What pitfalls should marketers watch out for in embracing social media for marketing?

Social Media Marketing is fast becoming a necessity in a marketer’s toolbox. As per the latest Social Media Forecast from Forrester Research, the social media advertising spend in the US is set to reach $16.2 billion by 2016, up from $7.3 billion in 2014. This is an increase of almost ten times from 2009, when it was around $1.6 billion and represents a CAGR of 17.4%.

At this time, it is critical for marketers to understand the key pitfalls that may arise in pursuing a social media marketing strategy.

Shooting in the dark: First of all, it is important to understand the pertinence of social media marketing for your company and then make a plan for it. Listening is an important part of the planning, and can help understand the company brand perception, competition and identify key opportunities.

Most companies make the mistake of not dedicating time for a social media plan. In absence of a concrete roadmap, even good content may get lost in the clutter that consumers are flooded with daily.

It is important to deliver a consistent message, which also gels with the other traditional and digital marketing channels.

Lack of resources: Social media marketing needs continuous attention and inputs. Companies need to spend and allocate separate resources to plan, execute and maintain their social media presence. This kind of commitment is very necessary in order to capture the consumers’ interest, or else they may decide to go with another brand.

Responsiveness and Regularity of Posts: There is nothing more annoying than to see a blog or a social media page that has not been recently updated. Companies need to periodically review and update their social media existence in order to keep it current and relevant. It is also important to focus on the message of the brand that is being promoted rather than just posting for the sake of it.

Failing to understand the uniqueness of each Social Media Platform: Just blasting the same message across different social media websites may cause the message to lose its authenticity. Each social media channel has its own audience, language and customs. Companies need to understand how people are communicating on a particular network and tailor the strategy to fit the platform.

Inability to leverage Data Analytics: It is not enough to come up with a social media strategy and to execute it. It needs continuous fine tuning, which can be accomplished by effective use of Data analytics. Companies need to measure performance periodically and monitor trends over time. The strategy can then be reassessed and improved upon.

 

Not able to interact with and engage consumers: It is important to establish a sustainable community around a brand. For this, companies need to keep the audience engaged by regularly posting thoughtfully. Also it is necessary to reply to posts, thoughts and questions posted by consumers. Posts going unanswered, especially the negative ones, can have a huge impact on the perception of consumer support provided by the brand and may lead them to look elsewhere.

Inability to look beyond immediate ROI: Social media marketing is a long term strategy. Though the buzz for the brand across social media can demonstrate an increase, it can be difficult to clearly quantify the ROI. However, companies need to look beyond instant gratification and leverage the use of Social Media in building a long term brand image.

Thus, establishing a strong social media presence is key to the success of a company’s marketing strategy. By avoiding these social media pitfalls, companies can focus effectively on reaching out to potential customers, interacting with their current user base, and increasing sales.

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