LearnAre You Making These 8 Foolish Social Media Mistakes?


Eric Siu
writes on September 6, 2012

So you’re building a new business and you’ve decided that social media is something you need to tackle to grow. After you read a few social media articles, you flex and rush into social media but… nothing. No traction.

What happened?

Using social media marketing gets your company involved earlier in the buying process, educates prospective customers, and, when done correctly, generates high quality leads. When you make some of the mistakes noted in this blog post, you will miss out on these leads or, even worse, your embarrassing slip up could spread throughout your network.

Here are eight common social media mistakes mistakes that are getting in the way of your social media success and how to address them.

1. Ignoring your social reach

If you work in an industry with a high sale price, you can find yourself ignoring the reach of your social network to focus only on your immediate connections. This kind of thinking means you will miss out on the potential impact of your content spreading through your connections to the people in their network. While not every person within the social reach of your business will become a customer, they likely exert some influence over someone who may have an interest in your product or they can simply help raise brand awareness of your product.

Building your reach will help ensure your social media success and is not as complicated as you may think:

  • Start by emailing your current customers and prospects and letting them know about your social profiles – ask them to follow, like and share your business’s content.
  • You can promote your social media profiles everywhere – have links to your profiles on every page of your website, on signage, in print advertising, on your business cards and in television ads.
  • Create and share valuable content with your current followers – as they share your content others will become more aware of your business and brand and will become more likely to like, follow or connect with your business.
  • Make it easy to share your content by adding social sharing buttons to your website and blog posts.

 2. Forgetting about leads

Brand awareness is important, but your social media success ultimately depends on your ability to generate high-quality leads that your sales team can convert into customers. It’s not enough to present great content and a friendly and interactive presence on social networks – you need to collect people’s information and enter it into your sales funnel.

The ability to generate leads is related directly to your ability to write an effective call-to-action (CTA): a prompt that tells your readers or followers to do something in particular. In this case, you are telling them to sign up for a free newsletter or download a free report. In return for the freebie, they need to give some of their personal information.

An effective call-to-action:

  • Creates a sense of urgency by using words like “now” or “today”
  • Uses numbers to be as specific as possible
  • Tells the person viewing it exactly what you want them to do
  • Is placed above the fold on your website

3. Ignoring traditional marketing in favour of social media marketing

You cannot ignore traditional marketing to focus solely on social media marketing. Social networks are popular, but not everyone is on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Even if 100 percent of the population was involved in social networking, you still cannot ignore the usefulness of certain traditional marketing platforms.

Focus on how effectively each marketing channel generates leads and customers and you will achieve marketing success. Your company can avoid overinvesting in social media by integrating social media into your current marketing plan and ensuring it works in tandem with more traditional marketing efforts.

4. Forgetting about SEO

Search engine optimization and social media marketing go hand-in-hand. Social media success depends on effectively integrating your social strategy with your search engine optimization strategy.

You can address this all too often disconnect by using the keywords identified in your SEO strategy when crafting copy for your social profiles.

5. Thinking it’s going to be too easy

A common mistake blocking your social media success is not dedicating enough time to your new marketing endeavor –assume you’ll need to spend twice as much time on social media marketing as you plan on spending. This might sound like too great an investment for some marketers.

You can likely find the time to invest in your social media success by examining your current marketing efforts and identifying the underperforming activities. Take the time you are spending on those activities and put it into your new social media efforts to see if they produce better returns.

6. Not showing social media ROI

While leads are important, they aren’t the ultimate goal of your social media efforts. Your social media success will ultimately be defined by the number of sales derived from social media marketing. Too many marketers focus on vanity metrics – metrics that track things, like fans or followers, which really don’t directly impact your business’s bottom line.

When marketers don’t track the right social media marketing metrics, your social media investment is put at risk. You can ensure continued investment in social media marketing by demonstrating the ROI of your social media by tracking the right metrics: conversion rate, referring traffic, total reach, amplification rate, rate of applause, quality of content, conversation share, sentiment, and economic value.

7. Thinking all social networks are the same

Facebook is different than LinkedIn and Google+ is different than Twitter. If your marketing team doesn’t understand the differences between the social networks, you will only achieve limited social media success:

  • Facebook and Google+ are visual networks and need to include lots of pictures and video.
  • Twitter is a news-based social network and your tweets need to include links to be truly effective.

You can optimize your presence on each network by measuring the right social media metrics and noting patterns and trends for certain types of content.

8. Being boring

Clicking “publish” or “post” does not make you, your business or your products interesting. You need to craft compelling content that presents your business in an interesting way. The content you share also can’t only be about your business and your product – you need to take your audience into consideration.

You should try to offer content to your followers that addresses problems they face and delivers useful information. A great way to deliver this kind of content is by creating personas, theoretical pictures of your idea customer or customers.

You can create personas by gathering certain bits of information:

  • Who typically buys your product or service?
  • What are their demographics?
  • What motivates them?
  • What is their biggest challenge to success?
  • How and where do they consume information and news?

Use this information to create a picture of your customer and write your material for that person. It will keep your content more focused and it will make it infinitely more shareable.

It would be great to hear from you:

  • What are the roadblocks you’ve faced on your way to social media marketing success?
  • Have you encountered any of the problems listed in this post?
  • What steps have you taken to overcome obstacles to social media success?

Photo credit: advertisingelyse


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11 Responses to “Are You Making These 8 Foolish Social Media Mistakes?”

  1. Speaking of the CEO having no business commenting on the company’s FB page, I have to add my little horrific story. First,personally I believe it’s wise not to post about personal ideals regarding religion, politics, etc. The CEO thought it would be hilarious to post a joke about Obamacare and the “sort” of people who would use it were the “punchline.” Side note, it’s an Atlanta based business. He honestly thought it was funny and didn’t understand the negative comments. I guess my point is, like a first date, business pages should probably stay neutral regarding religion, politics, etc, unless of course that IS the business. It’s not difficult to alienate people, then there’s just really poor decision making, as in my CEO’s case. It’s a lot easier to alienate people than one might think.


  3. I use the browser extensions F.B.Purity and AdBlockPlus. Between the two of them, virtually every ad was blocked on Facebook — I went for a very long time not knowing that Facebook was even running ads.

    Link to F.B.Purity: http://www.fbpurity.com/
    Link to AdBlockPlus: https://adblockplus.org/

  4. SingingM on July 2, 2013 at 3:12 pm said:

    I like Facebook. It allows me to present myself to the world. It lets people communicate. It used to be only the rich and powerful had a voice. Now anyone can create an FB account and connect with others. **** There are millions of users on FB. The government can not follow everyone’s posts. They don’t want to anyway. Mostly they respond if a person is reported for hate speech, violence, or inciting some type of riot. ***What is weird is there is a public outcry when an offender loses their mind and kills someone. People will say, “Why did no one stop them. Look at the FB posts.” *** People need to remember if they live in the United States of America they have freedoms. If you are not breaking laws, don’t be afraid to post a joke or a comment on FB. ***

  5. As the IBM ads said a few years ago, “There are no magic business beans.” Thanks, Eric, for making these points, and thanks also for doing your homage to one of the greatest headlines ever written!

  6. ChristyO. on June 12, 2013 at 6:55 pm said:

    I see a lot of company Facebook pages out there that do a poor job of engaging and are just trying to field all of the bad consumer comments/complaints they receive. I just read a recent article of what not to do as a business owner if customers are using social media as a platform to lambast you for your product or service offering.

    Aside from distinguishing Facebook from Twitter, a lot of companies out there still don’t recognize how to be most effective on social media sites and some of the CEO’s need to leave the communications, branding, and engagement to the experts vs. using social media as a platform to flood feeds about boring things that aren’t going to gain followers or regurgitating tired news that will gain no viral activity.

  7. crooked eye on June 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm said:

    Social networking is boring in itself. Break your computers you mindless fools.

  8. Andrew Teixeira on May 29, 2013 at 6:59 pm said:

    One tool can’t do it alone. Social is most powerful when combined with traditional. I was glad to see that included in this post.

  9. What are your thought about auto directing posts from facebook over to twitter when seo is concerned?

  10. Montgomery Heart on March 27, 2013 at 7:29 pm said:

    The good thing about this advice is that it focuses on being useful. Eric said post news on Twitter, use well-written headlines, etc so that readers are more engaged than passively watching a loud commerical on TV.

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