It can be challenging keeping up with the social landscape – social media moves at a rapid pace, and the rules switch on you before you even know what’s happening. It can be daunting wading into the tweet stream or Instagram waters, so daunting, in fact, that many businesses don’t even try.
If this is you, you're missing out – there are simply too many opportunities in social media marketing to ignore it copmletely.
Here are three of the biggest social media marketing mis-steps to avoid – steer clear of them and you should be safe.
1. Ignoring the social element
The first thing businesses looking to get started on social media need to note is that the ‘social’ part of ‘social media’ is important. It’s not just a catchy name.
Think about how you use your personal social media accounts – you go on Facebook to check out what your friends are up to, you go on Twitter to check out the latest news, on Snapchat to see the latest antics.
You don’t log on to hear about the latest deals from your local supermarket – they might appear in the side bar or come up in your feed, but that’s not why you use social. It’s not a broadcast channel.
As such, you need to consider how social your messages are. If you’re just posting updates like ‘we’re having a sale, 15% off’, you’re offering no opportunity for engagement – for social interaction.
Most brands fail at social media because they see it as another promotional channel, they way they’d put ads in the paper. But it’s not. Social media is built around engagement, being a resource and interacting with your audience.
Instead, think about what you can add to the conversation of interested people, as opposed to interrupting it.
2. Spreading themselves too thin
Being active on social is important, but consistency – maintaining an active social presence – also speaks volumes.
If you set up a presence on a social platform then just ignore it, it’s likely not helping you. If someone stumbles across a dormant Twitter or Facebook profile it might look lazy, half-hearted, maybe they move on to someone else who looks like they’re engaged and active.
To avoid this, don't simply make sure you are only active on the platforms that deliver the best results for your business, but make sure you have the time to maintain and update those profiles.
If you don’t have time to maintain a presence on a platform but you still want to ensure you’re found by people who might go looking for your business there, add a note to the profile saying that you’re more active on Facebook or anywhere else and re-direct them to your more prominent and active hubs.
3. Too many hashtags
Hashtags remain one of the most confusing elements of social media, particularly for newcomers, and while these days most people are fairly aware of hashtags and how they work, they can still break up a sentence and cause people to do a double take.
Make sure you do some research and understand the hashtags that are relevant to both your business and your audience. There’s no point #hashtaggging #every #word. It’s irritating, and it’s not helpful.
As a general rule of thumb, stick to the following:
- Twitter: 2 hashtags per tweet
- Instagram: 9 hashtags in Instagram posts
- Facebook: 1 (if any)
- LinkedIn: 1 (if any) – LinkedIn has only recently enabled hashtags on the platform
As noted, the social landscape is always changing, and it can be hard to keep up, but these three pointers should help keep you focused as you start out and ensure you’re not slipping up with your first steps.
If you need help with your social media marketing efforts, get in touch.