You might think your social media marketing strategy is awesome, but here’s the harsh reality. Your customers probably think your presence is lame.
Sure, some of your website visitors will hit the like button at first. But give it a day or two, and they’ll move on (potentially to your customers).
That’s because companies are constantly competing for your audience’s attention. Eyeballs are a scarce resource, and if you’re not the most innovative, captivating, and intelligent that you can be, your brand will fall flat.
If you’re a marketer, you’ve probably heard plenty about what you should do. Post regularly. Share compelling content. Use memes. The list of best practices goes on.
Now, here’s the other side of the equation. Avoid these common social media marketing traps like the plague:
1. Automation domination
If there’s one thing that savvy marketers love, it’s automation. Schedule your posts days ahead of time before they’re due. Cross-promote status updates across platforms. Monitor social media collaboratively with HootSuite. It’s a dream come true, right?
Yeah, probably. Until automation becomes your worst nightmare.
If you talk like a robot, your customers won’t take you seriously. You need a real, live human being behind your brand.
Bank of America recently learned this lesson the hard way when it posted a seemingly automated response to Twitter messages about foreclosures.
Even Digiday calls this mishap ‘an epic social media fail.’ Whoops.
Honestly, Bank of America probably had the best intentions to maintain brand composure and avoid a total flame war. And yes, this approach makes complete logical sense. Bank of America’s Twitter place is not the place to make political commentary about America’s financial meltdown. After all, nobody wants to get sued.
But BofA’s “composure” had intended consequences. It made people mad. Really mad. What Bank of America should have done was highlight the human side behind its brand. For goodness sakes, get these angry customers on the phone. Show some interest and compassion.
Humanity pays off.
If you’re skeptical, consider the case of Graco, a popular manufacturer of baby products.
Back in 2010, the company experienced a widespread product recall. As you can imagine, this was serious business. The last thing a baby products company could possible want are faulty items. Not cool.
Rather than cover up the mishap, here’s what the company did. They owned it. They let their humanity shine through, apologized, and spoke directly to their stakeholders and customers. The company openly answered questions on Twitter and linked consumers to in-depth information.
Graco deserves the world’s biggest high-five for how it handled this difficult situation.
2. Acting like an awkward junior high kid
Social media is all about building a community where followers can engage with your content, learn about your products and services, and get to know you as a brand. Consider this your chance to develop a real voice that connects you on an emotional level with your audience. Push the limits. Be hilarious. Share the memes that are circulating through your office.
CouponMountain, a coupons and deals website is a champion of this approach. While it’s true that the savings community likes great deals, they certainly don’t want boring coupon codes in their Facebook feeds all day.
Consumers want to laugh. To celebrate key milestones in their lives. To share inspiring content with their friends and family.
It’s a two-way conversation.
By merely posting a photo to Facebook, you’re really not encouraging any level of engagement with your followers. Sure, a fan might like the photo; but as a company, you’re not entertaining any conversation beyond that.
It’s kind of like the days of junior high when you really wanted to ask your crush out on a date. Saying hi and batting eyelashes just isn’t enough. You need to move the conversation along to “seal the deal.”
CouponMountain is like the teen pop star who’s captured his love interest’s attention. But she’ll quickly lose interest unless he can put some personality behind his charm. Sorry Bieber.
Take your social strategy a step further to hook your audience emotionally. For life.
Have you noticed Facebook contests popping up recently? Or what about Instagram contests? Tactics such as these keep content fresh, and simultaneously encourage your followers to become even more deeply involved with your brand. Giveaways, contest, and inspiring users to create their own slogan or name for a product for example, are all great ways for marketers to avoid static content. By employing these strategies, your fans are actually take part in your brand, rather than passively being fed the content.
Here is how CouponMountain’s competitor takes that extra step with a sweepstakes to potentially win $100:
Instead of posting only static content, a brand needs to incorporate methods into its social media strategy that prompts engagement from followers. Post more than just static content. Here are some additional ideas to consider:
- Hold a giveaway for one of your products
- Invite users to come up with a new slogan via Twitter
This is how you get people interacting with your brand. So make it fun.
If you need more inspiration, take a look at Sephora. Sephora is a socially savvy leading worldwide beauty retailer. They have a global presence in 27 countries with over 1,300 stores and heck of a lot of online sales. They are social media champions with a massive presence across 7 platforms.
Here is a snapshot of Sephora’s Sweet 15 Sweepstakes, which celebrated 15 years of a fashion partnerships. They ran the contest on their Facebook Page, and it required entrants to submit their information for a chance to win a five day all-inclusive trip to Costa Rica, plus a year’s supply of their Surf product, including Bumble and Bumble.
Few things in the world will spark engagement more than a prize like that. This was a brilliant brand-building move.
Another good example of a company who avoids static content is Underwater Audio. Their Facebook page has over 38,000 followers, and they are a multi-million dollar company from PPC, SEO, and social media efforts. Take a look at one of their posts below.
By asking a very simple question and including an aesthetically beautiful photo, they encouraged their users to share a preference about the type of water they like to swim in. The question didn’t necessarily have to do with their products, but rather it motivated fans to be a part of a community. Instead of only sharing their products, they have found a creative way to increase engagement and to raise brand awareness.
3. A strategy without analytics
It’s important to look at your analytics as you start to incorporate these tactics. How has the quality of interaction changed? Of course “Likes” and “Followers” are important to seeing your brand reach, but these numbers will not tell you the quality of engagement. Many fans will like a brand page, but then forget about it.
Don’t fall into the trap of not knowing how to use your analytics. Analytics are the lifeblood of social media.
Have you noticed certain trends about your audience? What types of content do they like most? What gets the most RT’s? What Instagram photos are the most popular?
Be an active participant with your analytics to see what posts are more viral or have higher engagement than others.
And most importantly, respond. Post more content that your audience loves. Analytics are the closest thing to reading your customers’ minds.
Final thoughts: Lack of audience connection
What do all of these concepts have in common?
They all drill down to one fundamental concept. Building a connection with your audience.
Social media is a tool where you should listen as much as you talk. They key to avoiding social media traps is to prioritize your audience’s interests above anything else. Especially your sales agenda.
It’s that simple.
Guest author: Chris Kilbourn is the VP of Strategy at Fit Marketing. In past lives, he was a professional rockstar (seriously), and he built and sold two successful companies from the ground up. You can contact at Fit Marketing.
Learn how to make your blog and content contagious with social media marketing
My book – “Blogging the Smart Way – How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” – will show you how.
It is now available to download. I show you how to create and build a blog that rocks and grow tribes, fans and followers on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It also includes dozens of tips to create contagious content that begs to be shared and tempts people to link to your website and blog.
I also reveal the tactics I used to grow my Twitter followers to over 185,000.