Social media use continues to proliferate with billions the world over now using social media. This has obviously led to businesses also leveraging on social media to occupy market spaces. Locally, the use of social media by businesses for marketing purposes is steadily gaining traction. The inescapable reality is that for most people starting out in the social media marketing arena they still have lots to learn. Thus, mistakes of commission or omission are inevitable. Social media is a rapidly changing environment and it requires one to constantly be reading & studying about it. Here I discuss some mistakes that one should avoid in social media marketing.

Lack of Proper Planning

In principle any undertaking requires planning prior to commencement. Social media marketing is no exception; you must come up with a well-thought out social media marketing plan. Many people don’t take this seriously thinking that it suffices to just create a social media profile or website & start marketing products or services without necessarily planning beforehand. Why is planning important? You get to be strategic in your approach i.e. who’s your target, what’s your content, which platform to use, what are your KPIs (key performance indicators) etc. This will make it easy to monitor & evaluate because you’ll be having a reference point which is your plan.

Poor Knowledge of Platform Functionality

There are many social media platforms such Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. The functions & features differ from site to site and thus it’s important to study about the various social media platforms. Don’t assume that what you probably already know about a platform is all there is to it; you’ll be shocked to discover there is more you don’t know. So don’t make the mistake of having limited knowledge of all a platform is, otherwise you will miss out on many aspects of a platform that are key to your campaigns.

Using Only One Platform

Platforms are diverse & therefore using only one platform might not be in your best interest. Here is the thing the diversity of platforms implies that people who are on, for instance, Facebook might not be on LinkedIn. Or the same person may look for two different things on two different platforms. Marketing’s core thrust is to reach as many people as possible and thus being on one platform won’t serve you well in that regard. The other thing is that some key features or functions central to your campaigns might be on one platform and not on another and conversely. Thus being on several platforms will enhance the strengths and neutralize the limitations from one platform to another.

Oblivious of Analytics

When it comes to assessing the performance of your social marketing efforts analytics are the Holy Grail. These are in-depth data sets on the behaviours & demographics of people who visit your sites. Sadly most people just focus on likes, views, comments & shares and that’s it. They don’t utilize the many built-in mechanisms in social media platforms that avail you important data on those visiting your site.

Lack of Clarity, Uniformity & Consistency

Here I am referring to aspects such as profiles & content. When on several platforms you must ensure your profile images, profile titles etc are uniform for all your platforms. This makes it easy for people to search for and locate you. Profile details across platforms must clearly communicate your brand. The message you put across in your posts must reflect a consistent message across all platforms. The mistake some do is to use different profile images, titles etc from platform to platform.

Measuring Campaigns Incorrectly

This is easily remedied by effectively using the analytics I pointed out earlier. Most people get deluded by seeing so many likes and misconstrue that as the sole means to measure how successful your campaign was. The question is how many ended up making purchases; conversion is the most important expected end result for any marketing initiative. Therefore, objectively measure success by looking at the right metrics.

Regarding People as Objects

There is a common tendency by social media marketers to be overly obsessed about their brand and marketing efforts, so much that they forget about the humanity of their target market. It’s very easy to start regarding people as just objects who have to heed your call and buy from you. This is mostly caused by the virtual (non-physical) nature of interactions that characterize social media. When people see this they can shy away from associating themselves with your brand. Give people their rightful place; make it evident that you value them as human beings even though they can be miles away.

Focusing Only On Freebies

Well, it’s true that trying to limit costs is noble and that is even made easier by that most platforms like Facebook, Instagram etc allow you to create pages for free and hit the ground. However, if you are to make in-roads you must pay for sponsored posts. Sponsored posts allow you to target and send posts to a wider reach of people and also get you the opportunity to get detailed analytics.

Poor Response Rates

Engagement & dialogue is important in social media marketing. You need to respond to user comments & you must do that timeously; don’t ignore user comments like most do. You must be in constant communication with people visiting your site.

Giving Too Much Attention To Negative Comments

Negative comments are inevitable but giving them too much attention can amplify them out of proportion and hurt your brand. Some you can respond to but not all the time should you respond. Remember that whatever you give significant attention to grows.

These are the biggest mistakes we see in social media marketing; this isn’t an exhaustive walk through. The most important thing to do is to boost your knowledge on social media marketing. There are a lot of online resources that you can imbibe on to acquire lots of knowledge. Most mistakes are done as mistakes of omission and that happens due to lack of knowledge.