10 Common Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid When Promoting Your Business

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With its ability to reach nearly 3 billion people globally, social media is an effective platform on which to promote your business. By posting content and engaging with users on social media, you'll attract more customers to your business. To succeed with social media marketing, though, you'll need to avoid the following mistakes.

1. Buying Followers

Acquire followers to your social media accounts naturally and organically; don't pay for them. Buying 10,000 followers to your Facebook Page or Twitter profile for $20 may sound like an inexpensive way to jump-start your social media marketing efforts, but it will likely backfire. The social media network could remove the paid followers, and search engines could lower the rankings of your business's website if it's linked to your social media account with the paid followers. Bottom line "don’t do it". A fake follower will never buy from you.

2. Only Using Facebook

Facebook may have the largest audience, with over 2.3 billion monthly active users worldwide, however, you should use other social media networks to promote your business. Not everyone uses Facebook. Some people prefer other social media networks on which to communicate with friends, family, and businesses. If you only promote your business on Facebook, you won't be able to reach these users.

Other social media networks to consider for your marketing strategy include:
• Twitter
• Instagram
• Pinterest
• LinkedIn
• Snapchat
• We Chat

3. Using Too Many Hashtags

Another common social media marketing mistake to avoid is using too many hashtags. Some business owners believe adding more hashtags to a post will increase the number of users whom that post reaches. Hashtags can certainly help you reach more users with your posts, but you should use them sparingly. Adding a half-dozen or more hashtags will only make your posts look spammy, which may compel users to stop following your business. To maintain a credible image for your business, use no more than two hashtags per post and use the rest in the first comment.

4. Too Many Commercially Driven Posts

Publishing too many commercially driven posts may discourage users from following and engaging with your business on social media. Users don't want to be bombarded with ads and promotions while browsing social media. Therefore, you should share both commercial and non-commercial posts. A good rule of thumb is using the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent value, education and inspiration and twenty percent promotional. Another way to look at it is to share one commercial post for every four promotional posts.

5. Publishing All Content Manually

During the early stages of your social media marketing efforts, you can publish content manually. As your business's presence expands to multiple social media networks and begins to attract a large following, however, you should automate this task using a social media management tool like Buffer, HootSuite or Social Sprout.

6. Focusing on Text Content

Don't focus your social media posts strictly on text content. Most social media networks support text, but research shows visual content performs better. According to HubSpot, images shared on Facebook generate over twice as many likes, comments, and shares than text-only posts. HubSpot also says tweets with images generate more tweets than text-only tweets. By publishing more images and videos and fewer text-only posts, you'll foster a more engaged audience of followers on social media.

7. Not Responding to Comments and Direct Messages

A successful social media marketing strategy requires more than just creating and publishing high-quality content. When you begin to attract traffic and followers to your social media accounts, you'll need to respond to user comments and direct messages. Maybe a user wants to know if your business sells a specific product, or perhaps a user simply wants to share his or her experience with your business. Neglecting to respond to user comments and direct messages projects the message that your business doesn't care about its customers and potential customers. Try to respond to all direct messages, assuming they aren't spam and most user comments.

8. Not Having a Plan

Give your business the best chance at realising returns on time and investment into social media marketing to avoid a common mistake business make. Following a planned strategic approach to your content and social media posts can maximise opportunities. Like the old saying goes, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and unfortunately for many businesses the absence of a social media strategy is still very common.

Our mantra in producing a strategy is Research, Plan, Create, Communicate, Analyse and Manage.

9. Not Tracking Performance Metrics

When you're busy creating content and responding to user comments, you may forget to track performance metrics for your social media marketing strategy. As a result, you won't know which tactics work and which ones don't. On Twitter, you can access engagement metrics by clicking your profile icon and choosing "Analytics." Twitter will then display a 28-day summary of your total tweets, tweet impressions, profile visits, and follower count. For summaries from an earlier month, simply scroll down this page.

On Facebook, you can access performance metrics by clicking the "Insights" tab at the top of your business's Page. Facebook Insights is even more robust than Twitter's analytics tool, revealing a wide range of performance and engagement metrics associated with your business's Facebook marketing activities.

10. Overlooking Paid Advertising

All leading social media networks feature paid advertising, which you can use to further grow your business's presence on the respective network. While relying on free methods of social media marketing may sound like a cost-effective way to promote your business, you won't reach as many users as you would with paid ads. Facebook's organic reach, for example, has declined in recent years, with the average user seeing significantly fewer non-paid posts in his or her News Feed. By purchasing ad inventory on Facebook Ads, your posts will reach more users.

In addition to Facebook Ads, advertising services are offered by Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat and Pinterest. For ads on Instagram, you'll need to use Facebook Ads since the social media network is owned by Facebook.

Don't let your business's social media marketing strategy suffer because of these mistakes. While some of these mistakes may sound minor, they can all adversely affect your marketing efforts and, therefore, your business's success.

Despina is a passionate digital marketer, social media maestro and tourism professional. With over 15 years working and growing small businesses she started her own boutique training business, Institute of Excellence with the intention to ignite excellence in business and people. As a Certified Victorian Tourism eKit Trainer, business coach, author and digital marketing professional, Despina is a passionate advocate for growing small business through shared experiences because every business has a very special gift, YOU!

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