Companies new to social media attempt to use it as a customer acquisition channel often make mistakes, some of which are less obvious than others. As with many aspects of social media marketing, there’s no surefire secret sauce recipe. It takes moxie, creativity, and a lot of experimentation before you learn what works best for your brand.
The easiest way to avoid them is to work with an SEO company to recognize these problems from afar. It’s a team that digs deep into your brand, so social media efforts match it. However, as a decision-maker, being aware of these pitfalls can teach you to be proactive with your campaigns.
1. Not Defining Your Goals Up Front
Companies do not need an elaborate strategic plan to follow when using social media for customer acquisition. Still, it helps to have a general idea of where they want to go before they start. Specifying goals for your social media marketing campaign is like setting out the laws and regulations for a city. Without them, there’s nothing to protect the citizens or help them progress as an organized society.
Here are some examples of specific goals that might be useful to you in beginning a social media marketing campaign (note that some companies may not need all these):
- Increase brand awareness
- Drive traffic to a “landing page” on your website from Facebook and Twitter
- Generate leads through landing pages
- Reduce customer support costs by providing self-service alternatives via live chat or community forums
- Improve sales efficiency by creating opportunities for people to find product reviews before they buy
- Increase search engine rankings via links from social media profiles and websites
Measuring your goals helps you tell whether or not the activities you’re attempting are working. It’s also useful when deciding what tactics to try next because many serve a purpose other than just getting more customers.
The ultimate goal is always increased revenue. However, measuring customer acquisition can get tricky if your business model doesn’t have a built-in way to do so. Take online services that offer free signups/trial periods as an example. It’s often difficult or impossible for these companies to associate paying customers with their free user base (which may even be counted in their total number of users).
2. Focusing Too Much on Short-term Tactics at the Expense of Engaging in Sustainable Conversations
The typical life cycle of social media marketing efforts goes something like this: A company creates a Facebook page and starts putting out regular updates. If they’re lucky, some people like their page and begin to follow it, but there’s no increase in fans after three weeks or so.
At that point, most companies throw up their hands and declare that Facebook doesn’t work for them. In reality, Facebook does work. It just takes time to build relationships with customers, which eventually grows your fan base over time.
Some companies give up before they’ve even gotten started because they look at short-term tactics versus long-term strategies. This is kind of like trying to get in shape by starting a hard-core exercise plan after eating junk food for months on end. If you don’t have an established routine, it’s going to be very difficult to reshape your habits quickly (and probably not too healthy either).
The same applies to social media marketing and business goals. If you want customers coming to your website, providing authentic value through content or service should be able to do that. You’ll need time to build your online brand into something that people recognize.
However, once they start following, you there will be plenty more opportunities down the line for them to engage with the company on a deeper level.
3. Selling Too Much Instead of Engaging Customers Around Certain Topics
There’s an old saying that “People like to buy things from people they like.” The same principle applies to social media marketing. If you’re talking about the things that customers like, they’ll start to warm up to you as a company.
It’s often possible to avoid the hard sell by simply sharing interesting information and commenting on news or events in your industry. Instead of talking about how much value your product offers, you can take an approach such as “What X means for the average person” or “Why we’re so excited about Y.”
That way, if customers are interested, they can always do more research around the products you offer. It also has a secondary benefit in that it builds trust over time. Customers learn who “you” are (as opposed to just getting marketing copy all day long).
Encouraging people to click the share button is easy, but if you don’t put some thought into what that share should say or why your audience will care about it, all of your hard work might go to waste.
The key takeaway here is this: go beyond the run-of-the-mill social media marketing strategies and delve deeper into the meaning and purpose of what you’re doing. This way, your efforts are likely to be more sustainable.