Social media is a valuable tool for businesses, but only if they use it to their best advantage and avoid these three common mistakes.

81% of small and medium businesses use a social platform. And we all understand why. By 2019, it is estimated that there will be around 2.77 billion social media users around the globe. That’s a lot of potential customers.

There’s no disputing social media is an effective way to increase brand awareness and generate leads. But it can be fairly useless if your company isn’t doing it right. Click To Tweet

So, there’s no question as to why companies are jumping on the social media bandwagon. And there’s no disputing social media is an effective way to increase brand awareness and generate leads. But it can be fairly useless if your company isn’t doing it right.

Top three social media mistakes companies make

Mistake #1: Using objectives instead of strategy

Social media platforms are continually making changes and updates to improve the user experience. In order to weather these changes and keep your audience engaged, it’s imperative to have a clear strategy that includes types of content, frequency, and pillar topics.. Posts should reflect your brand, so make sure posts follow style guidelines and reflect your specific tone.

A strategy will also help prove ROI. Social Media Examiner’s 2018 Social Media Marketing Industry Report found that only 44% of marketers agree that they know how to measure social media ROI. That means two-thirds of marketers don’t know whether or how much their marketing efforts are paying off when it comes to the use of social media. A strategy that incorporates defined goals, tracking and measuring will help prove data-driven ROI and improve your social media presence.

Mistake #2: Using the most popular social media platforms

Not all social media platforms are created equal. In fact, all social media channels have a differentiating quality that makes them appealing to specific audiences. Start by identifying where your target audience is spending their time. For example, 81% of millennials view their Twitter account on a daily basis. If your company is looking to capture millennials as leads, your social media efforts should certainly include Twitter.

Once you’ve determined where you should be posting, concentrate on creating content that caters to those specific platforms. Lots of companies post the same content across all of the apps they use. We understand how easy that is for marketers, especially with automation tools. But the foundation of social engagement is authenticity, something that is hard to achieve when posts are the same across all channels. Work to create content — including video and images — that caters to specific platforms to build brand awareness and loyalty.

Mistake #3: Promoting instead of connecting

Social media is all about engagement. Users don’t want to engage with brands that are pushing their products and services. Users want informative, interesting, and yes, even fun content. Companies need to focus on creating content that leaves their users wanting more.

Companies that are succeeding on social media are finding innovative and creative ways to relate to users. When you engage and get users involved in your story, you create long-lasting customer relationships. Storytelling creates an emotional bond with your company and drives brand loyalty.

Greg Hadden, executive creative director of Motive Made Studios, sums up the power of connecting with users: “What often gets lost is the fact that good storytelling is potent stuff. It has the power to make people want to believe and to belong, which is the goal of all storytellers. We’re all selling something, be it an idea, an exploration of the human condition, or say, a vacuum cleaner. It’s no mistake perhaps that good stories often create products.”

Final thoughts

Social media platforms are a powerful resource that can help your business grow. But they have to be used correctly. Creating a documented strategy will help shape your brand’s social media presence and give you milestones to test and tweak your progress. Need help creating a social media strategy? Let us help.

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