- Communication Strategies
Avoiding 7 Pitfalls of Social Media Marketing
Social media is a valuable and necessary marketing tool for associations. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to increase awareness and connect with your audience. It can also help you generate leads and grow your membership—if you do it right. To help set your association up for social media success, we’re identifying some pitfalls and offering ways to address them.
1. Operating Aimlessly
Proper strategic planning is critical to the success of your association’s social media marketing. Chances are your association is juggling multiple social media channels, so taking the time to make and adhere to a content schedule will not only keep your social media presence organized, it will also maximize your content’s reach. Be sure to align your social media efforts with your overall marketing strategy, and set measurable goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to gauge success.
2. Overextending Your Ambitions
Though at face value it might seem necessary for your association to be on every social media channel, it isn’t—especially if your association is just beginning to build out your social media presence. Keep in mind not all channels will make sense for your association or industry. Once you determine which channels fit your target audience best, you can get in a rhythm of posting regularly and then consider expanding. If and when you do expand, be sure to remember that the content your followers want to see will differ depending on the platform.
3. Losing Your Way
Make no mistake—potential members are investigating you on social media, and they may go elsewhere if your profiles lack information, activity, or a clear sense of your mission. Being consistent on social media with regard to both brand identity and posting frequency is crucial. If your association branding is inconsistent across social media platforms, it’s harder for people to recognize—and that can make them feel unsure about your association. Additionally, leaving your association’s social media account dormant for days or weeks stifles engagement. This engenders a vicious cycle wherein the social media algorithms that position your association’s posts in a user’s feed based on relevancy are negatively affected. How can you avoid this pitfall? Dedicate an employee to managing your social media. This will ensure the same brand voice is implemented in all messages, regardless of the platform. It will also make the responsibility of posting at least a few times per week in order to reinforce awareness and build your following manageable.
4. Being Robotic
While robots have their advantages, they have no place in social media strategy. In fact, one of the worst mistakes to make on social media is coming off as a faceless association with zero personality. In this age of transparency, prospective and current members want to get to know your association on a more personal level. Humanizing your association on social media will make it more relatable, meaningful, and interesting. So, don’t be afraid to communicate in a casual tone or even crack a joke if/when appropriate.
5. Forgetting the Social in Social Media
By virtue of its very essence, social media is not a one-way street. To be successful and build a following that matters, your association has to be social! One of the benefits of social media is that members can now interact with associations rather than simply being given a message, as with traditional marketing. Take advantage of this and engage your audience in a way that is immediate, thoughtful, and honest. Like and share relevant posts and articles from others on Facebook. Retweet. Ask and answer questions. Thank people for commenting on and/or retweeting your posts. Overall, seek relationships rather than followers—but don’t limit your interaction to people who follow you. Pay attention to trending topics, industry hashtags, and (when possible) what prospective members are posting. Interacting with these areas will help increase your following, forge relationships, and establish your association’s voice in the industry.
6. Using Social Media as a Sales Platform
Social media can help you build your association and engage with your audience, but it’s not the place to incessantly pitch your services. You will be more successful retaining followers and attracting new ones if you add value by providing relevant information to your audience. Share industry articles and your own blog posts, and utilize this more informal space to display your association culture.
7. Failing to Track Analytics and KPIs
Your association’s social media should be treated the same as other marketing activities, which means you should be setting key performance indicators (KPIs) and goals, and tracking the results. There is an increasingly high level of analytics behind social media channels, so be sure to keep a close eye on your in-platform social media analytics (such as Facebook Insights and LinkedIn Analytics). In addition, consider making use of one of the many third-party social media tracking tools to help measure success and gain additional insights.
Keep in Mind
There’s no turnkey solution for improved social media presence, but there are strategies to help you build social accounts primed for engagement. An awareness of pitfalls will help your association avoid them and free you to plan, develop, and implement strategies that foster growth. Interested in discussing ways to use social media for your unique association goals? We’re here to help your association achieve an enhanced online presence!