Stacey E. Burke: 20-year-old attorney and legal marketing expert whose firm advises law firms in all practice areas.
Social media continues to be a vibrant, engaging set of digital platforms designed to inform, engage, meet and connect. As most networks continue to grow their daily active users, newbies — and even seasoned users — may be guilty of making some common social media marketing mistakes. Below is a list of eight common mistakes to avoid and why.
1. Subtitle failed
The social media caption, or the words you type next to or below your image or video content, is extremely important to the success of a social post. If you write a caption that is too long, a user will have to click to expand it, and many won’t. Placing your hyperlink at the bottom of a long caption will reduce or even eliminate link clicks, a very important performance indicator. Hashtags are another strategic option where many users make big mistakes. Don’t make up your own hashtags. It serves no purpose. Hashtags are there to make your content searchable by topic, so research and use the right hashtags in every caption, but don’t overdo it. Hashtags are also not useful on all social networks, so use them only where necessary. On Facebook, for example, I’ve found that they’re largely worthless.
2. Bad images
An image is the first thing a user notices on a social media post. Make it interesting and make sure it’s related to the topic of the content you’re sharing. For example, don’t use a cartoon or youthful-looking stock photo for a serious post about culpable homicide. Use infographics, videos, and photos of real clients or customers if you have their permission and are legally able to do so. People are much more likely to pause, pay attention and engage with content that has a human interest element or something intriguing in the images to grab their attention.
3. Rate visible stats over clicks
Many professionals new to the use of social media wonder why their tweets, updates or posts don’t get a lot of attention. Someone even posted on Twitter asking how accounts with big followers don’t have a lot of individual tweet engagement. My answer to him (and to you) is simple: click links. While many users have no say in your content and some don’t want to comment on it under their own name for privacy reasons, if they click the link to your website, blog, media coverage, or what kind of content you share is that stat really is much more valuable than a bunch of random people clicking a heart icon on Twitter.
4. Post without strategy
Social media channels come with freely available statistics, so why not see what times of the day and days of the week your content performs best and schedule your posts for those times? Use the available statistics and zoom in on the data to make your message as effective as possible. For example, if your followers skew men and you want to attract more female followers, write content that appeals to them, share it, and promote it only to women in the industry or geographic location that makes sense for the post. The bottom line is, don’t just post whenever you want, as often as you want, about whatever you want. Be strategic so you don’t just share content that disappears into the vast void of social media.
5. Don’t Include Social Media Icons On Your Website
I still see this error more often than I can believe, from the smallest company to the largest. If you have a meaningful and active social media presence on one or more channels, then you absolutely need to include links to those channels on your website in multiple locations so that users can easily find the channels and follow you. Pro Tip: Make sure that when a user clicks on the social media icons on your website, they open in a new tab or window.
6. Self-promotion only
If you only share content that promotes yourself or your business, it gets boring very quickly. Mix it up by sharing content from relevant news sources, interesting community events, helpful tips from government agencies and more. If your business is just sharing your own content on social media, you’re doing it wrong.
7. No Community Management
Social media is all about being social, so if you automatically pass your content (which I don’t recommend) to all your networks and never check what’s happening, you’re not social. Community management is the process by which managers monitor the notifications for each channel and interact with each other in some way, including responding to comments, removing and excluding negative users, responding to user reviews, inviting those involved with your content to channel to follow and more.
8. Don’t Advertise
Organic reach on social media really isn’t a viable strategy anymore, especially on Facebook. Only a very small percentage of your followers even see your content these days, so putting even a small amount behind each post so you can target it to your followers and/or the right demographic will always make a huge difference in engagement and in increasing your following.