Considering the fact that 500 million people use Instagram daily, social media marketing is one of the most effective ways to expose your business to a huge audience. Most businesses know that, but few actually excel at using social media marketing the right way.
You often see in social media marketing guides that you should be authentic and create great content. But when you try to do that, it doesn’t always show great results. That’s why you see so many business pages on Facebook that only have a few hundred subscribers.These business could be doing everything right—but they could be doing some things very wrong.
Here are eight common social media mistakes that you need to avoid if you want your social media campaign to show great results:
- Working without a plan
- Assuming your audience is everyone
- Buying followers
- Choosing the wrong tone
- Using irrelevant hashtags
- Staying silent in the comment section
- Deleting negative comments
- Being boring
1. Working without a plan
Many people who make their first steps in the world of social media are just following a guide instead of putting together up a master social media marketing strategy. Your first step should be understanding your possibilities when it comes to social media and your business goals. That should guide all of your actions.
Doing your social media marketing without knowing who you are talking to, how to market your posts, and what step to take next is like driving a car without knowing how much fuel do you have and where the road is going. It’s a mistake that can make your whole campaign fall completely flat—and make all your effort wasted.
2. Assuming your audience is everyone
Knowing your audience is integral to building an effective plan. A lot of businesses simplify their audience to the point where this simplification distorts reality rather then helps understand it.
Most people who use Instagram are 18 to 34 years old, this makes them fit the definition of the Millennial generation. Who are Millennials? They’re entitled, into memes—if you go by this definition, your social media campaign is done for.
Instead, study your audience to understand them better. You’re not interested in all Millennials, you’re interested in the people who are buying from your brand.
This doesn’t just help you to create more precise targeting, it also helps you adjust your tone and content, too.
3. Buying followers
We all know that buying followers is against the guidelines of all social media networks. But when fewer and fewer people follow your business page over time, this illicit activity becomes more and more tempting. After all, how can you pass on getting a thousand followers for $5?
This offer only sounds good. In fact, you may be paying for your social media page to become a failure. How can that be? Because buying followers goes against the Facebook and Instagram algorithm.
Whenever you make a post, it is shown in the feed of a few select members of your audience. The more people like and comment on it, the more the algorithm thinks it’s a good post. It will continue showing it to other subscribers.
Now, imagine that you originally had 500 followers and paid to get 1000 more. Now, two-thirds of your audience are accounts with thousands of subscriptions. They aren’t interested in your posts and won’t like them even if they bother checking their feed.
Once, there were so many fake profiles made for selling followers on Facebook, that even official ads resulted in fake likes. This led to a scandal because these fake likes were harming businesses, and Facebook had to delete over 2 billion fake accounts. Why did big brads make Facebook do that?
Because these fake accounts prevent posts from getting promoted by the algorithm. The result is your original subscribers will see fewer of your posts. This is definitely not something you had in mind when you were paying for followers.
Keep in mind that you’re not chasing the subscriber count, you’re chasing conversions. And buying followers only takes you leads from that goal.
4. Choosing the wrong tone
A person on social media can do whatever they want with their profiles. After all, it’s only meant to tell their friends more about their personal lives. A brand’s behavior on Twitter or Instagram is subject to much stricter scrutiny.
Choose a brand voice that feels too official, and you risk being too boring for people. There’s an even greater social media sin, however. Trying to appeal to social media users by being too casual—or worse, offensive.
Attempts at humor can also fail to deliver. This joke, for instance, comes off as one of those annoying ads where the marketing team just puts up a half-naked woman in the picture and hope that it’s enough to compel people to buy. It’s not funny—it’s just offensive.
Sunny D’s Twitter account pretends to have depression. Is it because they thought this would be funny? Or because they’ve heard the youth these days is stressed, depressed, and exam obsessed, so this would be relatable?
Either way, this only makes Gen Z facepalm in disbelief.
So before you start tweeting or posting on Instagram, take the time to figure out the tone that reflects your brand and connects with your audience—and then make sure to document it.
5. Using irrelevant hashtags
If you want to get exposure, you need to use hashtags. Involve your brand in a trending conversation, and thousands of people will see your account. This sounds simple, but there’s a huge downside you have to be aware of.
Your brand will be seen by thousands of people. If you make a misstep, everyone will know about it. Deleting the post won’t completely redeem you either since it can be accessed through the web archive.
Despite the fact DiGiorno Pizza deleted this tweet and apologized, people are still outraged about it, and this screenshot is shared across the web.
In case you didn’t know, this hashtag is about domestic violence. Not something you want to joke about if you want people to buy your products.
Paying tribute to famous people is another trending thing you may want to avoid. This type of message just comes off as cheap. Heartbroken fans won’t like you trying to capitalize on their idol’s death.
When in doubt, stick to basic, relevant hashtags—and stick to jokes that don’t call into question brand values.
6. Staying silent in the comment section
One of the best ways to make the Instagram algorithm like you is to boost the engagement rates by having a lot of comments on your posts. The same is true about Facebook.
Leaving comments doesn’t only appeal to the algorithm, it establishes connections with your followers. When they see you care enough to respond to their comments, they’ll like your brand more.
Staying silent is a major social media mistake.
7. Deleting negative comments
You probably have seen a couple of brands that get a negative comment, engage in a lengthy and ugly conversation, and then delete the whole thread.
This is the most unauthentic thing you can do. You have to show your audience that you have nothing to hide and be objective when you do get a negative comment.
If the person commenting highlights your wrongdoing, thank them for the advice and improve. If they’re just being toxic, ignore them.
8. Being boring
On Instagram alone, people post over 100 million posts a day. The thing you can do to get lost in all of that noize is to be boring. Just showcase your products and say they’re great. Post uninspiring photos. Don’t joke at all.
Granted, this mistake is harder to avoid than the rest. However, if you have done your audience research, you should be half-way there.
If you don’t have any ideas on how to make your page less boring, get inspiration from other creators, or ask your audience.
Building a social media presence isn’t easy, and these mistakes aren’t hard to make—but they could be the end of your social media campaign. Keep these mistakes in mind to create your plan and get posting today!
About the author
Marie Fincher is a freelance writer with a passion for technology and digital marketing. Her focus lies in writing about technology, BI, content marketing strategies, new marketing trends, and branding strategies.