There are endless marketing and advertising opportunities using the popular social media platforms, but only if you execute your campaigns correctly. Simply posting offers on your feed isn’t enough. While there is a massive audience to market to, there is also a lot of competition, all fighting for the same attention. If you want to stand out and draw attention to your brand, then you need to find clever ways to rise above everyone else competing for the same attention.
Open up your favorite social media app — Instagram, Twitter or Facebook — and scroll through your feed, paying attention to the posts that are either from brands you follow or paid advertisements. How many posts actually caused you to pause scrolling and engage with the content? I’m willing to bet very few, if any, actually grabbed your attention.
You have to not only create content that causes the user to stop scrolling and take a few seconds to read it, but also then be compelling enough to spark engagement. It’s not an easy thing to do, especially as consumers become more immune to promotional posts. To help you create better performing content for your social media feeds, avoid these five common mistakes many brands continue to make.
1. Using social media as a platform to post personal opinions.
When you introduce personal opinions on social media you are sure to piss off, offend or turn-off a percentage of your followers. It’s impossible to please everyone, so unless it’s directly related to your business or industry, leave it off social media. This is especially true when it comes to politics or religion — you will never win if you start posting anything referencing these topics. There is absolutely no need, and it’s just asking for trouble. Why risk pushing away potential customers discussing topics or current events that are in no way related to your business?
As a business owner, you need to be respectful of the fact that not everyone is going to share the same beliefs and opinions that you do, and that is fine. It has nothing to do with creating a great product or service and servicing your customer base. You can create a total shit-storm and PR disaster with just one post on social media that is viewed negatively and goes viral. This can bring unwanted attention and ultimately be the death of your business. There is nothing wrong with showcasing your personality on social media — just be mindful of the fact that your customers will consist of individuals with varying beliefs and opinions.
2. Posting content that isn’t related to your account’s theme or niche.
So many people are desperate for instant social media attention and growth that they begin to post content that they view as being popular or see performing well on other accounts. The trouble with this is that it will never attract the audience that will actually benefit your business. If you go off track and start to post memes or viral videos, and they have nothing to do with your business, then you are going to accomplish the complete opposite of what you are trying to do — and your account will act as repellant, keeping those niche-specific followers from even engaging with your profile, let alone follow you.
If someone wants to engage with funny memes or viral videos, then they will go follow one of those accounts. Understand that it will take time to build a following of people that are actually interested in what you are offering. If you are a local sporting goods store, would you rather attract 1,000 followers that have zero interest in sports and just like funny videos, or do you want 100 local followers that actively participate in sports and could potentially be drawn to your store to make a purchase? Always post relevant content, created specifically to attract your ideal audience.
3. Going overboard with hashtag use.
Don’t be the person to load each post up with the maximum number of hashtags allowed. It makes your content appear to be spammy and it will actually annoy some of your followers. It just doesn’t make your content look authentic or designed for engagement — it makes it reek of ad advertisement and promo post. It’s best to use hashtags for what they were initially designed for — to help people discover content on social media. Use a few relevant ones, but don’t go overboard using tags that make no sense. Doing so just makes your brand look amateurish.
Also, don’t feel like you have to use hashtags on every post. Use them if they are going to help people find your brand and content, but don’t throw them in without a plan. They have to make sense. Just because Instagram will allow up to 30 per post doesn’t mean you should take full advantage of that option. I would even suggest looking at the top brands in your niche and seeing how they are using hashtags. You will typically see exactly what I suggest — use a few if they make sense; never going overboard or appearing spammy.
4. Creating content using stock images.
There is nothing wrong with using stock images — this blog uses free stock images for every featured image — but for some image needs you want to avoid them, including social media content. Using stock photos in your social media will make your brand look very vanilla and boring, which is the complete opposite of what you want to accomplish. You want to draw attention to your brand on social media, and turn that attention into engagement and followers.
Don’t let budget, or lack of funds, be an excuse to not create original content for social media. While you might not be able to afford a professional photographer or hire a full-time graphic designer, you have a very powerful camera on your mobile device, and there are plenty of free image editing software tool, like Canva, that you can use that cost nothing but your time.
5. Posting captions filled with poor grammar.
Take the time to proofread your content before publishing it on social media. If you are using a tool to schedule your posts on all of your social media profiles have someone else read through them to double check that there are no grammar errors. Content filled with spelling mistakes and poor grammar just makes your brand look unprofessional.
You can even type up your captions on a Word document and take advantage of its spell check capabilities and then copy/paste to social media once you know it’s error-free.
There is no reason why you should be posting any content that isn’t 100 percent correct, grammar-wise.