This article by Strategic Communications’ Director Dott. Fabio Giangolini has been featured in the Sunday Times of Malta of October 4th, 2015.
From focusing exclusively on your products to duplicating messages throughout different social media channels, many are the mistakes that can hinder your online marketing and communication strategy: let’s have a look at the most common ones.
Lack of a clear strategy: do not assume that just because all your competitors are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram you should do the same. Have a clear picture of what you wish to communicate and to whom, and only then choose the social media and social networking channels to be included in your strategy. If you are into selling B2B services for instance, you may want to consider business development activities carried out via LinkedIn rather than trying to advertise your services on Facebook. In order to assess whether a specific channel is suitable for the accomplishment of your objectives, you may want to use what is called the POST approach. POST stands for People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology and it is a systematic approach to building a successful social strategy. By using POST you will have to first of all analyze your target audience and establish your objectives. After having reviewed your findings, you will then be able to devise and deploy the best strategy and select the most adequate social media channels to reach your audience and fulfil your objectives.
Sporadic posting: once you open your social media page, keep the momentum going and try and be as regular as possible with your posts, while avoiding spamming your followers. A good strategy would be to establish topics and a posting schedule.
Focusing on commercial posts: people do not access social networking sites to be inundated with commercial posts. Facebook users, for instance, spend the majority of their time checking on their friends or play online games and may simply ignore commercial messages. From January 2015, Facebook has also drastically reduced the reach of free commercially oriented posts. You should therefore keep your followers’ attention alive by posting stories that really interest them, which leads us to the next point.
Ignoring the engagement factor: do you have 30,000 followers? Well done… now what? The number of followers is not a key performance indicator anymore, at least on Facebook. Interaction between you and your followers is the name of the game and it will dictate how many of them will keep on seeing your updates in the future. Mark Zuckerberg’s social network does not show us updates from pages we seldom engage with. The least followers will like, share or comment on your updates the less they will see your next status updates, to an extent that if no engagements occur Facebook will reduce the number of users your post will be served to to the very minimum. The solution is to create original and engaging content using your website’s blog or at least publish links to third party articles which will bear some sort of relevance to your audience, thus increasing the possibility for them to go viral.
Duplicating your posts across different channels: what is the benefit for customers to following your brand on four different social networks if all the updates are the same? Offer exclusive content as an incentive to follow you across different channels. You may also have different types of competitions from one channel to the other.
Ignoring your customers’ requests: whether you like it or not, your clients are using your social media pages as customer care tools, and they expect an (almost) immediate answer to all of their questions. In many cases, social media pages are also the only touch points between companies and clients, hence procedures should be in place in order to reply as soon as possible, at least during working hours.
Failure to monitor conversions and sales leads: checking your page insights will only take you that far in understanding if a sponsored post or advertisement has been successful. If you are advertising a service or product, you will need to have the tools and personnel in place to gauge whether the number of enquiries received during the period the campaign was running has actually increased. Integration of Google Analytics with your website is also necessary, as you will be able to measure how many visits have been generated by a specific social network. Using Google Analytics also has the added bonus of allowing you to track how visitors move inside your website and monitor how many of them actually “convert” (i.e. they contact you for information, effect an online purchase, or subscribe to your newsletter).
Rating your own company: would you ever dream of liking your own status updates? Likewise rating the services of your company is a big no-no. It looks unprofessional to rate the products and services of your own company as followers may think that all the positive ratings are coming from employees or their relatives therefore making the ratings look unreliable.