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Top Five Social Media Marketing Mistakes

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Alicia Jones's avatar
Alicia Jones

Social media is one of the most powerful tools at the disposal of any business.  It’s a 24-7-365 way to connect with potential customers, and it’s in their pocket literally all the time.  But the more important social media becomes, the trickier it can be to get it right.  There’s a LOT of advice out there, some of it conflicting – and it’s a universe that’s constantly evolving.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed by social marketing strategy, it’s worth going back to basics – and you can start by making sure you’re not committing any of these top five ‘deadly sins’ of social media marketing, as outlined by our Social Media Strategist, Alicia Jones….

1. Underestimating organic 

Many businesses (and even social media marketers) are still underestimating or completely misinterpreting the value of organic social media marketing. This is a huge mistake and can lead to missed opportunities for both brand awareness and lead generation. 

Organic social media is completely free for brands to use.  Taking advantage of this is not only crucial to having a successful online presence but also creates opportunities for leads at various stages of the digital sales funnel, without any advertising budget. You could have a huge budget for paid advertising on social media but if a potential customer searches your company’s name on a social media platform and finds a poorly thought out page with no engagement, you immediately lose credibility.  

In today’s world where social media is integrated in the daily lives of over 3.6 billion people, it’s essential to have a positive, authentic and engaging organic social media presence to succeed as a brand.

2. Hashtag fails 

When working on organic social media strategies where the omnipresent algorithms dictate the reach of your content, it’s crucial to maximise every organic opportunity you have for increasing your impressions. Hashtags are a great way to do this broadly across social media. However, you’ll see many brands on social media spamming their posts with lines of hashtags that are usually only loosely related to the topic of conversation. 

Whilst using hashtags can improve reach dramatically it can also inhibit it if used incorrectly. Individual platforms use hashtags differently so it is important to adapt hashtags for each, selecting hashtags that are minimal, relevant and varied. Just copy and pasting the same 30 hashtags into every post you share will see your content’s reach slashed. Choose hashtags that vary in size and always ensure they’re relevant and appropriate to the content shared. 

3. Dismissing new platforms 

On social media we’re always looking for ways to boost reach and opportunities for engagement, but increasingly and inevitably it’s becoming difficult to achieve organic success on renowned platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. This is to be expected as these monopolising social platforms seek to force companies to use their paid advertising features. On Facebook the average post reaches only 5.2% of the page’s following organically

However, there is a way to stay ahead of this and still capture and grow large organic audiences. Staying ahead of new social media platforms and being willing to get in early on newer channels is an untapped way of reaching the most people organically. 

Right now for example, TikTok offers exceptional organic reach opportunities and virality like no other. Many companies are scared to put themselves on these ‘younger’ platforms and will only join once they are established, at which point organic reach will have been minimised and monetized. 

Try to keep an open mind about new platforms. You’ll be surprised at the variation in audience demographics –  it’s not just Gen Z getting involved!  Audiences also tend to see brands on these platforms as more approachable and authentic – of course the content has to have the right tone but when they get it right we see millions of organic views, likes and shares, and priceless brand awareness. 

Right now brands like RyanAir and Duolingo have steered from the conventional and are running TikTok pages that reach millions while nailing the fun tone of voice that resonates authentically online. 

4. Working against the algorithm 

Without even realising it many marketers and brands are actually working against the algorithms on social networks, finding that their organic impressions and opportunities are frequently inhibited. 

Understanding and working with the algorithm on the social platform/s you’re using is key. You can have an engaging post with amazing visuals but if the algorithm marks it as spam or irrelevant to your audience, you’ll find it getting lost in the internet abyss. Instead invest time understanding what the platform is looking to promote, learning about new features, and following their guidelines on copy length, hashtag choice and post frequency – then watch your metrics improve.

Ultimately the goal for social media platforms is to keep users engaged on their network.  As always, the best way to do this is by creating relevant, authentic and value-adding content. 

5. The hard sell 

Many companies view organic social media as solely a means to bring in leads and create additional revenue. A view like this will often see brands pages only promoting products and sharing sales driving content. Although it’s important to have lead generation in mind when sharing content to social media, in many cases organic social media’s value is far more nuanced and a sales driving strategy will actually lose you followers online. It may be tempting to sell at every opportunity to prove your ROI but the real value in organic social media comes from the connection you can grow with your audience and positive brand awareness that results. 

Organic social media is an opportunity for businesses to connect with users at a more personal level.  It’s more informal, and users more and more are looking for an authentic experience online. A successful social media presence is engaging and valuable – users don’t want to be blatantly sold to. The way to win over an audience online is by showcasing authenticity and bringing a human side to the brand, so don’t be afraid to share more raw content like behind the scenes videos or team features. 

Need help with your social media marketing strategy?  The Creative Media team is ready and waiting – get in touch today to discuss your goals.