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Don’t Make These 5 Fatal Social Media Marketing Mistakes in 2017

Social media marketing mistakes – no matter how minor – can cancel out whatever your business has been doing right. Give your competition a run for their money, and maximize your ROI by avoiding these common social media mistakes in 2017. 

Social Media Marketing Mistake #1: Insufficient or Inaccurate Audience Research

Are you creating social media content based on what you assume your fans and followers will like? Or do you check out your competitor’s social channels and just do whatever they’re doing?

You know what they say about assumptions, right? They make a…well, you get the idea.

Creating social media content based on assumptions or half-assed “competitor analysis” is inefficient and ineffective. You need to take the time to get to know your own audience. What are they into? What do they care about? How old are they? Where do they live? This time spent reaps big rewards in the long run.

Social Network Stat Sheets: What You Need to Know

Conducting thorough audience research will ensure that all of your social media marketing efforts are as effective as they can be. It will help you discover the best ways to attract and connect with your target audience. It will give you a better understanding of how to create content that will resonate with them, in a tone they’ll find comfortable and approachable.

Use a Listening solution like Simply Measured’s to identify these conversations and drill down on deeper data like most well-used keywords and hashtags, sentiment, and geographic area.

There are many tools and methods for conducting audience research. One of the most direct ways is to use social media monitoring to find out what your audience likes and what they think of your brand. This can help you measure the impact of your social media marketing campaigns, and identify engagement and improvement opportunities.

Pizza Hut, for example, posts several pieces of content, and then monitors their audience’s conversations about each post. The content that generates the most buzz is then used for a larger campaign to ensure their marketing is as effective as possible.

When they introduced their Triple Treat Box, Pizza Hut posted two images of the product that were almost identical, except that one had a white background and the other had a black background. They monitored the resulting conversations and found that the image with the black background performed three times better than the one with the white background. They used the image with the black background for subsequent ads, which boosted their ROI.

Social Media Marketing Mistake #2: Wasting Time on the Wrong Platforms

Another common social media marketing mistake is wasting time (and money) on the wrong platforms. This may be a result of the previous mistake. If you didn’t conduct proper audience research, you probably don’t know which social platforms are best for finding and engaging your target audience.

So you spread out your marketing across several social media channels. Not only is this time-consuming and expensive, it’s also inefficient because it prevents you from focusing your efforts on the platforms that are working for your brand. Instead, find out which social networks your target audience prefers, and concentrate your marketing efforts there.

Facebook, with 1.71 billion active monthly users, is the largest platform, and 72% of adult internet users in America use it. This could make it the best place for your brand to focus your social media marketing campaigns.

Facebook Users

Depending on your target audience, Facebook may not always be the most effective channel for your message. For instance, if you’re targeting American teens, Instagram may be a better choice. It was the most important social networking platform for this demographic at the end of 2015.

Social Media Marketing Mistake #3: Too Much Automation

Automation makes everything easier for you. It allows you to regularly post updates on your social media profiles while you’re busy taking care of other aspects of your business. But too much automation can make your social media accounts feel impersonal. It also prevents you from interacting directly with your audience, which limits your brand’s ability to build genuine bonds with them.

It’s okay to schedule your posts for specific times, but make sure you also set aside a couple of hours every day just to monitor the activity on your posts. During this period, you can answer any questions people have, and respond to any issues people have reported. You can also use the time to thank and appreciate loyal fans, which will strengthen their bonds with your company.

The Melt

A great example of how this can be done well is the way The Melt interacts with their followers on Facebook. The restaurant chain doesn’t just fill up their timeline with automated posts and hope for the best; instead, they take the time to reply to questions and comments on their posts.

Social Media Marketing Mistake #4: Too Many Sales-y Posts

Sure, social media is a great place to tell people about a sale, or promote a product launch. But if every single post on your page is promotional, your brand may come off as too pushy or sales-y. Successful social media marketing is about more than just making sales. It’s also about building relationships with your audience.

Don’t flood your followers’ feeds with posts about what your product does and why they should buy it. Provide your audience with valuable content like tips, hacks, humor, or news related to your product or service. The goal is to ensure that each post is useful to your audience, whether it makes them laugh, teaches them something new, or solves a problem for them.

Republic of Tea, for example, uses their Instagram account to not only update fans about their products, but also to provide people with useful tea-related tips. 

Social Media Marketing Mistake #5: Not Enough Visuals

If you’re not sharing videos and images on your social media accounts, you’re doing it wrong. Visual content can significantly improve your social media marketing ROI. On Twitter, for example, posts with photos are retweeted 35% more than basic text posts, and posts with videos are retweeted 28% more.


Research conducted by Chute and Digiday also found that visual content performs 4.4 times better than text content.

Now, the big question is: What type of visual content should you produce? Based on the same Chute and Digiday study, originality and uniqueness resonate most with social media audiences. They also found that professional and commissioned photos, original illustrations and graphic designs, and user-generated visuals are the top performing types of visual content on social media.

Leave these five common social media marketing mistakes behind, and start 2017 with a better, more effective social media marketing plan. Interested in enhancing your marketing efforts on social media? Check me out. 

Another way to avoid serious missteps in 2017: scoop up Simply Measured’s Conversion Tracking 101 Guide below to ensure you’re connecting thoughtful social strategy to true business value.

Get everything you need to analyze the metrics that matter

Conversion Tracking 101


Shane Barker

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant. He specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.

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