5 Social Media Marketing Mistakes You Need to Avoid
By Jeremy Knauff
When I first got into marketing, it was long enough ago that a lot of people said the internet would just be a fad. Several years later, when social media started to become a thing, most people said the same about that. Today, it’s clear how ludicrous those theories were, but there is still a tremendous amount of misinformation about social media.
A lot of people have over- or under-inflated expectations of the results they should anticipate, how much work goes into it and how they should best utilize it. That misinformation hurts them, either directly by doing the wrong things and hurting their brand, or indirectly, by wasting time and money on ineffective strategies and tactics.
I want to help you avoid those costly and time-consuming mistakes so you can build the business you deserve, serve more people and bring more value into the world. So let’s talk about some of the common mistakes people make in social media, how to avoid them and what you should be doing instead so you can maximize your results.
Inconsistent posting activity
A lot of people start off super-motivated about their social media, but that motivation quickly wanes for most.
That mindset is understandable. Entrepreneurs are incredibly busy to begin with, so when you couple that with the fact that many have unrealistic expectations in terms of how long it takes to see results, it’s easy to see why they often stop soon after starting. But most understand the importance of social media, so they keep trying, which leads to a cycle of repeated starting and stopping.
The problem created here is multifaceted. First is the issue of momentum. If you’ve ever had to push a broken-down vehicle before, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s significantly easier to keep it moving than it is to get it moving from a dead stop.
Once you get into a routine with your social media efforts, you’ll find that you start to exponentially increase your results without an exponential increase in work. It will become easier to block out the necessary time, come up with content ideas and engage with followers.
The second issue is audience perception. When customers see you show up inconsistently on social media, with weeks or months in between posts, they will question your consistency in general. On the other hand, when they see you consistently posting valuable content day in and day out, they will assume you are equally consistent in other aspects of your business.
Third are the algorithms that determine what shows up in people’s feeds. When you post consistently, you will “train” the algorithm to show your content to more people more frequently — assuming, of course, that your audience finds it useful. As a result, more people will engage with your content, indicating to the algorithm that it’s valuable and should be shown to even more people. It doesn’t take a genius to see how this can snowball into massive exposure.
Posting off-brand content
It can sometimes seem difficult to come up with enough content to maintain a strong presence on social media. In an effort to fill the gaps, some people choose to post content that, while possibly interesting, informative or entertaining, is disconnected from their brand. This is the equivalent of talking just to talk, and it hurts your brand because it dilutes what your brand is about.
The “rules” vary a bit from platform to platform, and even from brand to brand, but the basic premise is that while it doesn’t necessarily have to always be about your business, everything you post needs to align with your brand’s core values and personality.
A good approach is to select three to five core topics that you’re passionate about as your foundation. For example, my topics include:
Any piece of content I develop for social media is going to fall into one of these categories. You need to take the same approach.
When selecting your topics, it’s important that at least one or two can be connected directly to the products or services you provide through storytelling and analogies, and that each of your three to five topics are tightly ingrained with what your brand stands for.
Generally, one or two will be directly related to what you do for your customers, and the remaining topics will be based on who you are and why you do what you do.
The first group is obvious because it’s what you do. The second group may be less obvious, but often just as (if not more) important, because people typically choose a brand based on whether it aligns with their own values.
Each social network is its own unique environment and what works on one may not work on another, and what’s acceptable on one may turn off customers on another. There could even be unique nuances within a network.
For example, you can typically post things on your personal Facebook profile that, while on brand, may not be ideal for your public-figure page on the same network. And content that works great for Facebook may not be ideal for Instagram or Twitterwithout some substantial reworking.