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VOL. 38 | NO. 50 | Friday, December 12, 2014

8 social media missteps to avoid

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Social media can be an effective marketing channel, and the cost to entry – the hard cost, that is – is relatively low.

Consider, though, your annual salary multiplied by the number of hours you and your team spend on social media each year, and you will no doubt want to ensure that you are getting the most out of that significant time investment by avoiding these common missteps.

1. No strategy

Define your target audiences and research the demographics of the top social platforms with the most critical mass.

What channels are best suited for your industry (e.g., Pinterest is ideal for retailers looking to showcase new fashion or home interior products)?

2. Posting not enough or too often

While you don’t want any of your social profiles to resemble a ghost town, with weeks since your last post, it is also possible to over-post where followers begin to view your content as spam.

While the ideal posting frequency varies by industry, follower count and the type of content, a general rule of thumb is to post a couple of times a week to LinkedIn, daily to Facebook, and two to three times per day to Twitter.

3. Not tracking

The big social platforms have strong analytics for monitoring your follower growth and engagement. Combine this data with the number of visits to your website generated from your social channels and ultimately conversions (to leads or sales), and you will begin to see the complete picture.

Do keep in mind that return on investment from social media must be viewed as a long-term strategy.

4. Pushing out too much promotional content

Consider a 5 to 1 ratio – at least five posts that offer real value to your followers (e.g., educational content or special offers available only to social media followers) for every one promotional post.

5. Focusing on telling versus engaging

It’s called “social” media for a reason, and a two-way conversation is intended. As such, listen and actually converse with your follower base.

6. Getting caught up in quantity versus quality

The size of your follower base has very little to do with its value. Focus on organic growth of those within your target market who are truly interested in your content versus followers for followers’ sake.

7. Posting the same messages across all channels

There will be a percentage of your fan base that follows you across multiple channels. Mix it up, and prevent them from tuning out your content due to redundancy.

8. Not having an original thought

If you always post other people’s content, and never your own, how can you be considered a thought leader?

Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and managing partner of RedRover Sales & Marketing, www.redrovercompany.com, with offices in Memphis and Nashville. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).

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