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Common mistakes in social media marketing

social media is a gigantic message broadcasting machinery that casts a comfortable shade in which any business or individual could shelter.

Shockingly, even though its horizons stretch far beyond what was unimaginable two decades ago, still locally businesspeople don’t realise that the try-out period for social media is long past, and therefore there should always be an ability to show the impact of any social media investments.

The most immediate benefit of social media is the advantage it gives in the strategic battle to capture public attention.

Importantly, just “being on social media” without a doubt provides a good head start, nonetheless, the particular kind of mindset required to thrive on the social platforms has also evolved as they have become the primary channel for customer service.

The dynamics of social media are such that most of the communication remains visible in the public domain, which makes it a necessity to always get it right because of the added extra pressure.

Some of the common mistakes are as follows:

Connecting only with people we know

Just connecting only with people you know is a big mistake and every business should aim to connect or follow other businesses because value is created by being part of a community.

Social media has long ceased to be just an advertising platform and more about creating a community.

There is absolutely no reason to create limitations for the power of social media by erecting boundaries around your supposed sphere of influence.

The advantage of having a bigger audience is that a single message can reach multitudes instantly without having to do much more than crafting the message creatively. In addition, a much broader audience also expands your sphere of influence because information normally travels at the speed of lighting.

As an example, currently someone might have 8 600 followers on LinkedIn, most of whom they have neither communicated with on a personal level nor met, however the probability is that at least 8 600 people might see any of the posts that they make at any given time.

Besides, many business people have been fortunate to get good business from some of their social media followers.

Networking is connecting with people, start exploiting those social platforms.

Selling something in every post we make

As earlier mentioned, social media is no longer about marketing and advertising as it has evolved into a tool of providing customer service and information.

On several occasions customers or prospects find it easier to communicate with businesses through social platforms, and it shouldn’t be a big surprise when people begin to shun your messages if they are always about selling something.

In addition, people connect easily with brands that provide them with valuable information rather than those always trying to sell them something at every given opportunity.

For instance, Apple has mastered the art of providing detailed information about their latest devices and rarely inserts the price; it just prompts a call to action.

The reader becomes better informed of the Apple products, and is unknowingly prompted to take action that leads them to a landing page with even more information about the product.

The information might now include the price and the payment options.

The best advertisement is one that creates conversation and leaves people better informed.

Social media is used mainly for socialising and people rarely make purchases on it, therefore just join the conversations while cleverly placing your products and services in the minds of the community.

I remember Strive Masiyiwa saying that to advertise the EcoCash money transfer platform they paid people to board local minibuses and discuss the product without even trying to coerce people to use the platform.

As unorthodox the method might have been, nonetheless it achieved two objectives in the sense that it was cost-effective and also ensured that the target market was left better informed about the new service that was being introduced onto the market.

As an example, when people are discussing about malaria, a company that manufactures mosquito repellent jelly could join the conversation and start providing statistics about the mortality rates from malaria, the lives saved by using mosquito repellent jelly etc.

People will connect easily with that company rather than if it tried to just inform people that they should buy their mosquito repellent jelly.

Boosting the wrong posts

It is very true that mostly the organic reach of posts made on Facebook now, is very low.

Therefore, people are boosting posts to get better reach.

As much as boosting posts is a brilliant idea, one needs to know which posts to boost exactly, which creates a dilemma for any organisation.

Though the decision can be very tough, nevertheless the rule of thumb dictates that only posts that you want to reach a wide audience, with potential to have an effect and influence on the community should be boosted.

There is absolutely no need to boost each and every post because other posts can be used to engage with your community so as to influence conversation.

Unless it’s an important announcement, avoid boosting posts that don’t prompt a call to action.

For instance, unless a blog post prompts people to take a specific action like downloading a book or registering for an event there, in no point in boosting it.

Social media investments should always provide a return on investment at the end of the day.

l Trust Nhokovedzo is an international digital marketing consultant and trainer. He is the founder of Afrodigital Skills Training (www.afrodigital.org) and a senior consultant at Calmlock Web Design.

He can be reached on trust@afrodigital.org A continuation of this article will be published in the coming week.
*This article was contributed on behalf the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe, a leading body of marketing professionals promoting professionalism to the highest standards for the benefit of the industry and the economy at large.

For any further information on how to have a digital marketing qualification, contact training@mazim.co.zw or visit the website on www.maz.co.zw.

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