Social media marketing offers a massive potential customer base to brands that use it right. However, it can sometimes be difficult to get social media “right.” There are so many elements that contribute to social media success that it’s easy to implement one or more of them poorly.
If social engagement on a brand’s page is lower than expected, it’s a sign that they might be doing something wrong. At that point, it becomes a challenge to locate which of the elements of good social media practice is affected. To help, 15 experts from Forbes Agency Council explore the most common things that a marketing team facing low engagement numbers might have gotten wrong in their social channels.
1. Failing To Connect And Engage
The key to high engagement is consistent, current and engaging content. Remember, audiences want authenticity, creativity, education, entertainment, humor and lifestyle on a daily basis — so create content that is unique, think outside of the box and hit these key elements in your posts and captions. Be different; tell your brand story so you connect with your audiences. – Sherri Nourse, Ambition Media
2. Not Understanding Your Target Audience
First, are the posts speaking at your audience or are they facilitating conversations? It is so important to understand the lifestyle and personality of the people that you are speaking with and offer up value to them. Create a variety of post types so the audience doesn’t become fatigued with the same thing. – Bryan Bielefeldt, Zero Gravity Marketing LLC.
3. Being Too Self-Focused
One of the biggest mistakes on social is the tendency to be too “self-focused.” Instead, aim for 10% of your posts to be about you and your company (including promotional offers). Thirty percent should be original content you create that has educational or entertainment value, and 60% should be curated content from other sources. Lastly, mix it up and make sure you have plenty of images, video, quotes and links. – Karen Leland, Sterling Marketing Group
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4. Not Matching Content With Channel
A social media mistake is not matching the right content with the right channel. While people may be on multiple social channels, they use each for different reasons. Posting the same content on all social channels will impact engagement across the board. Much like Bravo and NatGeo are very different, so are FB and TikTok. Understand how your audiences are using each channel before creating content. – Brian Sullivan, Sullivan Branding
5. Overthinking, Lacking Authenticity
Overthinking and a lack of authenticity are big mistakes on social media. Oftentimes, brands overthink social strategy, and the result is inadequate output through their social channels. Brands should focus on consistently adding engaging and authentic content. Don’t overthink each post and only publish the boring and perfect side of the business. Be authentic. – Travis Peters, EightPM
6. Disconnecting From The Pulse Of The Market
When I see low engagement with a brand on social media, it’s usually related to a disconnect from the pulse of the marketplace. Sometimes the disconnect revolves around posting content centered on the product, service or company as opposed to focusing on their audience. Other times, the posting cadence, content or topics are tone-deaf to what their community is actually interested in. – Trish Thomas, TEEM
7. Not Speaking To The Moment
Today more than ever, authenticity is essential for any brand. If your posts don’t speak to the moment (we’re in a pandemic, racial injustice is top of mind, etc.) and come off as “business as usual,” no one is going to engage. Consumers are living the realities of their own lives, and you have to meet them where they are, wherever it is at that time. – Paul Canetti, Bounce House
8. Falling Into The ‘Post And Pray’ Cycle
To get engagement, you need to be engaging. It is easy to fall into the “post and pray” cycle. A common workflow is to create a content calendar, craft the content, then schedule it out. The problem with this method is that it doesn’t take connection into consideration. The marketing team needs to put as much thought into the outreach strategy as they do into the content strategy. – Kami Watson Huyse, Zoetica
9. Overpromoting Your Brand
We see several brands overpromote on social media. The rule of thumb is to post one promotion or call-to-action-based piece of content to every four messages. Engage with your audience. Entertain, educate and inform them. Then sell. – Lori Jones, Avocet Communications
10. Not Having Defined Goals
Not having defined goals will cause teams to lack understanding of who their target audience is and maintain a consistent, authentic voice and tone. Knowing and understanding your audiences’ needs will help teams determine what social media sites to be present and active on, when to publish, have a clear brand voice, as well as the type of content that addresses their needs and pain points. – Jonas Muthoni, Deviate Agency
11. Having Poor Timing
When you are posting on social media can be just as important as what you are posting on social media. In the COVID-19 era, social media habits are shifting and audiences are tuning in at different times of the day then they used to. Make sure you are considering when your audience is online so you can put content out at the times that they are most likely to see it. – Katie Schibler Conn, KSA Marketing
12. Posting Things People Don’t Care About
Post things that people actually care about, and make it clear how the information or offer is useful to them. With social media becoming more popular, it also has a huge influx of poorly constructed messages and ads. Don’t be that person or company. Lead, don’t follow. – David Kley, Web Design and Company
13. Not Creating Emotional Engagement
Video is more engaging than static content. Also, there are better and worse times to post — tailor to what works for your audience. Most importantly, social media experts can quote numbers about what works, but creating emotional engagement with your audience is an art, not math. If it doesn’t stir your soul, it isn’t stirring anyone else’s either. Hire expert storytellers who can grab someone’s attention and hold it. – Abigail Hirschhorn, Human Intelligence | H.I.
14. Using Tags And Hashtags Ineffectively
Effective use of tags and hashtags for the win! When you are drafting messages, ensuring they are relevant to a larger audience will get your posts attention, particularly when you properly use hashtags based on your target market search. To bring your posts greater attention, tag individuals and companies most relevant — it will be called out to them to act upon. – Ilissa Miller, IMiller Public Relations
15. Putting All Emphasis On Visuals
With social media platforms being so visual, one of the most common mistakes I see is putting nearly all the emphasis on the photo or video. Of course that is important, but I find the caption and messaging is equally, if not more, important. A message that inspires and connects with an audience is more likely to prompt followers to like, comment, save and share than just a beautiful photo. – Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR