In Salesforce’s third annual State of Marketing report, released at the end of March, more than 4,000 marketers around the world sounded off on what they see as the biggest opportunity to affect ROI in their business. The big surprise? 82% of marketers report social media marketing as core to their business. Yes, core. Nearly 75% report measuring ROI, up from just 28% in the previous years report. That’s a huge shift year over year in the efficacy of the social media channel. I was struck, looking back over the past decade of maturation of social media marketing. It’s amazing to see it starting to take a position as a pillar in the marketing mix. Still, many marketers continue making social media marketing mistakes, sabotaging their results and ability to drive ROI.
Depending on the industry, you may feel like you’re wondering if anyone is even listening to you on your channels. Financial services for example, while having some wins, still struggles to make the leap from likes to metrics that matter.
When working with clients, audits of existing efforts always deliver a similar set of results. Seven symptoms emerge as common social media marketing mistakes that individual, or together add up to a lackluster social media effort. However, these seven signs are easy to fix and also offer quick turnarounds to the impact social media has on overall marketing and goals. With a simple course correction, you’ll quickly be part of the 82% reported by Salesforce seeing positive ROI.
Social Media Marketing Mistakes To Avoid
1.) You Have No Plan
Things don’t jut “happen”. Social media ROI is at the top of the list. Your business must plan its work and work its plan. If you can’t answer the question “why are we on social media (or why do we want to be)” then back the truck up.
Your business must plan to make social media useful, and that starts with answering why. If you can’t respond to the question “why are we on social media (or why do we want to be)” then back the truck up.
Social media because everyone is doing it or someone went to a conference isn’t an answer. Social media needs to emanate from a business objective and support overall goals. It should be a natural extension, an organic and logical fit, not a forced tactic because everyone around is doing it.
If you’re planning just to squat a page or post a bunch of random links, especially links that only talk about your products, don’t bother. Seriously. You won’t see any measurable value out of it, and it will consume precious time from your already busy schedule.
However, if your business has sales goals, wants to drive leads or wants to enhance its brand or position in the community, then read on.
2.) You Measure The Wrong Things
Size doesn’t matter. Sorry. I don’t care how big your follower count is.
Vanity metrics are irrelevant and usually the result of mistake #1, not having a plan. However, once you get a plan in place, you’ll better understand what you should measure.
Emarketer recently found that most SMBs measure social media success by the number of views their content gets. While reach is an important metric, to start measuring and optimizing ROI we need to get closer to a success event, a sale, referral or lead.
The result is a shift to tracking how your social traffic acts as a referral source for online events like cart checkouts or form submissions as an example.
The only way you can stop making this social media marketing mistake is to get a plan in place, aligned with business goals, so you have something that matters to measure.
3.) Your Engagement Sucks
If a mention happens and there is no response, did it happen?
If you’re venturing into social media, be prepared to engage, for better or worse. The premise behind social media is that there is a channel opened between customers, community, and your organization.
This conversation rewards you with a growing, thriving social community which drives more success events (now being measured because we’ve fixed mistakes #1 & #2).
If your engagement is lackluster, the health of the community will suffer and the other benefits of social media, like viral lift, will be non-existent.
Make sure you have the resources to engage or find a resource to facilitate. If you start a snowball down a hill, and no one is around to pick it up and start building a snowman, it’s just going topics up speed, hit a tree and crush into pieces, right?
Same with social media. If you start the process of reaching out, and people start to engage you, but you don’t engage back, the house of cards will fall apart fast.
4.) You don’t know your audience
Not having a clear understanding of your core audienc, the content they consume or the places they hang out online is going to set you up for big problems.
You’ll chase every platform that pops up (see #5 below) your content won’t have purpose and when you start using advertising (see #6) you’ll be burning cash.
Instead, make a matrix with you highest value personas. What platforms do they use, for what purposes and what kind of content?
For example, you may discover that a persona leverage Yelp when picking restaurants or hotels. But hold on Ryan!! We’re not a travel company you say. That’s finnnnne.
What you do know is that your persona takes reviews seriously when making decisions so that informs a content type.
Elsewhere you learn that LinkedIn is the best channel to engage them on.
So, you know the channel and what kind of high value content to share – social proof.
5.) You Have Platform Overload
Having 20 social media icons in the footer of your site is only forward thinking if you’re active on each one. The businesses that are the most successful are also the most frugal.
Stop making the mistake of thinking you need to be on every platform that pops up.
Because a social network exists, does not mean you have to be on it. Less is often more. Period.
6.) You Don’t Use Social Media Advertising
Not setting aside, even a small budget, for paid social advertising is a big no-no.
Once we knock out the other mistakes already mentioned, leveraging the targeting capabilities of social advertising is gasoline to an ROI fire.
Regardless of what your objectives are on social media, a small paid budget is one way to ensure that your content 1.) Reaches your following and 2.) targets lookalike audiences, those similar to followers who already engage with you.
If you have an email list, this is also a quick way to give your social media following a “quality follower count boost” leveraging custom audiences.
Additionally, social regathering can provide a cost effective way to drive incremental inversions for the bottom of your funnel and bring your ROI over the finish line.
7.) Your Social Media Content Is The Same Across Platforms
The last social media marketing mistake that’s killing your ROI potential is treating every platform like its the same.
I get it; there’s only so many hours in the day.
That’s why we don’t recommend hopping on every platform in existence – focus your efforts and make a splash.
Similarly, tap into some of the unique attributes of each platform, knowing that certain rich media perform well on Facebook and images drive Twitter & Instagram.
Leveraging each platform for its undue was gives your social following unique ways to engage with each piece of content and ultimately you driving more value and higher incremental opportunity resulting in ROI gains.
The Good News
The opposite of the seven social media marketing mistakes listed above create the foundation of a healthy, ROI focused, social media marketing strategy. Keep your plan focused on
- Business goal alignment
- Be consistent in your use and engagement.
- Measure and optimize your efforts.
and you’re on your way to reporting positive results from social media marketing.