Social media marketing has arguably survived the initial wave of backlash that came when marketers first started leveraging platforms like Facebook and Twitter to reach new audiences. It was said that social media was a fad, or at least that it was impossible to generate a positive return on investment (ROI) with it. Now, more than a decade later, marketers are still leveraging the power of social media for greater brand exposure, more traffic, and more revenue-generating conversions, among many other benefits.
Even so, there are some critical things social media marketers still commonly get wrong:
1. Followers are the most important metric.
I’ve been hoping for this misconception to die for years, but it’s unfortunately still circulating. I admit, I can understand why; your follower counts are a direct measure of how many people have expressed an interest in your brand, and represent how many people you can directly reach whenever you make a post. Seeing those numbers go up is a rush, and it pleases clients and supervisors. However, follower counts are not the most important metric, nor should they even really be a priority. The quality of your followers matters far more than the quantity, and engagement rates and traffic are far better measures.
2. Paid advertising is the only sure way to get visibility.
It’s true that the organic visibility you can achieve on social media is shrinking—and has been shrinking for some time. However, that doesn’t mean that paid advertising is the only way to earn more visibility on your platforms of choice. Your best bet is to reduce the number of posts you make and instead focus on making better posts; posts with more likes, shares, and engagements will naturally earn more visibility, and a timeline full of only high-quality material makes your brand look better overall. Here are a few articles with tons of ideas for how to increase your followers on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube.
3. The more platforms you’re on, the better.
As Insightly states on their blog, “There’s a tendency for companies to spread their social media umbrella too wide.” It’s tempting to snatch a presence on every social media platform you can find, but the truth is, some platforms are more valuable than others. And, according to Insightly, “If you can’t keep up with your regular posts, you will lose followers and become less relevant.” So, which social media platforms are the most valuable? That depends on your brand. Your target demographics, your brand personality, and the types of content you plan on posting will all factor into which platforms will give you the highest return.
4. Posts should be automated.
There are many automation platforms for social media out there, including Hootsuite and Buffer. When used correctly, apps like these can save you lots of time and help you gain more meaningful insights about your campaign. However, that doesn’t mean they should be used to automate your entire campaign—doing so will make your brand seem impersonal and robotic. Succeeding at social media means you really do have to put the social in social media.
5. Hashtags make everything better.
Ah, hashtags. In theory, these are great ways to increase the visibility of anything you post; marking a post with a hashtag makes it publicly available to anyone searching for that topic. Unfortunately, spamming hashtags or using a hashtag inappropriately can ruin your reputation or make you appear ignorant. If you’re going to use hashtags, use them appropriately.