Now that you know your audience and you’re sharing interactive, engaging content, here are other common mistakes to avoid, and how you can better optimize your social efforts.
1. You don’t know the difference between organic and paid
While you may know the definition of organic and paid social media advertising, you may not fully understand how to leverage each audience to your advantage or what each has to offer. Let me break it down for you.
- Builds credibility more quickly: People are more likely to trust you and revisit your site if you offer valuable content without trying to sell your product or capture their information
- Generates higher-quality traffic/leads: Organic and referral traffic have a greater chance of bringing people who are truly interested in your site versus automated responses and bots that can result from paid ads.
- Leverages your existing followers: Social organic traffic can likely be attributed to traffic from your current fans or friends of your followers, adding even more trust and brand recognition.
- It’s free! With the exception of the time put into the content and promotions, organic traffic will cost you nothing.
- Attracts new audiences while expanding your reach: In addition to your current followers, paid ads allow you to reach even more people.
- Enables niche targeting: With paid social media, you can target a specific audience based on numerous parameters such as demographics, location, keywords, interests, industry and personas.
- Increases brand awareness: By promoting to an audience outside of your current contacts and followers, you put your brand in front of others who may not already know you.
Incorporating paid social media into your strategy is important, as long as you understand that you should use it primarily to increase your organic audience to build long-term engagement and customer loyalty, in addition to expanding your brand reach. Remember, the more you give away for free, the greater the chance of someone being willing to pay for more. Recognizing the different benefits of the two types of social media advertising and knowing how to balance them is essential.
2. You’re not optimizing your content for SEO
Even if you’re not completely sure about what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is, you’ve probably heard of it, unless you are new to marketing or have been living under a rock. SEO is utilizing keywords in your content and on your website to generate a higher ranking in Google and other unpaid search engines. Think about it: How many times have you Googled something or someone and a Twitter handle or Facebook profile popped up first? This is precisely what you want to happen with your company when keywords related to your brand are searched.
Also, tying back into to what I said in my previous blog post, Facebook is the new Google, so don’t forget that social platforms are free search engines as well.
3. You’re not personalizing your posts across each social platform
Posting the same content to the same channels at the same time will land you a fast ticket to the land of the unengaged and uninterested. Personalization is key for any successful marketing strategy, on and off social media. Ask yourself this: when you are on LinkedIn, do you expect to see the same type of posts you would see on Twitter or Instagram? Probably not. Know which type of content resonates with your audience on each individual platform.
The following are my content type recommendations for various social platforms:
- Twitter: Blogs, case studies, infographics, contests, polls, chats, memes, etc.
- Facebook: Video (live and native), real-life images (employee engagement at work), innovative ideas, company-culture visuals etc.
- LinkedIn: Thought leadership articles, webinars, slideshares, long-form blog posts. etc.
- Instagram: Videos, Instagram stories, inspirational posts, authentic images, etc.
What works best for your organization will vary depending on your specific product, service and audience, which you can determine by A/B testing and measuring your results.
4. You’re not trying to turn your audience into customers
One of the key takeaways I like to emphasize is to not base your social media strategy on how many leads or sales you can get. However, this doesn’t mean you should never ask for a sale. The most effective way to increase your audience and engagement is to build trust and credibility with a substantial amount of free, useful and entertaining content. Then, and only then, should you ask someone to buy from you. For example, if you have been giving away free yoga tips on Instagram for the last several months, you can then invite your followers to check out your new studio and buy your t-shirts. Sharing free content naturally attracts interested prospects, as opposed to you constantly “pushing” your content to a broad audience.
In addition, if you’ve helped people with your content and are establishing yourself as a thought leader in that space, you should provide a call to action (CTA) via a website, so followers can learn more about your product or service and have the opportunity to move forward if they choose. While social media isn’t typically the place to go for a hard sell, that doesn’t mean you should overlook its potential to grow your business.
The tips in this blog post are designed to help you increase the number of high-quality followers and drive engagement. Don’t miss the final installment in my 5-4-3 series, in which I’ll share three more additional strategies that can quickly turn your social media results around.
Bianca Lynch is a social media strategist on a mission to empower entrepreneurs to leverage social media as a tool for increasing sales and spreading the word about their brand. After taking on a full-time social media manager role at a Fortune 500 software company, she was able to increase their overall social engagement and website traffic by over 100% in less than a year. She is now dedicated to using that knowledge and experience to help business owners build a simple, yet effective social media strategy that is personalized for them. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, or visit her website at www.biancalynch.com