15 Ways to Fail at Social Media Marketing.You’ve accepted the importance of social media marketing for your business. You’ve read all the statistics about the increasing value of social media for your content marketing plan, and you’ve begun integrating social media into your business strategy. Good for you! You’re already in the game. While other people are still trying to figure out how to tie their skates, you’re out there doing laps and taking practice shots. But how many of those shots are you missing?

When it comes to social media marketing, there’s a lot to learn. Between all the various networking sites and blogs—not to mention other aspects of your marketing plan—social media can be overwhelming. If you never learn the rules, you’re never going to have the competitive edge you need. You’ll never gain the audience you want if you aren’t creating and sharing the right kind of content, and as a result, you might never be able to come up with clever sports analogies for your blog posts. (Also, you know, your conversion rates may suffer.) So, because I know you’re eager to dazzle your loyal fans and prospective customers with your new found aptitude for social media, here are 15 marketing fails to avoid when using social media marketing for your business.

1. Bragging

Here’s the thing: for one reason or another, your fans and followers already like you. Maybe they want to keep an eye out for promotions, maybe they’ve purchased from you before and are big on brand loyalty, or maybe they just like your blog posts. The bottom line here is that, in some way, you’ve already won them over. So, unless you’re determined to change their minds, don’t spend all your time on social media bragging about how great your company is. It’s a big turnoff for your followers, 45% of whom will probably unfollow you if you’re too heavy on the self-promotion.

2. Being Antisocial

It’s in the name: social media. The whole point is to reach out and create a community based on your company or brand. Not being social on social media is like holding a press conference and refusing to answer any questions. Take advantage of your social media accounts by retweeting, sharing, and responding to your followers.

3. Treating Social Media as a Side Project

Social media editors have borne the brunt of many jokes over the past few years. You may still think you don’t need a person dedicated to managing sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Depending on the size of your business, you may or may not be correct; you may actually need several people dedicated to your social media. The fact is, social media marketing done right can lead to a huge increase in conversions for your company. Don’t believe me? Here’s some food for thought: companies that generate more than 1,000 Likes for their Facebook pages also tend to receive approximately 1,400 website visits per day, and approximately 46% of online visitors take social media into account when they make purchase decisions. Take advantage of social media by investing time and money into your social media strategy.

4. Inconsistency: A Copywriter’s Nightmare

The copy on your social media pages needs to be consistent with your brand’s voice. While you may need to take a slightly different approach to tweets than you do to blog posts, your overall tone needs to be consistent.

5. Ignoring Your Followers

Your social media followers aren’t just interested in what you have to say to them—they also want to be able to communicate with you quickly and conveniently. If someone asks you a question that you don’t answer, other followers will think you don’t care about your followers (and, by association, your customers). Take the time to respond to both positive and negative feedback. This may be especially important for negative feedback; 25% of consumers who use social media to complain about a product or experience expect a response within one hour of that complaint.

6. Automation Gone Wrong

Automation can be very helpful when you are managing social media across several different sites and platforms. However, as with everything, automation in social media can go too far. Make sure you have a human behind your social media to avoid embarrassing mishaps like these.

7. Not Measuring

Naturally, the consequences of not measuring your social media-related metrics are that you will never know whether what you’re doing is actually working. What you focus on measuring will depend on what your social media goals are: are you trying to drive traffic to your site, or are you trying to directly improve your ROI? Whatever your goals, you need to measure your social media metrics to see if you are achieving them.

8. Talking Their Ears Off

Written posts are great, but visual content is better. I’m not saying you should trade all your blog posts in for videos, photos, and infographics, but you should integrate some visual content into your social media posts. If written material is all you have to offer, your followers are going to get bored.

9. Being Oblivious to Current Events

As I mentioned before, automation can be great when you’re managing several social media accounts. Using sites like Hootsuite to schedule your posts can save you lots of time; however, you need to remain aware of current events. There have been a few incidences of unintentionally insensitive social media posts being made by companies due to prescheduled posts, like this one. If some terrible tragedy has occurred, a tweet about your newest promotion or a funny dog meme will very likely come off as distasteful.

10. Forgetting that People Buy from People

Computers are extremely advanced, but they are not advanced enough to create content for social media sites––only humans can do that. So why are you emulating a robot in the copy on your social media sites? Your followers like seeing your human side. Tell some jokes, share some insider info about your office, or share a funny picture. Revealing the real people behind your brand will likely garner you some new (and human!) followers.

11. Repeating Yourself

Repurposing your content for different venues is good––repeatedly reusing the exact same content is not. Don’t bombard your followers with the same content in the same format. If you do, you’re running the risk that 21% of those followers will leave your social media page behind for good.

Twitter's logo.12. Winging It

When we’re talking about your personal Twitter account, you are totally free to “wing it.” Fly by the seat of your pants, go where the wind takes you, play it by ear––any clichéd expression about not making plans will work. But when it comes to your social media marketing, you need to have a plan. Creating and following through with a social media strategy will seriously improve the effectiveness of your social media efforts.

13. Providing Useless Content

Content marketing is all about creating and distributing quality content. You need to provide your followers with information they will not easily find elsewhere. This also includes the content you share; if your social media pages are a source of quality information on specific topics, it won’t matter if not all of this material was created by you. The hope here is that other people are sharing your original content on their social media sites too!

14. Being Sloppy

Typos, grammatical errors, and punctuation mistakes are never acceptable in your company’s social media posts. If you are careless about the quality of your posts, you are being careless about the number of followers you have, which of course means you are being careless about your company’s leads. If you need to invest in an editing service for your social media posts, do it. Do whatever you need to ensure that your posts are error-free.

15. Not Taking Social Media Seriously

If this article has done nothing else, I hope it has proved to you that social media marketing can and should be an integral part of your company’s marketing strategy. Your social media presence needs to be taken seriously, and that means avoiding gaffes like this. Avoid social media fails by making sure your employees understand the importance of your company’s social media strategy.

Image sources: Counselling/Pixabay.com, Wojtek Witkowski/Stocksnap.io, Nemo/Pixabay.com