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No matter which social media platform you use to market your company, products, or services, your marketing strategy should consist of one primary goal – to drive traffic to your website or landing pages. This remains true whether you use one social media network or all of them. You are trying to get users and potential consumers to notice what you are selling and follow your trail of breadcrumbs straight into your sales funnel.

Because so many people today are using social media to develop their first impressions of companies and their offerings, it is essential that you have a strong social media presence with which to attract interest, build a community of loyal followers, and strengthen relationships with your target audience.

You should already know dozens of ways you can use social media to do all those things and entice users to visit your website or landing pages. What you might not know is that there are plenty of things you could be doing wrong with your social media marketing efforts. Here are seventeen social media marketing mistakes that can cause your online presence to turn into a digital ghost town.

1. Not knowing who your audience is.

While you may have a specific audience in mind when it comes to making your pitch, this doesn’t mean you know who they are. Part of knowing your audience is understanding what motivates them to become paying customers.

2. Not knowing who you are.

A sleek and sophisticated corporate image is great, but not when you are trying to win friends and influence people on social media. The key word in social media is “social,” so you need to loosen your tie, let your hair down, and let people see the personality beneath the professional polish. Some of the most popular brands today have gained a large percentage of their online following simply by showing some wit, sarcasm, or just plain gut-busting humour in their marketing messages.

3. Choosing the wrong social networks for the right messages.

Your perfect marketing blitz may generate very little buzz if you are using the wrong social media networks. Each social network has a user base that is, for the most part, specific to that network. To make a marketing campaign work for a certain audience, you need to know which network occupies the bulk of your audience’s time.

4. Thinking that you don’t need social media to successfully market your company, products, or services online.

Everyone from 8 to 80 is using social media for a variety of activities, and you simply cannot let that marketing opportunity pass you by. Consumers don’t just use social networks to play Words With Friends and chat with their besties about what the Kardashians are doing – they also use it to find out more about companies before they decide to give them their business. If they can’t find you on social media, they most likely won’t buy from you.

5. Neglecting to implement a social media policy.

Some people will say anything, and when they do it on social media, it might as well be written in stone (and engraved on your marketing headstone). Before putting your social media reputation in potential jeopardy, make sure you develop a solid social media policy that defines what is and is not permissible in terms of acceptable content.

6. Using too many social networks for your marketing campaigns.

While your target audience may be spread over a few different social networks, you should restrict your campaigns to those on which your marketing material will have the biggest impact. If you try to cover all the bases and put marketing content on as many social networks as possible, it’s very likely that all your campaigns will suffer in some way.

7. Showing off your sales pitch.

Your sales pitch may be so amazing that people can’t resist buying whatever you are offering, but no one wants to see it on social media (no, really, they don’t want to see it). Rather than trying to get people interested in what you are selling, get them interested in you. Many consumer decisions are based on impressions of the company itself, rather than the products or services it is offering. Leave the sales pitch at the door and use social interaction to engage your audience.

8. Posting the same old stuff over and over.

The sky is the limit in terms of how you can use social media to boost interest in your company, products, or services, but you won’t impress anyone with a constant stream of one-line wonders in your social feed. Diversify your content with images, videos, articles, blogs, and more.

9. Looking for “get rich quick” returns on your social media investments.

Everything does move faster on the information highway, but expecting to immediately go from “nowhere” to “now here” spells doom from the start. Goal attainment is measured in milestones, not finish lines, so plan for long-term campaigns to achieve long-term success.

10. Sitting on the sidelines.

Social media is not a spectator sport, and you cannot get noticed if you spend all your time warming the bench instead of getting into the game. Consumers want to know you are actively engaged and interested in their wants and needs. You can demonstrate this by regularly posting, liking, sharing, responding, and participating as part of your social media community.

11. Failing to deal with negative feedback in a positive or effective way.

When someone criticizes your company, products, or services on social media, how do you react? With a cold shoulder, a weak apology, or an aggressive counter-attack? Those are the worst possible ways to handle criticism from your users and consumers.

If a user takes the time to let you know they were displeased in some way with something you are offering, take their comments seriously and respond promptly and professionally. Most of the time, consumers just want to know they have been heard rather than ignored, so boost your business reputation and strengthen consumer engagement by dealing with negative feedback in a positive way.

12. Believing that “if you build it, they will come” works for social media.

Simply creating a profile or page and then forgetting it’s there is definitely not the right way to use social media networks to build your brand, increase traffic to your website, generate leads, or develop a fan base or loyal following. It might work for a cornfield in Iowa, but it doesn’t work for social media marketing.

13. Picking the wrong person for the social media marketing job (or not picking anyone at all).

A properly developed and implemented social media marketing strategy requires an investment of time and effort, and you should have a dedicated social media specialist or team to handle that investment. Adding social media tasks to the workload of others only drops productivity all the way around.

14. Not using an analytics tool to measure social media marketing performance.

Your list of goals looks great on the whiteboard, but it isn’t doing you any good if you have no idea what is working and what isn’t in terms of social media marketing content.

Analytics tools can provide you with invaluable insights into the performance of your marketing messages and let you know what works best (and where), and what could use a bit of refinement or should be scrapped altogether.

15. Collecting followers instead of cultivating a community.

Thousands of followers do not a single customer make. The impact of your social media marketing efforts should never be measured by the number of fans you have, but by the actions they take when presented with your marketing material. Are they just liking it, sharing it, and moving on – or do they follow it into your sales funnel?

16. Not using the tools provided by the social networks themselves to reach your target audience.

Most of the popular social media networks offer a variety of tools for advertisers that help them put their marketing messages in front of the people who need to see it. Spend some time getting familiar with what is offered by your selected social networks, like targeted or timed messages, sponsored advertisements, and other options, and make them work for you.

17. Not having a well-defined and well-developed social media marketing strategy.

A core component of your strategy should be a list of goals (increase traffic, heighten brand awareness, attain fans and followers) and a plan for how to achieve those goals and definitive measurements for knowing when you’ve reached them. Without a strategy to help keep your social marketing efforts on the right track, your messages can easily get drowned out by your competitors.

Social media is not a fad, it’s not the future, and it isn’t going away, so it is time you evaluate your company’s marketing strategies to make sure you are using social media in the most positive, productive, and profitable way possible. Implement a strategy if you don’t have one, revamp your existing one if you do, and – above all else – avoid making these mistakes that can cripple your efforts.

For tips, ideas and advice on digital marketing, website design and social media management you can request access to our closed Facebook group: Paradox Studios TT – Digital Academy.

Isaac Ovid

About Isaac Ovid

Isaac Ovid is a Marketing Consultant & Digital Strategist with a focus on graphic design, website design, social media management, lead generation, digital campaigns, sales funnels, app development and digital marketing training. He crafts innovative digital marketing solutions for clients worldwide.