Remember the days when social media was just a quirky form of communication between friends and family? Those days are almost gone because while social media is still a form of communication and entertainment, it has evolved into much more. It's become a powerful tool not only for reaching consumers, but for turning those consumers into brand advocates.
Of course, understanding that idea isn't enough to understand how to make an impact with your social media. If you ask yourself, "Why is my social media not effective?" then you need to take a look at which effective social media practices you aren't using. We've collected a list of ten mistakes you might be making with your social media efforts that could be negatively impacting your business.
Not Investing Money Into Your Social Strategy
It's true that social media is free, but don't let the fact that you can have an account on the platform of your choice, free of charge, fool you. Even great content isn't enough to get conversions if you aren't making an investment into paid social advertising. You need only look at where marketers are putting their ad spend to realize this is the case. More than$9.4 billion was spent on social media advertising in 2015 alone, and it's expected to reach more than $17 billion by 2019. Social advertising is still very affordable, so even small budgets can go a long way by simply promoting posts.
Not Spending Enough Time Developing a Strategy
You need to see all marketing as an investment of both time and money, and that's just as true for social media advertising. If you don't invest effort into planning your social strategy, then you can't expect to see much in the way of ROI either. Most of the mistakes we cover below are an extension of this point in that you need to have a plan in place. Start with a content calendar, which is a basic way for you to outline the campaigns you plan to run and develop messaging around holidays, social events (e.g., sports games), and industry events.
Not Using Video
Gone are the days where video costs an arm and a leg to create. While the creative may be intimidating, video isn't something you can afford to ignore anymore. Simply embedding a video on your landing page can increase conversions by 80%, while combining video with full page ads boosts engagement by 22%. More importantly, 36% of consumers trust video ads, 90% of users believe product/service videos are helpful for their decision process, and 64% of users are more likely to buy online after viewing a video.
Not sure how to create engaging video? Remember to appeal to emotion while grabbing attention early. Formats like Facebook will autoplay ads in users Newsfeeds, but will do so silently, so you'll only have a second or two to convince users that they should pay attention. (It's also a good reason to use subtitles.) Consider using your videos to answer customer questions or create how-to videos. These types of videos are immediately useful to your customers, and even if they aren't interested in the particular content of a given video, you're building capital with them as a trustworthy and engaging source of information. Behind-the-scenes looks at your company also offer the type of transparency that builds trust. Always capitalize on the tools offered by each platform to edit your videos, but consider other tools as well, like Lightworks or Lapse It.
Not Using Graphics
While the type of visuals you use should be defined by your industry — for instance, will infographics be more useful or should you show people using your products? — it's important to understand that graphics are critical to engaging your audience. A relevant image paired with your post will get 94% more views than those without and improves your audience's ability to recall 65% of that information three days later.
Need help creating beautiful images? There's a host of editing options that are easy to use, even if you aren't an artist or graphic designer. Tools like Canva and BeFunky are one stop shops for finding images, layouts, and fonts that look professional for any purpose with an easy-to-use platform for putting everything together. If you're more artistically inclined, you may want to tap intoCreative Market, which offers free and paid resources like layouts, images, fonts, and more.
Not Using the Channels Your Audience Uses
We can't emphasize this enough: you need to be where your audience is. The right message packaged the best way will mean nothing if your audience isn't there to see it. To accurately reach your audience, you will need to do market research and A/B testing. Below we've got some generalities to help you get started.
- Facebook: 71% of Americans are users, 82% of 18-29 year olds, 79% of 30-49 year olds, 56% of 65+ year olds, 72% have income over $75 thousand, 74% have some higher education
- Instagram: 26% of adults are users, 53% are 18-29 years, 25% are 30-49 years, 52% have income over $50 thousand, 26% have income over $75 thousand, 24% have some higher education
- Twitter: 20% of Americans are users, 37% are 18-29 years, 25% are 30-49 years, 54% have income more than $50 thousand, 30% have some higher education
- YouTube: users are largely 25-34 years (41 million users), 46% have income more than $75 thousand, 45% have some higher education, 14% have post-doctorate
- Pinterest: 28% of American adults are users, 34% are 18-29 years, 28% are 30-49 years, 27% are 50-64 years, 42% of users are female versus 13% male, 64% have income over $50 thousand, 34% have income over $75 thousand, 32% have some higher education
- LinkedIn: 23% are 18-29 years, 32% are 30-49 years, 30% are 50-64 years, 21% are 65+ years, 75% have income over $75 thousand, 44% have income over $50 thousand, 50% have some higher education
- According to ComScore, Facebook represents the best combination of penetration and engagement, while Instagram is a distant second. Twitter and LinkedIn are close regarding penetration, but Twitter has a slight edge and also offers better engagement. Pinterest has lower penetration, but engagement equals that of Twitter.
Not Posting When Your Audience Is Online
- Facebook engagement rates are 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays. Engagement falls 3.5% on Monday through Wednesday. For some social media channels, engagement is 32% higher over the weekend. The best CTR tends to be between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
- Twitter B2C engagement is 17% higher on weekends, but B2B may see 14% higher engagement on weekdays. Retweets happen most often around 5 p.m., while CTR peaks at noon and 6 p.m.
- LinkedIn engagement tends to be strongest on Tuesday through Thursday, but Fridays should be avoided. Peak times are around 5 or 6 p.m., while 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. should be avoided.
- Pinterest sees the best results on weekends, especially Saturday mornings or Fridays around 3 p.m. Regular work hours should be avoided, possibly because of its relationship to planning and "daydreaming.”
Remember when taking advantage of social advertising, you often have control over how each platform targets users. For instance, Facebook can deliver ads to users most likely to engage with your ad based on interests; that removes the time imperative because the process is automated for best results.
Not Engaging with Your Followers
Engagement is the core of social media. The general user (and customer specifically) is not interested in advertising blasts or constantly being sold to. They expect to have a conversation with brand representatives that leave them feeling like businesses care about them as people, not statistics.
This is another critical area that plays into timing. The key to powerful social media is building a relationship with your customers. They can have very specific expectations about how quickly you'll engage with them if they have a question or problem, namely they expect your response in “real time.” For Twitter users, 70% expect brand responses, and 56% of those expect that response in an hour or less. If they've had a problem, however, that goes up to 72%.
Not Personalizing Your Message to Your Audience
Personalization isn't just a buzzword; it's the key to unlocking loyalty. If your message isn't catered to the audience you're sending it to, they simply won't care. It won't impact them because it doesn't mean anything to them and it isn't relevant to their purchase habits or intent.
Not Using a CTA in Your Social Messages
Calls-to-action are the bread and butter of marketing. Your customers need to know what to do when they see your content, especially if it inspires them to sign up for further communication, take advantage of a special offer, or make a purchase. If the platform you're using offers it, make sure your ads and posts utilize CTA buttons. If they don't, include links.
Not Analyzing Your Efforts
Make the most of your analytics. Every method and message needs to be tested. These findings can direct and redirect future campaigns and messaging based on past success (or lack thereof). There's only one way to know what's working and what isn't: your analytics. In combination with clear and meaningful goals, you can benchmark your progress. Furthermore, these results can be seen in context and used to develop future campaigns.
Now that you understand what should be avoided, knowing how to make an impact with your social media should be a clear. Follow these effective social media practices to redirect your efforts and start improving your ROI. For more social media marketing tips, read our free guide: Why Content Is King on Social. Don’t worry. You're not in this alone. Take advantage of the professional media partners at your disposal to make your marketing even more effective. Contact Zimmer Radio & Marketing Group to find out how we can make your social media outreach successful.