By now it seems every business, both large and small, has a social media presence. But as social media is still a relative toddler in the marketing landscape, we see companies making the same mistakes repeatedly.
Is your company making any of these mistakes?
1) Not starting with a plan. Every social media campaign should follow an overall plan. But I’m going to take it a step further and say it should be just a piece of your overall marketing plan. Your marketing plan should be a cohesive strategy that includes social media. Social should never be executed in a vacuum.
2) Ignoring your plan. How many companies have taken the time to create a social media plan, then promptly ignored it? The result of this is usually a series of haphazard posts with no cohesive theme, voice, or detectible strategy.
3) Dismissing social media completely. We are past the point of social media being the latest fad. Social is here, it’s a powerful tool, and it’s one you can’t afford to ignore. Your customers and clients are there, and you should be, too.
4) Giving up too soon. So your sales haven’t increased by 200% since you started your social media campaign? You don’t have over 1,000 followers on Twitter? Welcome to the real world. Social media takes time and patience. The point of social media isn’t advertising, but forging relationships with your audience or followers. Relationships take time, and so will your social media efforts.
5) Being too sales focused. As I pointed out in the previous post, social media shouldn’t be used to “sell.” Sure, a call to action now and then is appropriate-after all you are running a business. But people don’t use social media to hear advertising noise. They want to interact with real people.
6) Forgetting the social part of social media. This is, of course, related to number 5 above, but too many people use social media as just another marketing channel. But social media isn’t a billboard-it’s a way of interacting with customers and potential customers. It’s a conversation, which is a two-way street. People don’t want to be talked at- they want a conversation. If you don’t converse, people will go elsewhere, because social media is about people, not products.
7) Inconsistent posting and ignoring posts. We’ve all seen these social media accounts. The ones that have five posts in one week, then nothing for three months. Even worse are the accounts with several posts from customers needing assistance or having questions, and no responses from the account owners. Just…crickets…
8) Improper responses. The great thing about social media is that everyone can participate if they choose. It gives your customers a voice, and it’s a great way to communicate with your customers. The worst thing about social media? You get the idea. The point is, your customers have a voice. While it’s 100% normal for customers to encounter issues, questions, or problems, a small percentage of those same customers will chose to express themselves in not-so-nice ways. How you respond is critical. While you should never, EVER ignore legitimate questions and complaints-rude, abusive or offensive posts should be dealt with differently. This is the only time it is permissible to delete a post from your social media page. If you do choose to respond to an abusive comment, do so with caution. It would be appropriate, for example, to post a reminder that your social media policy is to not allow rude, abusive or otherwise offensive comments. Our own social media policy states that curse words will be deleted immediately.
9) Using a social media platform just because it’s there. Different social media platforms are great for different things, but don’t feel you have to be on every social network just to say you’re there. Are your customers there? If not, you’re just wasting your time. Too many companies feel they have to be everywhere at once, and that the more social media channels they’re on-the better. This isn’t necessarily the case, however. Don’t spread your resources too thin. Concentrate on a small, targeted presence, and only expand into other channels if it makes sense for your company to be there.
10) Handing your social media accounts to the wrong person.
It’s a debate as old as social media itself, but to whom do you hand over the social media accounts? An intern? A secretary? A marketing specialist? The answer? It depends. I won’t go into the whole intern versus full time employee debate, but the person in charge of social media should understand not just the tactics and tools, but the overall strategy as well. They should understand the company and culture, the product or service, know how to write, etc. They have direct interactions with customers, the media, and other businesses, and for many, they will be the face of your business
There are several more, but we decided to limit ourselves to 10. What are the top mistakes you see business making on social media?
Google announced late last week that its search algorithm has undergone a complete overhaul. Not since 2001 has Google so dramatically changed the way it processes searches, and this latest iteration is an effort to make the search results more semantic.The new algorithm is aptly named Hummingbird, because according to Google, the new search engine is “precise and fast.”
However, even though the change was just announced last week, the new algorithm was actually put into place last month. Although it has been almost completely revamped, it still uses elements from the old algorithm, so Panda, Penguin, and PageRank are still in place. You can read more about the technical side of the algorithm change here.
In the end, what does this mean for SEO, web, and marketing professionals? This particular writer believes Hummingbird is actually an improvement, even with the decreased ability to track things like specific keyword searches and bounce rates.
First, it places more emphasis on the actual content of the site. Google has been moving in this direction with the last few updates, but now content is more important than ever. Web authors can’t stuff their content with keywords and expect Google to rank the site very high. Google will penalize a site for this, so writing for bots is an even bigger mistake than it has been in the past. Though it could be a little more difficult to track what customers are searching for via keyword, businesses that actually engage with their customers will emerge the clear winners. Knowing what your customers are looking for will pay off big time.
Second, focusing solely on bounce rate and hits from specific keywords doesn’t give you an accurate picture to begin with. Say a potential customer does bounce from your site. Do you know why? At that point, they may have arrived at your site because of a specific keyword, so now what? Obviously your site didn’t live up to their expectations in some way. Either your site architecture wasn’t pleasing, or the content wasn’t what they were looking for. No amount of keyword research is going to fix either of those two problems.
Third, since Google is trying to match the actual intent of the search more closely with the results, the visitors to your site will be more likely to be looking for what you have to offer. If you are an authority in your field, and have relevant content on your site, you will be more likely to be found by people truly searching for you.
Fourth, Google may penalize marketers who rely on links in press releases to drive traffic to a site, as it’s considered spam behavior. It recommends using the nofollow attribute in the press release links, which tells the bots not to follow the link. People reading the press release can still click on it, of course, which is why the press releases should be used in the traditional sense of conveying a message to journalists, and NOT to bring traffic to a site.
Finally, since more people are now searching for you via mobile device, the chances of them searching via voice search is increasing, and Hummingbird takes this into account. When people speak, they generally use more complex phrases, which Google has designed the new algorithm to accommodate.
So what’s the take away from these changes? Web content creators and marketing professionals will need to write compelling content people want to read, knowing people are using real, more complex phrases to search for content. Following the Rules of Google isn’t really that difficult, and will ensure people searching for what you have to offer will actually find you.