It’s easy to get stuck following the same tactics in social media marketing, particularly if one strategy has been lucrative or has grown your business exponentially. Amazingly, though, many social media “gurus” continue with campaigns that aren’t bringing in revenue.
While it’s important to keep up-to-date with new strategies and evolving techniques, it’s also important to ditch so-called “best practices” that aren’t delivering. Sometimes, it’s what you don’t do that contributes as much to your success as what you do do.
Here we go: 5 things to give up in 2019
1. Stop the Auto-Engagement
Auto-bots have been all the rage since the 2016 election, but it’s time to stop them in your social media marketing. If you’re not into auto-responder email spam, why are you doing the social media equivalent?
Sending auto comments and auto DMs is the surest way to reverse your profitability. People have gotten wise to auto comments and DMs, so sending them is going to crush your credibility and trash any trust you’re trying to build.
Instead, grow your social media following organically. Personalize your messages, from general posts to replies to comments to DMs and everything in between. Engage your readers with thoughtful content that delivers what they want from you – value.
Your (or your brand’s) reputation is on the line.
2. Unnecessary #Hashtagging or Random Tagging
No so long ago, random hashtagging or people tagging was a good tactic. But that was before everyone started doing it – and doing it badly. It became too much of a good thing, and it’s lost its punch.
Just like engaging people, tagging should be done thoughtfully and respectfully. On LinkedIn these days, there’s a certain group of people that regularly tag dozens of people for every post. It’s like a cult, and they’ve yet to realize that effective tagging means spending time studying the interests of people and tagging them when relevant.
A copywriter doesn’t need to be tagged about hiring practices in the electrical engineering industry any more than a dermatologist needs to be tagged on the habitat of the Alaskan prairie dog.
Or do they? You’ll only know by studying the interests of people so you can be a better tagger.
As for unnecessary hashtagging, be better in using them – i.e., be more efficient. If you’re a whiskey influencer posting a new bourbon review you’ve written, don’t add irrelevant banking or fashion hashtags. Unless you want to attract the attention of auto bots.
3. Linking Only to Your Own Content
Linking to your own content located elsewhere is a fantastic way of building your brand, demonstrating your expertise, and increasing trust.
But not when all or even most of your links do this. The content becomes boring, you become too predictable, and your followers will begin losing interest if not outright unfollowing you.
In addition to links to your own content, start balancing posts with links to posts of relevance and interest to your followers elsewhere. Social media is not simply about shameless promotion, as many seem to think; it’s about helping people, providing solutions, and/or merely adding value.
In fact, it’s okay to sometimes post content with no links at all. Why not simply post useful tips or insightful advice? Start a conversation relevant to your brand and audience. Meaningful interactions are now part of social media algorithms (e.g., on Facebook) that strongly lean toward such posts.
4. Not Optimizing Your Content for Sharing
This follows up on #3 above, as many content gurus always optimize for SEO yet not for social sharing, despite the fact that sharing is a major impetus for going viral. There’s an overwhelming amount of data out there, yet if you’re not optimizing your content to be shared, your content is wandering aimlessly and lifelessly, d by a galaxy of brighter content.
One way to do this is putting the social share buttons at the top of the piece, not at the bottom – most people don’t read all of it, anyway, so if your buttons are at the bottom, it’s less likely to be shared.
Second, don’t overload with FB, IG, TW, PI, and every other share button you can think of. Know where your audience is most active, and focus your share buttons there. Plus, there’s the science of it all – too many choices overload you to the point of making no choice at all (if you’ve ever been in Home Depot or Costco, you know this is true).
5. Not Testing to See What Works for Your Audience
It’s still amazing that so many social media know-it-alls don’t test. They go with their “gut” or creativity for the sake of it. This is a cardinal sin in marketing – and it has been for nearly 100 years.
An immediate example comes to mind – posting content according to generalized analytics of the best time to post.
Of course, you want to post when the people following you are most likely to engage with your post. However, the generalized analytics that report, for example, that posting on a Tuesday at 1:15 pm is the best time are basing this on averages.
But is your audience average? Is this when they are likely to be online and engaged? The only way to know is to test it yourself. Use the tools at your disposal to see when your audience is most active. Schedule posts at different times to test when your followers are most active in their likes and comments. Once a pattern or patterns develop, take advantage.
This little bit extra of work will help in successfully building your brand and business to top-tier levels.