Social media marketing doesn’t get the respect it deserves.
Businesses that are active on social media (and, by “active” we mean posting regularly to their own profiles, engaging in meaningful conversations with their audiences, and interacting authentically with other business profiles) stand to gain increased visibility and brand awareness, stronger and more substantial relationships with their audiences, more profound consumer insights, and a considerable competitive advantage.
The sum of social media marketing is so much greater than its parts, and yet so many naive business owners fail to take it seriously.
Maybe it’s because social media profiles are free. Or maybe it’s because posting to social media is so simple that literally anyone can do it (much to my chagrin, by the way…flat earthers and anti-vaxxers, I’m lookin’ at you).
Or maybe—and this is my guess—businesses are making too many of these common social media marketing mistakes, and completely negating the efficacy of what could be an incredibly powerful component of their overall marketing strategy.
mistake #1: being too promotional
90% of your organic social posts should be non-promotional. Social media is a place where you can establish a brand personality, share your unique perspective, show your audience how much you know, affirm your credibility, and earn consumer trust. If day-after-day—post-after-post—you’re just hawking your products and services, your audience is going to start scrolling right past your content. Buh-bye.
Instead of trying to turn every post into profit, try offering some real value. Last week, we shared the details of a social media advertising strategy we’ve been using to generate triple-digit leads for our clients. Could a business take that strategy and implement it on their own? Absolutely. But, more likely what will happen is this: they’ll see our post, save it with the intention of going back to it when they have a spare minute, realize that they never have a spare minute to dedicate to anything other than the core functions of their job, and get in touch with us—the social media marketing experts—to help them execute the strategy. Of course, it’s not quite as linear as that. But you get the gist…
mistake #2: not being personal enough
One of the biggest benefits of social media marketing is the ability to cultivate meaningful relationships with your audience. However, people will always connect more deeply with other people than they will with businesses or brands.
Value posts and branded graphics highlighting interesting statistics or fun facts will generate decent engagement—but nothing will resonate with your audience more than real, personal, un-doctored photos and videos. Here are some social media post ideas that will help humanize your brand:
Document daily office life
Maybe you celebrated a co-worker’s birthday, attended a virtual training seminar, or are working remote from somewhere exotic…
Introduce your pets
There is literally nothing better than seeing cute animals in your social media feed.
How is your team making the world—or, at least your local community—a better place?
Showcase your team
Introduce team members, or—better yet—show off the highlights from your last corporate retreat or team building initiative.
Give a sneak peek
Show a curiosity-piquing snippet of something you’re working on, or your personal workspace
Bonus pro tip: try to connect these personal tidbits with your company’s mission, vision, and values.
mistake #3: not engaging authentically (or not engaging at all)
You know that out-of-the-box copy-and-paste response you’ve been using to respond to every comment? Get rid of it. Now.
Be authentic, and craft a personal, one-of-a-kind response to personal, one-of-a-kind comments…especially the unfavorable ones. We do a lot of marketing for medical and mental health clinics, and—as you may have noticed—there are a lot of outspoken social media users who don’t believe in science these days. The best way to combat a combative comment is to be kind and thorough. You probably won’t change their opinion or expand their awareness, but you will show other audience members how informed, experienced, and humanitarian you are!
Thoughtful engagement shows your audience that you’re listening, and that you care. Being lazy and using a standard corporate response shows your audience that you’re only on social media to sell your product or service, and nothing more. How cold is that?
mistake #4: posting the same exact content on all of your social media channels
Every social media platform serves a slightly different purpose and attracts a slightly different audience, so your business should be posting slightly different content to each channel. For example, one of our clients is a developmental pediatrician. When we craft her Facebook posts, we think about how to connect with parents: how can we help parents better understand and support their developmentally delayed children? However, on LinkedIn, we focus more on educating potential referral sources about clinical testing options, and the importance of early diagnosis.
Another example: you can include clickable links on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but on Instagram and TikTok you can only include a link in your bio. When I see businesses include shortlinks in their Instagram posts, it makes me cringe.
Last example: entrepreneurs and executives shouldn’t copy-and-paste social content from their business’s profiles to their own Facebook or LinkedIn profiles. Share your business’s post, but add your own unique thoughts. Tell a story that ties in to the post. Remember, people will always connect more with other people than they will with businesses or brands.
mistake #5: trusting social media management to an intern
Nothing against interns (or overseas VAs who will work for pennies on the dollar), but the person at the helm of your social media strategy should have a bit more experience. The perception that “kids” know more about social media than adults is, frankly, ageist. Kids might have their fingers on the pulse of what is trending on TikTok, but they may not know how to connect social media trends with your overall branding strategy, or know when it’s best to just leave a trend alone (ahem, dance challenges).
Social media management is also incredibly time consuming. Between generating post content and graphics for each platform, scheduling that content, managing engagement, and analyzing the results, social media marketing may require more time than an intern has to give.
And then there’s the major issue: interns aren’t permanent. Social media algorithms reward consistency. If your business is in a start-stop pattern with posting content, or the tone of your content changes abruptly as interns come and go, you’ll end up causing your brand more harm than good.
Interns or VAs can certainly help execute your social media strategy. Some tasks that a social media intern could handle include social media calendar development, social post creation, and brainstorming new campaign ideas. However, it’s important to have a team member overseeing your intern’s work, and—most importantly—helping to develop their skills. Remember, internships should be mutually beneficial…not just beneficial to your company’s bottom line.
Don’t dismiss social media as a trivial piece of the marketing puzzle—the benefits of social media marketing are unparalleled. This marketing discipline is growing more important by the day. It’s not just a worthwhile investment for your business: it’s an absolute must.
At Birdhouse Marketing & Design, we partner with small- and medium-sized businesses to develop authentic social media strategies that generate brand awareness, drive engagement, and build communities. Leverage our expertise to help design your strategy, or to manage your entire social media program. If you’d like to discuss your social media or digital marketing needs, give us a call at (617) 433-8026 or complete the brief form below: