As social media becomes a larger part of the marketing world and new trends, new technology and new ways of reaching audiences emerge, companies need to find the most cost-effective ways to take advantage of that medium to reach their market. Social media has introduced the idea that brands can reach a broad audience easily. However, since all brands can do it, the more competition and the more expensive social media advertising has become.
That being said – how can marketers avoid traps that are wasting precious marketing budgets?
It can be tough to see a direct result from marketing and can often cost a lot of money if it is done carelessly and ineffectively. Here are some of the traps that marketers fall into that can kill their effectiveness and drain their marketing budgets.
Trap 1: Creating a plan and not sticking to it
The old saying, “ He can talk the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk,” applies here. Creating multiple plans and social media calendars basically just outlines content that doesn’t have any value. Plans and social media calendars can be very effective if you do them once and then actually execute them. But if you are constantly coming up with different plans because your boss is nervous and wants to see exactly what you are posting and when, then it simply won’t work.
Creating multiple plans requires a lot of hours to build and organize. Then, once they are looked over, they are often discarded. The plans may be followed for a little while until the busy-ness sets in. Then, they become a hassle and the idea of following a strategy seems like an impossible task. Often, that results in marketing that becomes random posting without thought behind it.
How to get away from ineffective plans?
Automation, automation, automation. This takes the pressure off always creating content and having a structure. Instead, build out a strategy that you want to follow and make it repeatable. Tweak the process and continue to see what works and what doesn’t. That way, when your peak time does come, your messaging is automated and you can let it go and not stress.
Trap 2: Hiring the wrong person for the job
We have all done this where we are looking for someone to help create content or deal with the everyday marketing needs. We hire a great intern or ghost writer and end up having them not working out. This can really affect your budget―salaries and payouts are a big line item!
It is also an impossible task to measure someone’s success after a short amount of time. It takes time for a strategy to become effective and there are no consistent metrics to judge success after a too short amount of time. It could be that their new changes are making real strides with your audience but traffic hasn’t picked up yet So it appears they aren’t doing anything for your brand.
You also don’t want to look for someone based on traditional qualifications. For example, you might not want to hire a social media specialist that decided last week to become a “Specialist” when in reality they just like Instagram. But you don’t want to go with someone who has outdated practices either.
Hiring someone new can also mean a lot of changes because they have a different view on how to make your department successful. Now, some of the changes can be great and really affect your bottom-line; but that can mean a lot of time and effort put up front with not a lot of insight into your particular audience.
How to know who to hire?
Try out someone on a consulting basis that can give you direction and advice. If you are hiring a ghostwriter have them give you lots of sample pieces and see if that results in traffic to your website after the first couple postings before continuing. It is most important to hire with expectations and goals! That way there is a concrete way to address their performance after a set amount of time.
Trap 3: Post just to Post
Of course, we think that our own brands and companies are amazing and want to share what is going on with our audiences! It’s our job. While we think that over sharing and switching up strategies is what marketers should be doing, it can be detrimental to a social media campaign. Too many changes in strategy can affect how your followers feel about your profile. Stick to one strategy and give your audience what they want! In other words, don’t overthink it. For example, some strategies believe that you should post content constantly, that way it is always on the top of the page and your followers see it. But, for your particular audience, they might not follow a lot of people and you posting 12 times a day might get really annoying.
Yes, staying relevant in people’s feeds is important and the majority of people follow a lot of brands, so posting constantly can be helpful. However, you always have to keep in mind that while you post a lot it needs to have value as well.
Don’t just add noise to add noise. Add value to your noise. It is not wrong to post about pop culture, the weather, or holidays, but make sure it ties back to your social campaign and how it affects your audience.
How to post relevantly?
Create content that your audience really wants to see. Do some market research and see what other brands your audience follows and what they post.Identify a pain point and TEST EVERYTHING! You may never know what kind of content is going to resonate with your audience.
Trap 4: Trend Chasing
Don’t think that just because a really big international brand has done it this way you should, too. Replicating strategies can be a good tool, but make sure that you always change them to fit your brand, your goals, and your audience, otherwise, it you won’t have the same outcome.
For example, podcasts. I agree―Podcasts are awesome and businesses and brands have really used them to their advantage and have grown through them. However, if they do not fit within your goals and you just don’t have the bandwidth to create great content, then it isn’t the path you should be taking. You’ll just come off as stretching yourself too thin.
There are always new platforms and ideas so take time to do your research before you dive head first. Test out the platform and see if your audience is present and then invest when you find one that works for you!
How to pick the right new idea for you?
Test it all and make sure that you see the results you want. Use an 80/20 approach to social media budgeting―80% should be toward your main strategy and ads that have proven that they work; 20% should be for new technology, new platform, and new experimental ideas.
Trap 5: Expecting Immediate Results
By not letting your social media campaigns do their jobs and expecting an immediate result, you are essentially discounting all of your hard work. None of us like to wait. But successful campaigns take s time. Marketing doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes time to test, time to make small changes, and time to figure out what works for your brand. You don’t want to just slap something on your brand’s profile page and hope it creates the engagement you want.
Instead, invest your time in A/B testing and―let me say it one more time―MARKET RESEARCH.
Perfect your tagline, your logo, your website, your messaging, so that it seems boring to you but it is completely on point with exactly what your audience wants to hear. Consistency and repetition are key, but never forget to constantly tweak the small things until your message can be as proven as your audience’s bread and butter. Over time they will show you what they want and those tweaks will be worth all the meticulous hours that you spend changing the font from Roboto to Times New Roman.
How to get to that sweet spot?
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat. Creating great content that connects with your audience and provides value is the goal. So continue to make small changes and test it over and over again until you see the results that you are after. Then, automate your messaging around it and build another piece of content that you can do the same thing with. Give yourself some time and let your effort show for itself with automation.
So, take a look at your marketing plan and see if you are falling into any of these traps. If so, take a hard look at how you can more effectively be using your budget. Maybe you will even find some extra room in the budget for a crazy experiential marketing stunt that could pay off big!
What traps have you found that a lot of marketers fall into? How can they get out and cut down their budget? Share with us below. We want to hear how you have effectively created a marketing budget.
If you liked learning about how you can effectively budget a social media strategy, make sure you join us at one of our upcoming Social Media Strategies Summits and find out how your brand can develop a social media strategy that will work for your goals. Track A, is where you will want to be!