How Your Brand Can Avoid These 5 Social Media Mistakes

Oreo. Starbucks. Dove. Coca-Cola.

Social media envy, anyone?

All of these big brands are known for having a spectacular social media presence. Many of us have read about the plethora of success stories and sometimes the failed (yet brave) risks. But what about the common social media mistakes you don’t often hear about? Here they are, along with how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Building on rented land

Sure, it’s great to build your presence on social media channels, but keep in mind they’re not truly yours. A channel that’s booming today might lose popularity over time. Are you strictly publishing content offsite or sharing other website’s articles? That may be great for engagement, but it’s not so great for strengthening your owned channels. This can only be done through content creation that is housed on your website or blog.

“Generally, you want more of your traffic and more of your customers being driven by Earned and Owned media,” said John Lusk, Founder of Rivet & Sway, in a Huffington Post article. “It’s more authentic, converts at a higher rate, typically represents higher lifetime value, and most importantly, it’s usually much cheaper (lower cost-per-acquisition).”

That being said, a smart social media strategy uses a great deal of non-promotional, unique content from an owned channel, such as a blog or website.

Mistake #2: Trying to be good at everything

It’s easy to get excited about all of the possibilities of social media. With so many channels to use, many brands are tempted to conquer them all. But what do you think is more influential for your company – to be decent on every channel, or to be great on a few? As an agency, we often tell our clients to focus on two or three channels where their target audience is most active, and go after them full force. Chances are, your impact will be much greater.

Mistake #3: Not taking risks

Sure, taking risks means there’s a possibility of failure. But you can’t be innovative if you never take a chance. You also can’t be successful if you’re doing what everyone else is doing – you’ll simply blend in with the crowd. Take risks and make your brand stand out. Remember, you’re competing with the friends and family of your Facebook and Twitter followers for their attention, and you won’t capture it if you’re blending in.

Mistake #4: Ignoring your customers

Not only can big brands use social media as an extension of their customer service, they can also use it to actively listen to their customers. Are you noticing any trends in the topics your customers are complaining or talking about? Use it to improve your advertising, content, products or services. Also, don’t underestimate the power of conversation. Many of the best big brands on social media make a diligent effort to respond to their customers whether it’s a complaint or not. People want to be acknowledged. (See example below, from Dove.)

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Mistake #5: Setting unrealistic goals

Even if you’re a big brand, it’s important to remember the realistic goals of social media. Typically, you shouldn’t expect to see a dramatic jump in leads one month after implementing your new social media strategy. Social media can help with conversions, but increased revenue is not its primary purpose. Make sure you go into your strategy knowing this and set a realistic, trackable goal you can work towards.

Whether you’re a large brand or a small business, don’t freak out if you found yourself saying “oh no, we do that!” while reading the above. It’s never too late to transform those pitfalls into positive change. Who knows, someday other brands might have social media envy over you.

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