Social media, because of its convenience and addictive nature, has helped millions of businesses generate revenue from customers with an active digital presence.
Companies of all shapes and sizes are flocking to social media to reach customers that they never could earlier.
Most companies have at least 3 social media channels that they use to connect with their potential customers and showcase their products and services.
In fact, companies are now producing more social media content than ever!
But what does this mean to average social media users?
In simple terms, it’s a rat-race for attention.
If your content isn’t created right, it simply won’t penetrate the minds of your target audience.
What companies don’t realize is that - content alone won’t get you engagement and revenue.
It needs to be created within the right context, in the right quantity, for the right channels, and obviously, for the right audience.
Your social media followers consist mainly of senior professionals in your industry.
It would be a sin to create childish content that asks them to comment their favorite emoji or tag their friends to win a goodie bag.
Senior professionals need content that helps them become smarter.
In other words,
So, if your brand isn’t performing well on social media, don’t blame the crowd or the platform.
Blame the technique and the lack of strategy thereof.
Social media, unlike other hard-sell marketing methods, has to be social.
Without the “social” element, your content is just noise.
Noise that gets lost within hundreds of posts refreshing up on people’s newsfeed.
So, the main question here is - Why are so many companies using social media marketing wrongly?
Most importantly, what are the common mistakes that tons of companies in the UAE are making?
If these mistakes have been identified, how to take corrective action against them?
In this article, I’m going to do exactly that.
With the help of marketing experts in the UAE, I’ve compiled the list of mistakes that most companies do on social media.
These are comments that I’ve obtained exclusively for this article, so make sure you’re not going anywhere until you finish reading this.
You never know, your company could be making one or more of these mistakes.
Let’s see what each marketing expert has got to say about social media mistakes, and their possible solutions.
Companies are still not understanding that in 2019, if you want to enter the social space, you need to adapt completely and be human.
This basically means that your content and messaging needs to be contextual.
The creative you use and the copy you write, cannot be duplicated across all demographics.
Social media isn’t a “one size fits all” medium.
An Indian family is very different from an Emirati one, in terms of their communication styles and cultural nuances.
That’s why, brands need to adapt their message in context to their different target markets.
As per Hootsuite's Top 5 Social Media Trends in 2019 (And How Brands Should Adapt) statistic:
Your fans on social media need friendly, human interaction when it comes to customer service and community engagement.
Companies that don’t emphasize on winning the hearts of their followers lose the opportunity to turn them into loyal customers.
There will always be someone who’ll take better care of your angry fans, and if that company succeeds in winning their trust, you’ve just lost the social media game.
If you don’t treat your fans well, they’ll trade you out for another brand that goes the the extra mile to serve them better or solve their problems or give them the exact solution for their needs.
Therefore, to be more social and human on online platforms, talk to your fans in the language they speak and be mindful of their problems and grievances.
In no time, you’ll win their trust and eventually their business.
Giving too much importance to follower count specially on Facebook which makes no sense because of the 1% algorithm.
Companies pay so much to increase their followers yet only a random <1% of their audience will see their posts.
Allocate this paid advertising budget to boost organic posts and reach more people rather than wasting it on getting more followers.
Of course this doesn't mean, run a page with minimum followers because this wouldn't reflect well on the brand image but after reaching a good amount of followers just stop the spend on getting more.
I do also understand that most companies in the region suffer from what I call "Dino Rule" syndrome.
Which means the company is run or owned by "traditional managers" who are not social media savvy and they tend to treat social media as traditional marketing and insisting on follower count importance which usually leads to digital marketers being stuck in between doing the right thing and satisfying their management.
To those marketers I say: "Train, train, train. Educate, educate, educate"
Thinking that social media will change the fate of companies.
Don't get me wrong... Social media is a very powerful tool and can definitely impact the position, image and sales of a brand but one hand can't clap.
If the product is not attractive or the service is bad or mediocre then social media can do so much.
It has to be a team effort.
Brands shouldn't rely on social media to change their fate but make sure all corners are covered from branding and marketing to service and customer support and whatever comes in between.
I have also noticed that in these cases marketers tend to reinvent the wheel by applying theories and techniques that they read somewhere on the internet which is a complete waste of time and my advice for this is just keep it simple.
Social media is not rocket science.
One of the biggest mistakes that I’ve noticed brands do in social media marketing, is posting WAY too much or overselling.
The main reason people use social media is to keep up with their friends, family and favourite celebrities.
They follow brands sometimes to keep up with upcoming promotions, collections, etc.
But when that brand starts posting 2-3 images a day, and the followers’ whole feed is full of promotional posts and advertisements, it takes away from the whole personalized Instagram experience.
It’s similar to watching TV.
When you’re watching your favourite show and an advertisement pops up in between, you consider it to be an interference right?
You’ll tolerate a few ads every now and then, but when you start seeing ads repeatedly at frequent intervals, you’ll start searching for other ways to watch the show ad-free!
Brands need to keep this in mind.
Sure, social media is a free marketing tool and quite rewarding if used effectively, but too much of anything is bad.
Most of the top brands on Instagram post quite scarcely because they know it’s important to be relevant, not over-saturate.
Another mistake that I personally know a lot of people get annoyed by, is when brands try to get smart and make jokes on social situations.
I understand hopping on trends of course, but if the topics are sensitive it’s always best to stay silent.
Posting your opinion or taking a stance on social topics might get you some temporary engagement, but it’s very easy to come off as racist or sexist.
Those who agree with that particular point of view may like it, yet you risk turning a lot of people away from that brand.
Lastly, just because a brand wants to be marketed does not mean they expect it for free from influencers.
If you’re willing to pay digital or print publications, you can pay them too.
At the same time, they should not be willing to pay heaps of $$$ to fake influencers.
I personally believe it’s always best to post only quality content, if it’s related to lifestyle, that’s a bonus.
Don’t post for the sake of putting something out there.
Only post the content you truly like and believe in.
There are some brands that post often quite effectively though.
You’ll notice that their content isn’t all promotional.
A makeup brand, for example, can get away with posting often if they ensure that their content is a mix of new product launch ads, makeup tutorials, celebrities/influencers using their products, makeup tips, etc.
This way, when a follower views the post, they’re not just thinking, “Oh great another advertisement”.
They’re getting quality content from the brand, and this will help the brand stay relevant as well.
As for the social situations topic, honestly brands should just stay away from them completely.
You’re out there to sell your product/service.
Interfering with people’s thoughts and beliefs will almost always lead to no good.
Unless the issue is something that’s for the good of people, or something the brand believes in, like women’s rights or ending poverty, it’s always better to just stay silent.
I think one of the top social media marketing mistakes, is when companies post on social media just for the sake of posting and being seen by customers with no clear strategic plan.
They keep sharing & reusing the same content across all their platforms, without proper analysis of why even have a profile on twitter when there’s no plan for engaging in conversations with the users.
Another mistake I’ve seen is the rush to join any social media trend.
The most recent one was the talking egg (also known as world_record_egg), that garnered the highest amount of likes on Instagram and the 10-year challenge.
Within a couple of days, there were millions of posts from customers & companies.
Some companies were creative, referring to their impact in people’s lives in the past ten years.
But I believe before indulging in any social media trend, every marketer should ask first:
- Is there a real impact by my post that will differentiate my brand from others?
- Am I adding value to the company with this post?
- Am I prepared to manage any crisis or negative feedback?
After answering these with clear objectives, the creative part in making cool and innovative campaigns arise.
Stop being boring on social media.
It's your only shot at interacting with potential customers online.
As Naomi and Salma have mentioned earlier, don't just post for the sake of completing your monthly social media calendar cycle.
Apart from your social media channels looking "filled", you won't really rack up any serious engagement, if your objective wasn't to engage in conversations.
And with the news of Facebook Zero, posting unnecessary content will do more harm than good.
In case you had been living under a rock, Facebook Zero has been stirring up the curiosity and creativity of social media managers all over the region.
Just to give you a recap, changes to the Facebook algorithm were announced last year in January.
“Over the next few months, we’ll be making updates to ranking so people have more opportunities to interact with the people they care about.
Mark (Zuckerberg) outlined this in a post today.”
“As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media.
And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard – it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
Creating engaging posts isn't an option anymore. It's your only chance for survival, organically.
As marketers, we need to shift our focus on creating content that's potentially viral and engages fans in conversations, instead of updating the page's status with some quote or image.
When it comes to paid advertising, don't just boost posts expecting leads to flow in.
Spend some time understanding your target market and ask yourself questions like:
- What problems do they need help with?
- Can your product make their life easier and more fun?
- Will your product help them live a better lifestyle?
Once you understand this, then reverse-engineer your thought process to come up with a campaign idea.
Here's one example of Facebook ads by UAE-based brand, Service Market that I find amusing.
Notice how their ads cleverly infuse 2 messages within a single sentence.
Instead of resorting to cryptic ads, Service Market focuses on the simpler things in life that can make a world of difference to their customers.
This is social media done rightly.
Simple, fun and impactful.
Just to recap, create content that invites comments and conversations.
So, stop talking AT your audience, and start talking TO them ;)