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7 costly social media mistakes you must avoid making

Anton Koekemoer
I'm your friendly neighbourhood digital marketing specialist. I specialise in helping brands connect with targeted customers by enhancing their online presence through emerging web-based communication channels. I... More

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When it comes to the huge social web, various digital marketing professionals cannot help making mistakes with social media marketing. In their pursuit to promote their latest campaign, and to embrace this buzzing new medium, they keep on forgetting everything that they have learned about marketing. They are also ignoring the baseline rules and assume that this “one” time won’t really matter. To be honest, it does. Especially to the audience they’re trying to reach and engage with.

With any new marketing method, mistakes are bound to happen. If you are into marketing and want to start using social media marketing for your initiatives, here are a couple of social media mistakes the average person is making (and which you should avoid).

1. Social media requires you to be active
It is important that you understand that people are using social media platforms to interact with friends and family, not with merchants. Wanting to be part of the buzz and conversation is not enough to qualify. You must interact and engage with people on the social web to become part of the community.

2. Ignore corporate speak
While social media is all about sharing your human voice, many marketers stepping into the social web are accustomed in using corporate speak in their communication methods. If you can be active on your social media campaign with a human voice, you will build a following. People like to do business with real people.

3. Don’t focus on yourself
Just focusing your social media marketing campaign on your business, brand, services, and products is the easiest way to turn people away. What are you trying to accomplish with your campaign? How can your services or products solve problems? What interests does your audience find interesting?

Social media is not a one way communication channel such as radio. I know we are programmed to use media to blast our messages to our audience, but social media offers multi-directional communication. It is important to engage with your audience and limit your business promotions on these channels.

4. Social media marketing is not a one-time campaign
Unlike traditional marketing methods, social media should be an ongoing campaign. Continue to build up your past conversations — don’t build up a following for a campaign and then leave it.

5. The next big thing might not be the best
Social media is really fun and new social media channels are launched every day that attract lots of attention because they are new. This doesn’t mean you should jump on the bandwagon and join every one of these new platforms. Determine which social media channels are best, in the long-term, for your business.

The biggest question you should ask yourself is “what is the long-term impact on your audience, brand, and profitability?” if you are going to use that channel. For example, will you be able to build a following on Pinterest?

6. Using social media as a standalone campaign
Social media marketing should never work in a standalone campaign. Integrate social media with your existing digital marketing campaigns. Use appropriate phrases and keywords, optimized sales and landing pages to support your sales process and to drive interested visitors to purchase your products.

You are not finished after you have created your fan page, video channel, or blog. Let your target audience know about it. Leverage internal media and PR including your offline marketing campaign to promote your social media initiative. On your owned media, include social sharing options to broaden the reach with your campaign.

7. Separate professional and personal interactions
It is very important to separate your business engagement from your personal one via social media. Never communicate or share something you wouldn’t want anyone to see, such as your employer. While there are many privacy settings on all the social media channels, what happens when someone else shares your “private” content?