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6 Most Common Mistakes People Make on Social Media (and how to Avoid Them)

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Mistakes People Make on Social Media

According to 2018 CMO survey, companies are spending 12% of their marketing budget on social media. It is predicted that the social media’s marketing budget share will hit 20.5% in the next five years. 

There is also another interesting number in the report: only 23.3% of marketers who took the survey can prove the impact of social media quantitatively. The rest are either feeling a qualitative impact or are unable to show the impact yet.

While I’m not in the business of lamenting and making accusations, as someone who is working with businesses to improve their content strategy, I see some mistakes people keep making on social media.

These mistakes keep businesses from seeing positive results from their social media marketing and convinces them that social media is not a good marketing channel.

Mistake #1 – They don’t know the buying journey of their customers

First things first, if you don’t know how your customers move from getting to know you to buy from you, you won’t be successful on social media.

Typically, it’s unreasonable to think that once people saw your post on social media, they’re immediately going to do a purchase. There is a distance between the awareness phase and the purchase phase, and you need to identify how to deal with that distance.

What you Should do:

In order to predict and act on your customers’ buying journey, you need to define your customer persona. For doing this, you need to go further than defining demographic features such as age, gender, work, etc. You need to have a good understanding of their behavioral features as well. Their lifestyle, habits, interests, pain points, micro-moments, etc. are more important than you could guess.

The kind of content you produce (textual v.s visual, emotional v.s analytical, etc.), the influencers you reach out to, or on which publications or channels you should get featured, depend a great deal on your audience’s preferences.

In order to predict your customers’ journey, you need to ask the following questions:

  • What are the most common concerns of my customers before buying from me?
  • How will they find the answers to their questions and concerns?
  • Are they analytical or rather emotional and intuitive? Personality types make a huge difference in people’s decision making.
  • Do they tend to do research on mobile devices or PC?
  • Where are the places that my potential customers tend to do their research and find their answers? Is it Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or some influential blogger or influencer?

The best way to find answers to these questions is asking your customers. Using tools such as Google Forms or SurveyMonkey you can easily make beautiful surveys, send them to your email list or social media followers, and get insights from them.

Even if you don’t have an audience, you can use SurveyMonkey’s Audience feature to reach millions of qualified respondents from your market and know their insights.  

Bonus Point:

Providing an incentive for your audience to take the survey is a great way to increase your response rate. Hootsuite’s free plan allows you to start sweepstake campaigns in which a prize is given to a lucky respondent. Here’s the video they provide to explain their sweepstake campaigns.

Mistake #2 – They don’t have clear goals and KPIs

The main reason people are not sure about the impact of social media on their business is that they don’t have clear goals and inevitably they don’t know what to expect from their social media marketing.

You should have some goals you’re willing to achieve and some KPIs (key performance indicators) to track.

Here are some social media marketing goals:

Increasing Awareness:

For many online businesses, increasing awareness is the number one goal of being on social media. The problem is most of the marketers consider increasing awareness as equivalent to increasing sales, and this is basically wrong.

Although raising awareness is the first step in your customers’ journey to buy from you, you cannot increase your sales by getting people to know you.

Let me give you an example. Many individual marketers, especially affiliate marketers, spend a lot of time and money on social media advertising. They pay thousands of dollars to increase the reach of their Facebook posts that promote a direct link to a sales page, hoping that people will buy the product. This is basically what most of the self-proclaimed marketing gurus advise you to do: just drive people to your sales page.

The reality is increasing awareness is only the first goal of your social media marketing plan. That’s because you can’t expect people to purchase just after they got to know you. Typically purchase happens when people have gone a long way from simply knowing you.

Expert marketers would recommend that you form a relationship (e.g. enter them into a sales funnel) with your prospects before expecting them to make any purchases.

What you need to do in the awareness phase instead is clearly define the KPIs you should expect from awareness campaigns. The KPIs for awareness might be the number of likes, shares, followers count, impressions, mentions, profiles visits, etc.

Increase Engagement:

This could be the most important goal of your social media marketing plan. Engagement metrics show a great deal about how much people trust you and how much influence you have on them.

In fact, it is in the engagement phase where you’ll see the most money making results from your social media marketing. If done right, you’ll earn people’s trust and turn them into customers.

Some important KPIs include the number of clicks, sign-ups, downloads, answers, etc.

What you should do:

You need to plan your social media marketing goals beforehand and track the right KPIs. What many people consider the ROI of marketing campaigns might not be applicable to all levels and goals of social media marketing.

When people get to know you or your products on social media for the first time, you can’t encourage them to be engaged with you or even take the final action and purchase. What you need to achieve in the first place is increasing your follower base, the number of profile views or website visitors, the number of mentions, and hopefully the number of leads.

You’ll then need to move to the next level and increase engagement. You can do this by publishing and promoting what your followers or leads are interested in. A blog article, a free giveaway, a how-to video, or an informative infographic could actually do the trick and engage your audience.

Facebook has quite got it right. Before you start your promotion on Facebook, you need to determine what you want to achieve. What you should expect from each one of these campaigns is quite different.

Mistakes People Make on Social Media

Mistake #3 – They’re on the wrong social media network

This happens most often when marketers try to be present in all social media networks. And it basically does not yield the expected results. Each network has its own audience with different demographic and behavioral characteristics. Even people’s expectations from each network are different. A kind of post that could be viral on Facebook might not get any interaction on LinkedIn, and vice versa.

What you should do:

Take some time to study each social media network, the people present on them and what content they expect to see on them. Then decide if it is worth your time and money to be active on a particular network. Here’s a basic description of each network and their audience:

Facebook:

Facebook has 1.86 billion active monthly users, this is the greatest number of users across all social media networks.

One of the greatest Facebook features you can spend some time and money on is Facebook videos. It seems that live videos on Facebook are stealing the spotlight.

An image from Sproutsocial visualizes the characteristics of Facebook users.

Mistakes People Make on Social Media

Twitter:

With nearly 319 million monthly users, Twitter could be a great way to raise people’s awareness about your business. According to Statistia, age distribution across US users on Twitter is as follows:

Instagram:

Boasting to have nearly 600 million users, Instagram attracts 38% of all women active online. According to Pew social media report.

  • 59% of 18– 29-year-olds use Instagram.
  • 33% of 30– 49-year-olds use Instagram.
  • 18% of 50– 64-year-olds use Instagram.
  • 8% of people 65+ use Instagram.

Pinterest:

45% of all women online use Pinterest. This makes it a great source of content for female users.

Mistakes People Make on Social Media

LinkedIn:

The social network for any business-related topics has 106 million users with 31% of online adult men and 27% of online adult women. It’s quite suitable for B2B businesses and long-form educational content.

Mistake #4 – Their Content is not Suitable

Your content determines your identity on social media but many businesses are getting this wrong. If you check out different social media networks, you cannot help but notice that many business owners are posting frequently but not getting any engagement. I see many people with huge follower bases but low content engagement.

Their content falls flat because it is not either suitable for the platform or not engaging enough for the people.

What you should do:

In order to post relevant content for your audience you need to consider different factors:

The goal of your campaigns: Depending on what you want to achieve from your social media campaigns, your content should be different.

Say you’re trying to increase awareness. The KPIs you need to follow here might be the number of followers, profile views, or website visits. Some instances of the content you might want to use to elicit these reactions from people are short videos, free giveaways, courses, interesting and curiosity-evoking blog posts, etc.

Mistakes People Make on Social Media

The kind of content suitable for each phase of the customers’ buying journey by HubSpot.

The network you’re posting on:  Not all content is suitable for every social media platforms”,  Buffer’s blog suggests. In order to get the most results out your social media marketing, you need to consider what works best on each platform.

I suggest you read the whole article on Buffer, but to recap here’s what you need to post on each social media network:

Facebook: Videos and curated content

Instagram: High-res photos, quotes, Stories

Twitter: News, blog posts, and GIFs

LinkedIn: Jobs, company news, and professional content

Pinterest: Infographics and step-by-step photo guides

Google+: Blog posts that you want to rank on Google

Interests and needs of your target audience:

Maybe the most important factor in deciding what to post on social media is your audience’s interests and needs. There are many ways to know how to address your customers’ interests and needs for your social media content. Some of them are:

  • Ask them through polls and questionnaires. It is easy to post polls on social media networks or use Google forms or Typeform to ask your followers what they need and expect from you.
  • Monitor your follower’s activities. You don’t need to spy on your followers, but you can monitor how they engage with your posts. High engagement could signal that whatever you did with that post is working. You need to learn from your well-performing posts and try to replicate them. You can also use social media management tools such as Hootsuite or Buffer to have all the necessary insights about your audience in one dashboard.
  • Monitor your competitor’s engagement:  You have the same audience as your competitors, so it seems a great idea to monitor their social media activities and see what content gets them the most engagement. Social media monitoring tools such as Talkwalker, Mention, or brand24 could be a great help here. Buzzsumo could also show you your competitor’s most shared web pages.

Mistakes People Make on Social Media

Mistake #5 – They’re not Creating Consistent Engagement

We know that there is a distance between when a person gets to know you and when he/she does the purchase. We should also know that this distance should be filled with your content.

Creating consistent engagement with your followers is a necessary step in implementing a good social media campaign. That one-time video or ebook is never going to do the trick for you. Consistency in engaging people from awareness till purchase is what makes you a social media champion.

What you should do:

Create a content calendar or plan and start brainstorming what content you need to post in order to keep your customers engaged on social media. Post content on a regular basis and keep the conversation going with your customers.

Mistake #6 – They’re not adjusting well

It’s one thing to have confidence in what you do, it’s another to be bull-headed and repeat the same old mistakes. As Sam Ovens explains only practice makes you self confident. Digital makes it possible to monitor how exactly your campaign has worked and decide on what to do next. It no longer makes any sense to repeat the same old mistake over and over again. Once you have clear goals and KPIs for your social media marketing, you can start analyzing what enhances the results and what hurts them.

What you should do:

If a kind of content is not resonating with your audience, stop posting it. Instead, try to figure out what’s working by checking out the social media reports or using social media analytics tools such as Buffer.

Be quick to change for better if you see drops in your numbers, and always take your audience’s sentiments seriously. Take time to clearly set your goals and KPIs for doing social media marketing and start monitoring them.

Conclusion

Social media marketing could be your best growth strategy. From increasing awareness to increasing sales and producing brand evangelists, social media is your go-to place.

All you need to do is avoid these 6 most common mistakes people keep making on social media:

  1. Not researching your customers’ buying cycle
  2. Not having clear marketing goals and KPIs (key performance indicators)
  3. Being on the wrong social media network
  4. Posting unsuitable content
  5. Not creating consistent engagement
  6. Not adjusting well
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Mostafa Dastras
Mostafa Dastras is a freelance writer helping businesses increase sales with no BS content marketing. Visit his blog, LiveaBusinessLife.com
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