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Marketing managers have come ’round to the idea that social media marketing is no longer optional. Even so, several digital marketing mistakes continue to be made by those new to the field. Here are 10 to avoid.

1. Not defining digital marketing goals

As with any business endeavor, you have to know what you want out of digital marketing to craft a workable strategy. Are you looking to increase engagement on social channels? Find influencers to amplify your messaging? Be inspired with ideas for new products? Whatever your goal is, give it a name and design your approach around it.

2. Inconsistent branding

Whatever your brand stands for, that message needs to extend and be clearly communicated across digital channels. But social media branding is more than just having a social presence. It means having a clearly defined voice on social media – one that resonates and makes sense with the rest of your brand’s presence in the world overall.

3. Making assumptions about your target audience

Throwing marketing campaigns and messaging at a demographic you think is your audience couldn’t be a bigger waste of resources. Sure, there are probably a few people interested in what you have to say, but you need to apply social media listening to really understand who your audience is and what they want from your brand.

To that end you need sentiment analysis tools to break your audience into segments based on shared passions. When you know exactly what they care about you can talk to them like a fellow human, instead of a corporation. This is how you broker loyalty – not by telling everyone 18-24 years old in NYC about your current sale.

Where your audience “lives” online is part of this analysis as well. Don’t get stuck thinking “We must be on Snapchat!” simply because you think your audience is young. Let the social data tell you where you should be – you may be surprised.

4. Jumping on trends without enough information

Even digital marketing managers can have FOMO (fear of missing out), but it’s not a good reason for jumping on a trend without researching it first. Even if other brands are doing it, you need to analyze the social data for yourself to ensure embracing any trend is the right move for your brand. Some brands find out the hard way that their customers and audience actually think a trend is stupid – and they look stupid by extension. Don’t fall into that trap.

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Fidget spinners are all the rage – or are they? Depends on the brand…

5. Not tracking insights in real-time

Social data changes with dizzying speed. If you confine progress reports to weekly or monthly updates, it’s as good as taking a horse and buggy to your destination while everyone else takes a rocket ship. You have to monitor insights in real-time to:

  • Identify trends in time to leverage them
  • Be aware of customer service issues
  • Course correct active campaigns going wrong

And that’s just to name a few reasons. Yes, longer tail reports are still useful for spotting patterns over time, but don’t neglect real-time insights in their favor.

6. Not performing competitive analysis

One of social’s greatest advantages is its transparency. You’ve got to use this to keep tabs on what competitors are up to – and how their audience perceives them. And you’d better believe your competitors are watching you.

Beat them at their own game by identifying consumer needs – and fulfilling them first.

School clothes ad from Kohl's

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Watch consumer sentiment to know when the competition is onto something great – and implement it for your own brand. And, of course, you can steer clear of bad ideas in this way as well.

7. Relying on automation without human intervention

Automation is a huge timesaver, but you can’t automate all your social posts – for example – and leave it at that. The web is populated with people – so you’ve got to interact and respond to them, not just focus on output. And be especially careful with chatbots. If you don’t have humans monitoring them closely, they may betray you.

8. Ignoring non-digital channels

With a title like Digital Marketing Manager, it’s understandable to think all your work is in the digital realm – but it’s not quite that simple. Your brand’s customer experience happens out there in the wild – at your stores, on television, in magazines, at trade shows, at your home office. Be sure you’ve got things happening offline as well – and then use digital marketing strategies to share with your online audience.

9. Not monitoring reputational threats

Beyond using social analytics tools to identify and interact with your audience, you’ve got to monitor for those looking to harm your brand on social media. Anyone from disgruntled customers, former employees, and pranksters can cause devastating damage to brand health if their posts go unchecked. Be sure you’re monitoring for troublesome keywords and uptick in negative sentiment, and managing customer service issues in a timely fashion.

10. Thinking you’re ever “done” with social listening

Today’s great strategy may no longer apply by tomorrow – that’s the inconvenient reality of social marketing. Consumers are fickle, and easily swayed by trends, news, and what other consumers have to say – among other influences.

You’ve got to stay open and flexible to what’s happening in real-time – all the time. If you don’t, you’ll be easily eclipsed by brands that are.

Being new to digital marketing management doesn’t have to mean learning the hard way. Be open to the experiences of those who’ve come before you, let the social data guide your strategy, and you’ll be just fine.

Want to learn more about how to get the most from our social media listening tools? Join us at NetBase LIVE this October!

Image from Joe the Goat Farmer

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