Nearly 4 in 5 Americans are on social media today. We spend so many hours of each day sharing pictures, news and life events with our friends and family on social media that we probably need no help in using social media to promote our business, right?
This false assumption that the knowledge of social media for personal use can directly be applied to social media marketing for your brand or business is what results in mind-numbingly boring brand pages on social media.
Don’t be a social media casualty. Here are the most critical things to stop doing right NOW with your social media marketing to avoid sounding like a cliché.
#1 Being too sales-y
Nobody likes being sold to. People like it even lesser when they are sold to on a constant basis. Understand that your fans don’t log on to social media to read your self-promotional posts. Their primary purpose is to connect with friends and family, entertain themselves, and if they still have time left over, to look up brands that they like on social media.
Source: Instead of blatantly pitching the wide range of its products on social media, GE offers interesting tidbits of information about them that make people want to know more about them
Stop littering your timeline with posts that tell your users to buy, buy and buy some more. If you DO have to talk about your products in most of your posts, make sure you highlight the remarkable features and benefits that are unique to your product to make the post interesting for your fans.
#2 Leaving your brand personality at the door
Social media is a fantastic way to get one-on-one with your users. From a user’s perspective too, social media offers a never-before chance to get to know their favorite brands on a personal level. Who would have thought a decade ago that you could directly write to the Rolling Stones and hope to get a reply back form them?
Source: Denny’s has a laidback and funny persona that shines through on social media
Whether you’re promoting a home-based business on one or two platforms or a million dollar brand with entire teams dedicated to social media marketing, make sure that you infuse every post you put out there with the brand personality that defines your brand. Forget about that bland, boring update about the latest price off that you have on your products. Let users get a taste of what rocks your world and create posts that lets them become a part of that world.
#3 Being as predictable as sunrise
Most brands on social media have a calendar that they live by. While this is a great idea to ensure that you have a regular stream of posts going out there, it also brings in a monotony to your posts that can put any fan to sleep.
Work your social media schedules in such a way that you don’t create a predictable pattern and keep your posts on social media fresh and interesting on a constant basis.
#4 Being repetitive. A tad too much.
Creating content is expensive business. Curating content, where you pay someone else a license fee for using their content can cost a smart penny as well. Thanks to budgetary constraints, many brands recycle their existing content by reposting it on social networks.
However, there is a dual problem with reposting existing content. Do it too little and your content costs will spiral out of control. Do it too much and your fans will stop engaging with your brand out of sheer boredom.
A good halfway house for such a scenario is repurposing existing content instead of merely reposting content in its original format. Repurposed content basically refers to content that is reworked into a different format or new insights culled out of it and presented in a fresh manner.
#5 Sharing irrelevant information
While it’s a great strategy to publish content that is not purely self-promotional on social media, it’s even more important that the content you publish is relevant to your audience and your brand. Posting half-baked, uninteresting or extraneous content is a surefire strategy to alienate and confuse your audience.
Before you create content for social media, profile your users, understand what their likes and dislikes are, get a hang of what might be useful to them and then proceed to create your content. It is not even necessary to always create your own content to match your audience’s tastes.
Source: StateFarm Insurance uses a simple infographic to illustrate a complicated calculation of potential earnings on retirement funds – something that their target audience definitely cares about.
Content created by others may be reposted with proper attribution and permissions as long as it will be of value to your readers. Industry reports, new research related to your product or industry, even research on topics unrelated to your industry or brand but of interest to your target audience is a good bet on social media.
#6 Not using images
Research has shown over and over again the overwhelming importance of images on social media. Nearly all social networks around today are image dominated. From Facebook to Pinterest to Instagram, images have taken over the social space online.
Why, even a primarily textual social network like Twitter bowed to the growing popularity of images and redesigned itself in 2014 to let images take center stage.
Source: Kissmetrics data
Clearly, this focus on images is well founded in facts. From the image above we see that image based posts on Facebook get more than twice as many comments as textual or link based posts.
#7 Talking AT them, not TO them
Social media is all about conversations. If the conversation does not flow back and forth, one of the primary purposes of being on social media is defeated. How you word your posts makes a big difference in engaging your audience in a real way. A post that asks an open ended question to fans is likely to get a higher rate of engagement than a post that simply makes company announcements or talks about product news.
No matter what social network your brand may be active on, put on your listening ears and keep close tabs on what your fans are saying online. Tools like Socialmention help you understand what fans are saying about your brand, what the primary mood of these conversations is, what problems they face with your product or brand and what ways you can improve user satisfaction with your brand.
It is only when we stop looking at social media as a free (mostly) marketing tool and instead look at it a bridge to reach our consumers directly that we will see real successes on the medium. Like every other marketing tool, social media is only as complicated as you let it be.
About the Author Rohan: is a serial blogger and digital strategy consultant at E2M Solutions, a full service online marketing agency. He also helps startups develop remarkable user experiences at OnlyDesign.org. You should follow him at @searchrook on Twitter.