.

Remember that what you say (or don’t say) can be seen by current and potential customers on your social channels. How you handle the situation (however unfair it may be) could make or break a customer’s opinion of you.

Don’t forget, you should also reply to positive reviews! The good news is, these should be easier to write a reply for.

5. Lacking Brand Personality

It doesn’t matter if you love or hate the commercials, the “Old Spice Guy“ media blitz was an absolute runaway success. With the paid promotion being a minuscule portion of the total exposure. That campaign was so effective, it lit a fire in the marketing world, leaving an example that hundreds of businesses have since imitated.

6. Brand Narcissism / Overselling

Don’t fall into the trap of talking too much about your brand (and only your brand). The end goal with using social media should always be to convert your audience, but that shouldn’t be painfully obvious.

If anything, users turn to social media in an attempt to interact with a brand without the skullduggery that traditional advertising serves. They choose social media for the rawness, the interactions and most importantly, the content. Provide value to the reader or your whole campaign will suffer.

If your social channels constantly talk about what your company is doing and how awesome you are, this comes across as shallow and narcissistic. No one but the one speaking wants to listen to that.

“Me, me, me. Look at me. I’m so cool”
– Company Overselling Their Brand

7. Not Converting Followers into Paying Customers

Going too far in the other direction is a common mistake for many rookie SM agencies. Focusing solely on follower numbers to keep a client happy in the short term, is all too easy a trap for them to fall into.

In the long term though, what any business cares about is a monetary return on investment. What those agencies forget is the number of followers isn’t nearly as important as targeting users that care about your brand, industry, and/or products. Without followers that may convert into customers, you will never reap the full benefits of SM.

8. Not Sending Followers to Your Website

As much as we love using Facebook and other SM to drive sales, what if tomorrow the platform you use most is gone? If the only way your customers know you is through your fan page, you would have to start over from scratch!

To prevent this, use a multi-channel marketing strategy—send your followers to your blog, newsletter sign-up page, and other social channels. By giving your customers a way to find you outside of just one marketing channel, you improve the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

Plus it saves you from having “all your eggs in one basket”—keeping the future of your company safe—both if Facebook stays or disappears.

9. Going Too Off Topic Too Often

2012 saw an extended phase where users and businesses seemingly did nothing put post pictures of cute animals & funny memes. Your content should have some relevance to your industry and value to the user. Posting cute animals is only relevant if you are a veterinary clinic. If your followers are only commenting because your content made them giggle—not because they would conceivably want to buy from you—then you need to rethink posting it.

It’s not just posting too many irrelevant jokes that can devalue your efforts. If an attempt to explain the connection between your content topic and your industry or product(s) gets wordy and confusing, it’s too far removed. The connection between your industry and your content needs to be direct and valuable to your prospective customers (not someone else’s).

Your industry needs to be at the center of the Venn diagram that represents all your content.

10. Buying Followers

The temptation to pursue shortcuts to getting larger visible statistics than your competitors is undeniable. But ask yourself, are those fake followers ever going to buy your product? Or share your posts with their equally fake robot friends on social media?

They might be interested if you sell motor oil.

In 2014, Instagram deleted millions of clearly fake accounts. Any celebrity or corporation that had bought followers prior, lost all of them and was exposed to the world. Even without such a purge happening again, with 5 mins of casual effort, any of your customers will see the difference between real and fake followers.

11. #Overuse #of #LowValue #Hashtags #Looks #Silly

What once was a telephone button, # (pound) has become a social media staple. Proper use of this feature can increase the visibility of your social shares (especially if you have a small following currently).

But, it is a common mistake among brands, and users alike, to go overboard with this feature, using too many hashtags, and using phrases with no value to visibility.


Each hashtag you use should be carefully chosen to have high value (while still being relevant to your post). How many tags is “too much” will vary between platforms.

If you unironically use hashtags in your verbal conversations … we can’t be friends.

12. Underestimating the Workload

You want your social media to flourish, but you also don’t want to neglect your business management responsibilities either. If you are single handedly trying to run your business and manage your social media accounts, you’re probably doing too much.

Don’t spread yourself too thin.

If you hire a social media marketing agency, the “Workload” (both the tasks required of you and the monetary costs) will be in your contract, so it would be impossible for you to underestimate it.

13. Procrastination of Tasks

“When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.” – Creighton Abrams

Everyone is different, but for most people, ongoing tasks have the best success if they become part of your daily routine. Don’t try to plan your whole week of SM content in one sitting. Set aside 10-30 minutes every day to work on it, even on days that you don’t post anything.

14. Lack of Proofreading

Spelling and grammar mistakes in your marketing hurt your company’s credibility and muffle your intended message.

Everyone on your content production team should have access to a grammar checker like Grammarly, Ginger, or even Google Docs. Besides this, you should have a strict requirement of at least two humans to be a part of the proofreading process. Because it has been thoroughly proven that no one can reliably proofread their own writing.

You can relax the “two person” requirement for customer responses—relying only on grammar checking software and thorough personal proofreading—because:

    1. These customer responses should not have undue delay applied to them.
    2. Your readers will be marginally more forgiving of a post that is not a scheduled broadcast. Especially with direct messages, where only one person sees the response.

15. Not Scheduling Posting Times

Posting in irregular, clumped, or poorly chosen times is a great method… of getting people to reach for the unfollow button! In contrast, for maximum benefit, the day of the week and the time of day both need to be carefully chosen, spaced apart, with no suspiciously long gaps.

The optimal times will depend on your industry, the platform, and your audience. A law firm may want to post in the late weekday afternoon, so readers will have something for the train ride home. While for most industries, midafternoon Sunday perform well.

Then, your previous post times need to be tested and further optimized, using tools that will analyze your past reshare performance, plus your intended and current audience.

16. Doing Everything Manually

Given the critical importance of scheduled posting, the use of tools to ensure that your posts get sent out at the right time cannot be understated. This problem only multiplies when you add more social platforms to the mix. Posting manually can also undo much of your hard work at proofreading.

17. Broadcasting the Same Message Across Multiple Channels

As mentioned above, different platforms have different personalities which require targeted styles of content, you can’t just copy-and-paste content between sites.

On Instagram you can put in text, but users have a tendency to ignore long captions, focusing mainly on the image. So make your captions “short and sweet”, and put your branding directly in the images (where copyright allows).

In the first few years of their existence, Twitter only allowed text, with no option to include images. While images are now allowed—the user base is conditioned to focus on text, and it is shown above images.

Besides this, every platform has different hard limits to how long your written message can be. Nothing is more confusing to your followers than a cut off senten…

18. Too Many Platforms Quickly

As mentioned, each social site has its own issues and hang-ups specific to it—including unique optimal posting times—and all these quirks need to be addressed with either deep research, or repeated testing (both of which take time to extract the answers you need).

This is less of a problem if you are going with a social media marketing agency. They can bring to bear the lessons they have learned about each major platform, on day one of your campaign.

We went through all the trial and error, so you don’t have to.

But if you choose to do your SM internally, slow and steady wins the race. Start with whichever platform is known to provide the best ROI (Return on Investment) for your industry. Build a steadily growing following there, then expand to another platform—bringing some of your current following with you. Don’t underestimate the workload of learning how to optimally broadcast on a new social site.

There are a lot of social media networks out there, but that doesn’t mean your small business needs to be on all of them. It’s a much better strategy to have a thriving presence on one or two networks than an uninspired presence on four.

19. Multiple Profiles (Per Site)

You should never unnecessarily increase to your workload, with more than one active profile on a social platform. Because the only thing accomplished—is that you “divide and conquer” yourself—with the winner being your competitors.

The only exception is when you are absolutely forced to have separate brands, with unique identities and target markets—especially if the general public is unaware these brands are connected.

The two largest furniture stores in Canada, for example, are two brands of the same company. These brands include The Brick and Leon’s. The Brick, a brand targeted at affordable furniture for the working class—and Leon’s, a brand that recently has been working hard to shift their image away from “affordable”, toward “stylish”. Because of the large divide between the audiences, the parent company has no choice but to have a completely separate social media presence for each brand.

Bear in mind this will increase your workload, with none of it being shared—because you should never copy social shares between multiple brands because no one can please all people, all the time.

Reaping Profits

A social media marketing campaign that is effective and efficient can bring you a substantial amount of benefits: turning followers to customers, brand image to conversions and profits, ensuring your company’s future! By avoiding the above-listed mistakes, you will be 19 steps closer to a successful and efficient campaign!

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