Social media marketing is an important part of nearly every business’s marketing strategy today. From socialites to brands to up and coming artists to politicians, it is practically business suicide to remain faceless in digital media. Having said that, a company’s social media strategy, and more importantly the content, is crucial in projecting and preserving brand image.

A great deal of content is pumped into the virtual sphere every second of every day. So much so that it is so very easy to slip up. No social media campaign is without blunders, but avoiding major ones will keep your brand’s image and reputation above board. Stepping into the social media landscape is a do or die for most businesses, but it is what and how they promote themselves via their social platforms that truly defines their brand and reputation.

Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Social Media Marketing Mistakes and Failures

Top 5 Mistakes in Social Media Campaigns:

  • No Strategy

When any business or brand first enters the digital marketing sphere, the new virtual world can be a bit overwhelming. Don’t freak out, every company starts somewhere. It is extremely important to disseminate company-related content with a well-thought out strategy. Throwing up a Facebook fan page is all well and good, but if you have no idea what to post, when to post, how to gain followers and how to engage with those followers, ROI will remain low and your page will act as nothing more than a page holder without traffic.

  • Hashtag #Fail

You’ve seen ‘em, they may appear alien or confusing, but #hashtags are a must in any successful social media strategy. #Hashtags are their own language with meaning, purpose, and importance. Usage differs between platforms, and trending hashtags change almost daily. It is also easy to go overboard and use too many hashtags on a given post. At the beginning of the week, researching trending hashtags and best practices is a sure-fire way to ensure your content reaches targeted goals, such as engagement and new followers.

  • Straying from Brand Image

Social media sometimes feels like a magical land where you can re-create your brand’s image from scratch without repercussions. Depending on the purpose of the social media campaign, this strategy is plausible: think product launch or brand expansion. On the other hand, a long-standing brand attempting a re-branding could potentially damage their reputation.

Take for example McDonalds’ attempt in 2012 to go local, by sharing stories of farmers with the Twitter hashtag #McDStories. In no time, what was an initial attempt to portray the company in a positive light turned dark as the Twitterverse twisted the #McDStories hashtag to share terrifying stories of McDonald’s gross food experiences, including blood and bugs. Avoid the #Hashtag #Fail, and know your image and your audience.

  • What Followers?

Always remember that customers come first, both in the real world and the virtual world. That means considering social followers as current or potential customers, and engaging with them as such, is necessary. A common mistake in social media is pumping out great content, but neglecting to engage with followers. Engagement varies depending on the platform, and it is as crucial on Instagram, for example, as it is on Facebook and LinkedIn.

  • Forgetting Platform Integration

Connecting your platforms to one another is a good idea. When posting on Instagram, you have the option to duplicate post on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Twitter, and Foursquare. There are also programs that can be used to set up integration, such as IFTTT (If This, Than That). The great news about integrating platforms is that it means less work for you to share messages, and you let followers know about your other platforms. That said, cross posting should be kept to a minimum if many of your followers are the same on all platforms.

Most people and businesses are hip to the social media marketing game by now, but it’s surprising how many overlook the simple do’s and don’ts and get tripped up on easy to avoid mistakes.  View your social media platforms as social currency for your company; they can bring in new customers, increase business, and overall brand image as well as bottom line revenue.  Social media marketing is as important as any other aspect of your business, so be sure to treat it that way, and always remember and learn from these social media marketing mistakes to avoid.