Mistakes in social media strategy will negatively impact results, and knowing what to look for can help improve success.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought declines in marketing budgets but significant increases in the percent of those budgets spent on social media (23.2%, according to Marketing Charts). With increased spending comes increased expectations for return on investment. How do you ensure you are spending your time and money on the right social media channels, with the right message to gain the best results? Start with avoiding these common mistakes.
Bigger isn’t always better
It is tempting to focus on global monthly active users (MAUs) when deciding where to focus social media marketing resources. MAUs are important, but the biggest platforms don’t always perform the best when it comes to marketing objectives such as website traffic, leads and conversions.
The analytics company Parse.ly found size of social channel didn’t always predict the best results. Overall referral traffic to its website is driven by the largest social platform, Facebook, yet the second and third highest platforms were Twitter and Pinterest, which are fourth and sixth in total users. Twitter, with only a third of Instagram’s users, sent six times the traffic to their website.
When Parse.ly looked more specifically at the social platforms sending the most returning visitors to its website, they found Twitter was the highest-performing platform, followed by Facebook, Reddit, Pinterest, LinkedIn and then Instagram. Don’t assume the largest social platform is the best.
Followers may not be customers
Another easy mistake to make is focusing social media marketing on current followers. Social media followers are a good thing, but they don’t always translate into delivering the most sales. It is important to dig into the numbers further and verify that the target audience is really who you think.
The social media agency BSquared found this out for a client. The brand defined their target audience from social media follower data as 18- to 24-year-olds. BSquared added social listening data based on people talking about the brand in all social channels — not just brand owned pages. They also added social media and digital advertising data that tracked sales.
When the social agency and brand looked at the new data they found the next two older demographic groups contained 90% of their buyers compared to only 10% of the 18- to 24-year-olds purchasing products. Don’t assume your brand page followers are your best customers.
Hype doesn’t make right
As a marketer in any industry it is hard to ignore the hype over new social media platforms. A mistake is to let the hype be the main reason to open a brand account on a new platform. In the past this may have been social platforms such as Meerkat and Snapchat. Today, the enormous growth and attention devoted to TikTok has been hard to ignore. Yet it is important to keep a strategic perspective.
A third of TikTok users are 10 to 19 years old (32.5%) with another third under 29. If your target market is older such as Millennials, Gen X or Boomers, TikTok may not be a good investment to reach that audience. Yet, the platform may be worth considering for different strategic reasons to reach a secondary audience.
The Chicago Bulls knew TikTok was not right for their core audience but saw opportunity to grow the next generation of fans. They also knew their typical social content wouldn’t be right for this unique platform. Team mascot Benny the Bull became their spokesperson to for popular dance challenges becoming the most followed sports account. Don’t invest in new platforms until you’ve determined the right reasons and ways to participate.
Two may be better than one
Another common misconception is considering only one target audience to reach the same marketing objective. There may be multiple target audiences that can be reached with different messages in different social media platforms or even the same social media channels.
Undergraduate enrollment is an objective for many college’s and the target market is high school students. Yet, parents are also influential in this decision for different reasons. The strategy should include a primary target audience of high schools students but also include a secondary target of parents. Certain food products may have children as the primary consumer, but parents are the primary grocery shopper and purchase the product for different reasons.
These two targets may be active on separate social media channels or active on the same social media platform. Through demographic targeting in social advertising different audiences can be reached with different messages even on the same social media platform. Don’t assume brands can only have one account on each platform or that one account can’t post different messages to different targets.
To choose the right social media channels for your social media marketing it is important to always keep a strategic mindset. Avoid these common assumptions while focusing on marketing objectives, target audience, social platform users content. Look for the ideal vehicles to deliver brand messages and engage the target audience to deliver the right message to the right people in the right environment for a return on your investment.