8 Social Media Mistakes That Will Cost You Money
We live in an age where your business is practically non-existent if it doesn’t have a strong social media presence. That being said, social media can be your marketing friend or your worst enemy.
See, it’s not enough to just create an account on Instagram (which has, by the way, over 500 million visitors each day – think about that for a second). An effective business owner needs to understand how to use social media to their advantage, how to get 100% and maximize engagement and outreach.
There are plenty of social media marketing guides and blogs on the Internet and you can follow each and every one of those and still have nothing to show for it. There are loads of greats business pages on Facebook, for example, with great content, but only a handful of followers.
Most often, it’s because they’ve made one of the eight most common marketing mistakes:
- Not creating a plan;
- Not knowing your audience;
- Using the wrong tone;
- Not paying attention to hashtags;
- Not engaging in the comments’ section;
- Falling for a ‘Buy Followers’ scheme;
- Running away from “bad” comments;
- Creating dull content.
You want to avoid those in order to achieve best results, so let’s have a closer look at what these mistakes are:
1. Not Creating a Plan
We know, we know, you’re not a social media mastermind. How are you supposed to come up with a great big plan?
It’s much easier to just follow some random guide or post whatever comes to mind. But the sad truth is, that’s not going to get you noticed. You need to determine your goals, what your final destination is on this social media marketing journey – what are you looking to get?
Once you’ve established that, you need to ask yourself ‘okay, how do I get that?’.
And always, when posting new content, first ask yourself ‘will this get me closer to that goal?’ and ‘does this go with my other posts’?
If one big goal is too much for you, you can break it into smaller goals, like – where do you want to be a week from now?
But remember, it’s vital that you have a plan, otherwise you’re just wasting your time and we don’t want that. You can check out our consultation service if you need a hand in coming up with a plan.
2. Not knowing your audience
This is an incredibly popular mistake that businesses make – they either don’t identify their target audience correctly or they don’t understand it.
The first question you need to ask yourself is – who am I talking to?
If you’re marketing a product – who is the ideal customer for my product? What age group or type or person, in general, is most likely to use it?
A sporty type and a classy type aren’t likely to go for the same marketing technique, so it’s important that you know which one you’re talking to (and how to do it).
Don’t simplify your customers.
The majority of Instagram users are somewhere in their teens or twenties. Millenials – entitled little kids with no sense of culture. If that’s the approach you’re going to use, you can be sure your business is not going to sell.
Try to understand your customers – what do they like? What don’t they like? What are their favorite pass-times? Post a picture of that that in some way connects to your product – make them relate to you.
3. Using the wrong tone
You’re probably used to managing your private social media account – there, you can say whatever (well, within the limits of decency) and communicate how you like.
When running a business account, however, it’s important that you settle on a ‘brand tone’ early on in the campaign. Once you’re successfully identified your target audience, this shouldn’t be too difficult.
Your ‘voice’ needs to be relatable, though not offensive or annoying, otherwise they’ll unfollow you.
Many businesses make the mistake of sounding official. You’re not trying to tide over a deal in the business meetings. You’re trying to connect with everyday people, so use everyday, easy and relatable language.
However, don’t be too casual in your posts. After all, it’s not you and your pals going out for beers. Don’t be offensive, racist or sexist. In fact, try to stay away from content that might offend any potential customer, like this one:
Use a light and friendly tone of voice, but also one that’s professional and appealing.
A great idea would be to use an app, such as the Hemingway Editor (or Grammarly) to make sure your sentences aren’t too long or have any extra, irrelevant words. These might make your customers lose focus.
Also, pay attention to how your followers react to the tone of your posts – are you getting a lot of engagement or is it a dead zone? If so, figure out what the matter is and adapt.
In your social media marketing journey, you are constantly learning.
4. Not paying attention to hashtags
Hashtags are a surefire way to attract new followers on Twitter and Instagram. However, you want to make sure you’re using the right hashtags.
First of all, identify what your post is about and use relevant hashtags. But don’t overdo it. If you’re posting about a bag, for example, you don’t need to use three separate hashtags (such as #bag, #bags and #mybag). Social media websites don’t take kindly to this – it’s considered spamming and it might actually work against you, as it won’t pop up in as many feeds.
Second, check out what hashtags are trending – what’s everyone talking about? And can you talk about it too, so that other people can notice you?
However, don’t try to bank on a tragedy (such as a celebrity’s death or an earthquake) and try to use it to sell your product. People don’t like that. Instead, post a heartwarming tribute to that person, a message of hope to those affected, like this Bowie tribute from Crocs Shoes:
Show you care.
Also, try out different relevant hashtags and see which are the most popular. Out of #bag, #bags and #mybag, which one has the biggest follower count on Instagram?
One last detail to remember about hashtags is to diversify. You’ll probably post similar content each day. However, using the same set of ten hashtags daily will again lead to the platform’s algorithms classifying you as spam and not show you to as many users. Try to switch it up as often as possible.
5. Not engaging in the comments’ section
Social media algorithms pay attention to comments especially. They like to see you engaging with your followers (and your followers like that, too, so it’s a double-win).
It shows that you’re an engaging business that is active in the community.
Algorithms don’t care about your products or about you getting customers – they want to make sure they recommend nice pages that people will like interacting with, so make sure you don’t ignore your comments.
Be friendly. Strike up a conversation.
6. Falling for a ‘Buy Followers’ Scheme
We’ve all seen them – those websites (or even those sneaky emails) that promise you hundreds and thousands of social media followers for only a few bucks each month.
And we know how tempting it can be – after months and months of being on Instagram and seeing no results, a few bucks really isn’t that much, is it?
You know why? First of all, because buying followers goes against the rules, both for Facebook and for Instagram – they have algorithms especially built to detect these accounts.
Second, a good social media post spreads, as it were, by word of mouth. Facebook’s algorithms look at it, see it has lots of likes and comments and say ‘hey, what a good post, let’s promote it’. Bought followers won’t like or comment on your posts – they don’t care about your content. And so, your posts gets drowned in a sea of other posts and doesn’t reach your real customers.
Facebook has, in the past, actually deleted billions of fake accounts. Imagine how that felt for the business owners who had paid for their likes – to see their follower count drop from a few thousand to a few hundred overnight?
Bottom line is, you’re looking to attract customers, real people that will buy whatever you’re promoting. And real people shouldn’t be payed to like your content, they should do so willingly.
7. Running away from ‘bad’ comments
Social media is notorious for its’ trolls and its’ negativity. It’s customary, one might say, for a business to get the occasional mean comment. And your first reaction, when this happens to your business, is to delete that comment. Block the user – run away!
But that’s actually the worst move you could possibly do. See, chances are people have already seen the comment and if they notice you’ve deleted it, they’ll think you have something to hide or are, in general, a bad sport.
First, decide whether the comment can be taken as helpful critique or is just being nasty. If it’s the latter, then just ignore it, don’t engage with it, but don’t delete it either. You don’t mind trolls.
If it’s a genuine complaint or critique, address it politely and professionally. Thank them for noticing. Show people that your top business priority is improvement.
8. Creating dull content
This one sounds self-evident, yet a lot of businesses make this mistake. In an attempt not to offend or get in trouble, they post dull, uninspiring content that just gets lost in the millions of daily social media posts.
So, put some thought into it. Don’t post the same thing everyday. Be excited in your descriptions – if you don’t care about your content, nobody else will. Remember to joke. We know we said ‘don’t offend’ anyone, but that doesn’t mean lacking a sense of humor.
And the best way to break into the social media world is to let other creators inspire you. Once you know your target audience, look for popular pages that are similar to yours – what do these people post? Chances are, if your target audience liked it today, they will like it tomorrow as well.
Naturally, don’t post the exact same thing, that’s stealing. Post something… in the same range, that will appeal to the same bunch of people.
And sure, you’ll make mistakes – who doesn’t? You’ll have posts that will get very little engagement. You’ll get reported or receive negative comments. You’ll lose followers. These things happen and are natural on the way to success. Don’t let them discourage you!