Despite the large number of articles, webinars, successful cases about SMM, I still hear about anti-cases: about attracting an audience that does not buy, or buys, but the cost of attracting is more than the average purchase receipt.
In my practice, I came across projects that were really not very effective to actively promote on social networks, but this is only about narrow-minded B2B (and even then having an account on social networks as a business card is not bad). For other businesses, promotion on social networks pays off, but on condition that you do not make mistakes when planning your strategy and do not expect instant results (social networks are often about cold traffic that needs to be warmed up).
In this article, I will tell you about the most common mistakes that I have encountered in the last 3 years of working with social networks.
Mistake 1. Your main goal is “I want like a competitor”
Try to remember how and when did you decide to create a social media account for your business? Most likely you have analyzed the competitors of your or related areas and wanted how they are. Or they listened to fashion experts who enthusiastically talked about the benefits of this or that social network, and decided that you also need to join this social network.
“I want it like a competitor” is not a goal. After all, if he has beautiful accounts in all social networks, does this mean that he has a lot of sales from social networks? No, it doesn’t mean at all.
Also, you have no information about whether the competitor is paying off the costs of maintaining social networks or not.
Now let’s talk about what constitutes a goal and how your competitors can help you.
If you are a business owner or an employee, then your goal is to increase the profitability of the business. That is, any marketing tool should bring you, first of all, the sale of goods or services. And already for the second time: increasing loyalty, creating a community and “well, the competitors have it”.
At the same time, competitors can still help us when planning a strategy for our presence in social networks.
First, we can see how sales are happening in competitors’ accounts:
do they sell directly in their accounts or lead to the site? You can check this by looking at the information on the competitor’s page. If the product description or profile contains links to the site, then most likely the sales are on the site.
Secondly, if a competitor’s sales are made through the site, you can see which social network has the most conversions, and whether there are any at all.
You can use the SimilarWeb service for this.
Example: paste a link to a competitor’s website into the search bar.
See which channels the traffic is coming from.
If there is traffic from social networks, then see where it comes from.
In the example, traffic from social networks comes mainly from VKontakte and YouTube.
This way you can study multiple competitors. And if they also have more traffic in VK, then there is the most target audience there, and you can safely start promoting in VK. And only then gradually test other social networks.
Mistake 2. You don’t know your audience well
You have an online store, for example, women’s clothing. Potentially, it can be bought by women of different ages, for example, from 18 to 60 years old, living in all regions of Russia (if there is a delivery).
Now let’s figure it out. Chances are, you are selling clothes that have a certain style, value, and quality. Will this clothing suit everyone? No.
Suppose you sell dresses with a modern print that are above average. Think about who is most likely to buy or is already buying these dresses.
Describe your customer: how old is she, where she lives, what she loves, what she enjoys, how she decides to buy clothes, whether she makes impulsive purchases. So your audience narrows significantly, for example, to women from large cities, 25-35 years old, who are interested in fashion, try to make capsule bows and buy new trendy things every season. They follow fashion bloggers on Instagram, read online media (like InStyle, Women Health).
Think, ask, or find out (from web analytics) how long does it take for her to want to buy this dress . Is she planning this purchase and looking for it on purpose, or might she make an impulse purchase after seeing an ad?
Try to understand how your audience is consuming content . This may depend on the opening hours. If this is an office employee, then, most likely, such a potential customer is watching social networks in a traffic jam, at lunchtime, late in the evening.
This is your minimum knowledge about the target audience. Knowing about your audience, who they are, where, what they are looking for, and when they read, will help you sell through your brand’s social media accounts.
Error 3. Your USP and positioning are not well developed
This strategic mistake isn’t just about social media. Using any marketing tool, it is important for you to broadcast the same USP and positioning.
How are you different from your competitors? What is special about you that they don’t have? What are you doing better? This is your uniqueness. Once you understand your unique selling proposition, you will be able to describe your positioning: who you are, what you are, how you are better, what your values are, and why you should be chosen.
Here are examples of Instagram accounts. One of them has a USP, the other does not.
This profile has a USP. After reading the description, it becomes immediately clear what kind of dresses they are and for whom they are made.
This is the profile header of the showroom in Moscow. From this description you can see that dresses are on sale, fitting is possible in the showroom, delivery is available. But we cannot understand from this description what kind of dresses, what their cost, what style.
Mistake 4. You choose a social network that you like, not your target audience
“I’m interested in being on Instagram, it seems to me that no one is on FB and VK anymore.”
Remember that most of the time we and our customers think differently. Perhaps our target audience is much more interesting and useful to sit on VK. Therefore, when planning your strategy for entering social networks, do not forget about the first previous paragraphs of the article.
Mistake 5. You think that social networks are promoting themselves – just posting content is enough
On rare occasions, if you’re making funky, viral content, then yes.
But in other cases, this is not enough. You need your target audience to see your content. To do this, use targeted ads, blogger ads, and account ads on your other offline and online platforms.
This is an advertisement that you can set up in the ad account of social networks. Its advantage is that you can use the settings to select the target audience and show ads only to it. For example, show a children’s dress store to mothers with children under 10 years old. You can add interests to show ads primarily to girls’ moms. For example, in FB, you can choose in the interests of cartoons that are watched mainly by girls. In VK, it is possible to gather an audience of mothers, which consists of groups for raising daughters, groups for children’s hairstyles, etc. Targeted advertising can most often be seen in a news feed or in a story.
Advertising with bloggers
These are ads from influencers who have a similar audience of followers.
When selling baby dresses, you can choose a blogger who has a daughter (about seven years old) and who writes about motherhood and raising a girl.
This is a less obvious way to promote your social media accounts.
You can offer business cards with a QR code on social networks in the showroom (at an exhibition, event) with a bonus for a subscription or review).
Error 6. You are not thinking about the content plan for the next month and its compliance with the set goals
By trial and error, after analyzing competitors and target audience, we figured out which social network we need to go to. Now the question arises: what to write there, how often, in what format.
There are universal hints for this, for example:
On Instagram, you need to post beautiful photos and there should be little text, and there should also be high reach for stories, and they are well viewed.
VK – high engagement for medium-sized texts and videos.
In FB – high engagement for infographics and longreads.
But these are only general guidelines. Maybe your audience comes to Instagram not only for beautiful photos, but also for text. Probably, this audience is even ready to finish reading the text, which did not fit into 2,000 characters, and read it in the comments or in the photo carousel.
Therefore, I recommend the following.
Algorithm for creating a content plan in social networks
Set a goal for your social media presence: increase the average purchase order by 2,000 rubles by selling accessories and tailor services.
See what’s going on in competitors’ accounts. Study the closest competitors, what they write, at what time. Do they only sell? Or maybe they write cool hairstyle hacks for girls? Or do they talk about the psychology of the relationship between mom and daughter or share parenting life hacks?
Study your audience. Talk to the audience, find out what they are interested in, what is their lifestyle? What will she be interested in reading about in her account and in what quantity?
Select a social network. Knowing your audience, choose the social network your customer is most likely to visit.
Write a content plan. Use several types of posts: selling, entertaining, engaging, expert, reputational.
Post at different times. Imagine what time your audience is on social media. For example, if this is the mother of a girl under two years old, then, most likely, she comes in more often during the daytime sleep or in the evening, after nine.
Monitor your followers’ reactions and sales (this stage gets stretched if you have a new account and don’t have followers yet).
P. S. If your account is to increase sales, you still need to make entertaining, engaging, expert and reputational posts. Nobody likes it when they constantly sell something directly to them.
Mistake 7. You think that social networks should be led by 1 person, but if this is not the case, then you can delegate to a marketer
Nowadays I rarely come across this belief, but still some entrepreneurs still think so. Why is this a bug?
Firstly, there is not a single person who could perfectly take pictures, set up a target and write content, and also sit and monitor reviews, mentions and messages in Direct or PM.
Secondly, if you want to give these responsibilities to a marketer, then remember what else the marketer does, and be prepared that some other tasks will not be completed or performed poorly. In addition, the marketer may not have enough competence to manage social networks.
Mistake 8. If you have a separate SMM specialist, then you do not devote time to his “onboarding”
A new employee comes to you, whose task is to promote your account or accounts.
It is correct and logical that a new employee or contractor himself conducts an analysis of competitors, the audience of competitors, studies the behavior of the target audience in social networks.
But at the same time, the employee does not understand what tone of voice your brand has, what corporate identity, whether there are any photographs or videos, whether there are other contractors (photographers or designers) with whom you can interact.
What is the best way to do it?
First, complete the main market analytics: target audience, competitors and a description of your positioning.
Secondly, prepare a brand book containing information about the corporate identity.
Third, approach the briefing process responsibly. Fill it out not from your phone, standing in a traffic jam, but in a calm atmosphere, setting aside time for this. Most often the brief is provided by the contractor, but you can prepare the completed brief yourself and discuss it with the contractor.
Mistake 9. You set vague KPIs that don’t match your social media presence goals
When hiring an employee, contractor or agency for SMM tasks, you should know what tasks will contribute to the achievement of your goal. And how to evaluate the effectiveness of their implementation.
If you have an online store and want to sell through your website, then the priority KPIs for you will be:
the amount of traffic from social networks to the site;
the number of purchases on the site by transition from social networks (Google Analytics shows at what stage the visitor came from social networks. This is in the section “Associated conversions”);
conversion at each stage;
cost of attracting a buyer.
If you have an account that sells on a social network, and you need to “warm up” the audience for a longer time before buying, then it is more important for you to evaluate:
number of subscriptions;
number of unsubscriptions;
number of messages with questions about products;
And also …
A common mistake when looking for an SMM specialist is to ask your friends and choose the best one. It sounds, of course, logical. But, most likely, your friends had other tasks for an SMM specialist, a different background and a different business area. Therefore, if you look for reviews from friends, then only from related areas and for similar tasks.
To summarize, I want to say that you should not treat social networks as a magic pill that will lead you to profit growth. Social media is only a tool that helps you reach out to your audience and show them your values and your product.
But before using this tool, you need to answer a few questions:
Who are we?
Who are we for?
What are the values of our product and the team?
How can we benefit the consumer?
Who is our competitor?
The answers to these questions are your foundation, after which you can use any marketing tool.
The course “Effective SMM: Promotion of Projects in Social Networks” is designed for those who want to master a new profession of an SMM specialist. You will be able to independently create a plan for publishing content, learn how to launch advertising campaigns and analyze their results. Bring leads and sales from social networks to customers.
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