Since social media marketing is something which anybody can do (and for free too) there are a lot of people out there doing it wrong. Despite what many businesses think — it’s not something to just hand off to the youngest member of staff and forget about. For a business, a bad experience on social media can spell a PR and customer relationship nightmare, and there are certain unwritten rules you need to follow. So read on to find out the worst of social media advice out there right now, and how you can avoid falling for them. As a business, you don’t want to waste your time (and money) doing the wrong things! (And check out our top three social media marketing mistakes while you are at it).
“Sell, sell, sell!”
One of the largest social media misconceptions, and the absolute worst piece of advice that you could give to a new social media marketer, is that these platforms are made specifically for you to sell from.
You see a lot of small businesses (usually with a tellingly low number of followers) who are just posting advertisement after advertisement. “Check out these new jeans!” and “Don’t forget to pick up one of our DVDs today!” or “We’ve got the best prices on the internet!” If this is all you’re doing, it won’t work at all. This makes you sound needy, desperate, and plain old boring.
Social media is not like magazines or television where the adverts are there for the consumer to see no matter what. Social media users choose which pages to follow, and they will only follow businesses who are providing them with content they enjoy. Whether it’s content curation, humor, giveaways, advice, or storytelling — focus on what you’re saying, rather than what you’re getting.
Of course, it is important to advertise and you need to get ROI from social, but promotional posts should come in-between things which are useful and engaging for your customers.
Even if you mainly sell through social, or it’s your main source of referral traffic, you can’t approach social media management like a purely sales-oriented or promotional tool. Social media is a vehicle for ideas and content, not a place for you to broadcast your latest offers. (And people do bite back — so be careful what you say and share. Even your own personal account can be linked with your business).
Whether it’s content curation, humor, giveaways, advice, or storytelling — focus on what you’re saying, rather than what you’re getting.
“Social media marketing success is impossible to monitor and you shouldn’t try to do so.”
There are many businesses who don’t do anything to monitor their efforts on social media. Presumably, they don’t think it’s important and would advise others not to invest time in it. But the thing is, if you’re not analysing your social media metrics or setting key performance indicators, you have no way of knowing whether or not you’re getting ROI from your efforts.
Maybe you’ve made a funny graphic that is relevant to your audience and found an appropriate way to link to your site in the text, and it gets hundreds of likes (which for you, is a lot) so that’s been a success, right? Well, it could have been, but how do you really know? How many people came to the site? How many actually liked it? What does that mean for your conversions, bottom line, and brand consideration? You may need to start with some basic market segmentation — you can’t always track your entire audience in one go.
There are lots of different ways to monitor your social media marketing and it doesn’t have to cost you a thing — you just have to make a commitment to measure, and all else will follow!
Here are three handy suggestions:
- Bit.ly: This is a URL shortening tool (handy for Twitter’s character limit) and allows you to see how many people have clicked on your link. The click-throughs are a nice and easy way of measuring success in terms of referrals (and you can then also investigate dwell time and conversions).
- Customised URLs: add “?social” to links you share on your social media pages. Then when you look at your Google Analytics, you will be able to see when people have come through from social media — it’s a great way to track specific campaigns too (handy for seasonal traffic).
- Voucher Codes: This one is great for multichannel ecommerce businesses — offer special voucher codes which are only available via your social media feeds. If you tie a code to each social media campaign, the number of times each one is used will be an indicator of the campaign’s success.
The main thing you need to do to monitor social media is agree on the KPIs you are going to track, which should be a mix of follower count, engagement metrics, brand consideration, SEO and customer value. Add anything else to the mix that makes sense for your business.
“Just spend five minutes on it at the end of the day.”
Social media marketing is not something you’ll ever get a real return on if you just dedicate a few minutes to it at the end of each day. A lot of people underestimate its value and don’t invest enough time in social media. If you don’t invest much time in social media, you won’t get much out of it. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Quite honestly, social media marketing for your business could be somebody’s full-time job. I appreciate that social media is not going to be high on the list of priorities for a new startup, but if you’re not spending much time on it, you can’t expect to get a big return.
When you’re thinking up posts for multiple social accounts, creating graphics to share, responding to comments/messages, and writing your own content, you can easily fill an entire day. Here are a couple of tools which can help to make this mammoth task more manageable:
- TweetDeck: A tool offered by Twitter to help you manage multiple Twitter accounts. You can use it to see all messages and tweets directed at you, while also keeping an eye on what competitors and other significant accounts are doing.
- HootSuite: HootSuite is a little like a premium TweetDeck. Not only can you use it as a control hub for multiple Twitter accounts, but also Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms too. Constantly switching between sites is such a drain on your time and using HootSuite could make a real difference.
- Feedly: A content curation tool which can help you to find stuff worth sharing on your social media platforms. Alternatively, it could give you ideas for things to cover in your own content.
A week for a social media marketer with good time management skills might look like this:
- Monday: Checking Feedly, then scheduling posts for every day of the week.
- Tuesday to Thursday: Responding to customers and producing context sensitive posts (based on the latest trends.)
- Friday: Creating graphics to share throughout the following week.
Obviously, everyone does things a bit differently, but this illustrates that it really is a full-time job. You’ll find huge guides online dedicated to single platforms. You will achieve nothing with only five minutes — consider outsourcing or hiring someone part-time if you need to. There are plenty of agencies and freelance social media managers out there!
There’s a lot of misinformation floating around about social media marketing, but when done right it can be HUGELY effective. Think of it this way: customers think of adverts as pills which they don’t want to swallow — with your social media account you’re giving them a glass of water to drink so that they don’t even realise that they’re swallowing those magical marketing pills.
What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given about social media?