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Using social media to compliment a marketing strategy is pretty much essential regardless of where you do business. Both brick & mortar and online brands are taking advantage of social media as a key component of building their brands. This also includes creators, influencers and freelance individuals who are working on their personal brands. So if you’re not using social media in some capacity you should be re-evaluating that. Unfortunately not everyone is doing things right, and many are making vital social media mistakes that are costing them. There are a few reasons why people make these mistakes. Some underestimate the investment that any social media strategy requires in order to succeed. While others find themselves constantly having to adapt to these forever evolving platforms – a challenge we all deal with.

At this point you might be thinking to yourself – “am I making social media mistakes?” – and if you are that’s okay. Even the most seasoned social media professionals can admit to making at least a couple of these mistakes at one point, including us. The truth is anyone who’s spent enough time in social media has learned what works and what doesn’t. So whether you’re looking to start off on the right foot or trying to improve your strategy keep reading. We’re taking a look at some of the 10 most comment social media mistakes made today. This way you don’t have to make them!

10 Social Media Mistakes to Learn From

1. Not Having a Social Media Strategy

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One of the social media mistakes many make right out of the gate, is not having a strategy. When you decide to take on a new project of any size you should always have a plan. And using social media in any capacity for marketing purposes is no exception. First and foremost you should understand what you can achieve with social media, and fit that to your overall business goals. From there you can start to build out your plan.

Your social media strategy contains multiple aspects, which includes the platforms you’ll use and your content strategy. And above all your strategy must always align with your target audience. Meaning you can’t expect to put effort into a social media platform and get results if your audience isn’t there. In the same way that you want to make sure that your content resonates with who you’re looking to attract. This is why it’s so important to have a social media strategy instead of jumping in unprepared.

2. Focusing on Quantity vs. Quality

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Especially when first starting out, or looking to build an audience, you want to be active regularly. However you also want to make sure that you’re creating quality content. One mistake we see so many people doing is over posting and under delivering, and it can cost you big time. Posting consistently is good, but only if your content is good. Over posting can also lead to your ideas going stale, or running out of them altogether. Creating a content schedule that allows you to fulfill the actual content requirements is a good way to balance out quality vs. quantity.

Another thing to consider is you don’t want to spam your followers with too much content and tiring them out. This can actually lead to lead to you getting less engagement on your posts, or worse loosing followers. You want to create a happy medium between entertaining your audience while keeping them wanting more. Which bring us to our next point…

3. Not Identifying Your Target Audience

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Another one of the big social media mistakes we see a lot of people making is not identifying their target audience. Actually people even make this mistake within their wider marketing strategies. And even in cases where brands know their target audience, they don’t always consider it when it comes to their choices in social media platforms. It’s important to know that just because a platform is popular or well established, it doesn’t mean everyone uses it. Facebook for example tends to be used by an older demographic versus TikTok. Or business professionals will often be on LinkedIn, where as creative professionals might be on Instagram. You should always be aware of where you audience is active so you can spend your time in the right areas, and also create the type of content that speaks to them.

4. Posting The Same Content Across All Platforms

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While it’s not a bad idea to share the same information across different platforms, the type of content you share should vary. The reason for this is pretty simple. Each social media platform has a different way that you share content. Your audience will also want to see different forms of content depending on what platform it’s on. Instagram is a visual platform for photos and videos, while Twitter is for short form written content. You’ll also want to consider composing different copy depending on where you’re publishing. Facebook allows for longer written content over Twitter, while Instagram doesn’t allow for clickable links in captions. Hashtags are also useful for some platforms, while on others they don’t offer much of an impact.

5. Not Replying to Comments and Messages

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One of the biggest social media mistakes you can make when it comes to building your online brand is ignoring your audience. Your social media beyond being a promotional tool is a way that your audience, or customers, can connect with you directly. When someone takes the time to leave a comment on your posts, whether it’s a question or not, it’s important that it be replied too. Not only is this the right thing to do from a PR perspective, but also from a customer service one. Beyond those basics it’s a way to encourage engagement from your audience and develop conversations. These can lead to learning a lot more about your audience to identify services, products or content that may be of interest to them.

The same thing goes for direct messages that are sent to your accounts. Leaving those unanswered can come off as careless or unprofessional. A great way to make it easy to manage is to come up with templates for commonly asked questions to save you from typing things out. Especially on platforms you access on a mobile device.

6. Avoiding Video Content

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The world of online content and the ways that audiences like to consume content is constantly changing. Instagram for example, that started out as a photo sharing network, has evolved over the years to include multiple ways of sharing video content. This proves that video content is dominating the digital content space, and avoiding it is clearly a social media mistake. The good news is there is such versatility when it comes to the types and lengths of videos you can create, there’s almost no excuse not to do it. Platforms like TikTok, soon after Instagram have made short form video content an extremely popular way that audiences consume content. On the other hand platforms like YouTube and Facebook are thriving when it comes to longer format videos, say vlogs or longer format tutorials.

7. Posting and Ghosting

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If there’s one bad habit out of all these social media mistakes that many people do and probably don’t even realize it, it’s posting and ghosting. What we mean by this is when people only access their accounts to post their content, and nothing else. They maybe answer any comments, and messages they have but don’t invest the time to engage with the accounts they follow or the most active out of those that follow them. Many social media networks work to build an algorithm that works to benefit the most authentic of accounts. This helps to stifle automated spam accounts. One big indicator they use is accounts that engage with content on the platform. So if you’re not taking the time to like and comment on content that pops up in your news feed or that interests you, it’s actually doing harm to the overall performance of your content.

8. Using Too Many Social Media Channels

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A lot of people assume that when they start their efforts with social media that they have to join every platform out there. And while you should be on some of the few main ones, you don’t want to go overboard. Because in that case this could be one of those social media mistakes that will do you more harm then good. This is a similar concept to the quality vs. quantity argument. If you stretch yourself too thin across too many social networks there are a number of issues that could arise from that. Keeping in mind things like having to tailor your content to the platform, and wanting to keep your content fresh it can become quite a bit to manage. Asides from that if your audience isn’t even on a social media network why would you put your effort into it? Keeping a lean and mean operation going when it comes to social media is the best strategy you could have.

9. Forgetting to Analyze Your Insights

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Between what’s built into social media platforms and third parties you’re making a mistake if you’re not using insights! If you have any purpose for social media beyond leisure it’s important you understand how your content is performing. Even more so if you’ve invested the time into developing a social media strategy. This can show you how your hashtag strategy is working, but also how your audience is responding to your content.

10. Not Utilizing User Generated Content

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Finding it hard to keep up with content creation? Or are you finding that your content isn’t getting much love? You need to start posting user generated content! It’s a pretty simple concept; you find quality content that’s been shared by your audience and you post it while giving the creator content. There are so many indications to the benefits of using UGC (like here) in your social media strategy, it’s shame if you don’t consider it. For newer brands that might not have that much of a following just yet, you might consider partnering with content creators in exchange for products and/or a fee.