Social media is a very important tool used by brands in engaging with their target audience. How deftly you use it will make a big impact on your marketing strategy and efforts. Here are 10 pointers on what you should focus on to avoid making mistakes –

1. No strategy, no go – Social media marketing is not merely being present on FB or Twitter. Don’t start without a plan, which details content, the tone, style, posting schedule, frequency, platforms. It also helps to have a review mechanism in place.

2. Don’t crowd all the platforms – Research shows that the top 3 most focussed social media networks by marketers are LinkedIn (91%), Twitter (85%), and Facebook (81%). It is tempting to be create accounts across every social media platform like FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Digg, Pinterest and more. But it is advisable to shortlist a few on the basis of your customer demographic profile and the kind of product/service you are offering.

3. Buying followers is not cool – In a game of numbers, it is great to show ‘x’ number of followers. ‘Likes’ may be a good validation of your brand, but when other metrics like engagement do not match up, then the amount of money spent in buying paid followers is not justified. It may actually hurt your brand.


4. Isolating your social media activities – Social media activities should be well tied up with the rest of the marketing elements, like the company website, blog, product collateral, e-newsletters, mail campaigns, etc. This aids in engagement as well as developing positive associations with the brand.

5. Too much of “me-me” – Beware of overselling or talking only about yourself and focus on sharing relevant content. The 5-3-2 Model for Social Sharing is a good one to follow. This states that if you are posting 10 times in a week:

•  5 posts should be related content from others   3 posts could be content by you but not an overtly selling pitch   2 posts of personal content that humanises your brand

6. Skipping the hashtags – Hashtags help in creating visibility on what your brand has to offer. Monitor trending hashtags or create your own. Always use a hashtag that has a specific message and which is interesting, engaging and relevant to your target audience.

7. Spamming – Beware of oversharing, or publishing multiple posts within minutes or hours. You are in danger of being muted or unfollowed. Businesses should consider using scheduling tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, etc. to space out tweets and posts for optimal sharing.

8. Not engaging with the audience – Actively manage your social media accounts by being responsive in replying to comments, thanking followers for retweets and engaging with influencers. Also equally important is dealing positively with negative comments and feedback. Ignoring this can impact your credibility with your followers.

9. Not focussing on content quality – The content that you send out should be consistent with your mission statement and branding. Always check content for grammar and spelling. Great content in form and style helps create a positive impression.

10. Failing to measure impact – Companies should analyse and measure their social media marketing efforts, using metrics relevant for them. Reach, engagement stats, follower count, lead generation results – let numbers speak for themselves. This can help you fine tune your strategy.

It is important to focus on each of these points and avoid making mistakes in executing your social media strategy. Have you made any social media marketing mistakes which you learnt from? You could even share you success story with us.