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4 Common Social Selling Mistakes in Startup Marketing

29th Aug 2016
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Social media has become a very powerful marketing medium in recent years. Unfortunately, many brands still fail to use it effectively, because they don't have a sound strategy in place. Their biggest mistake is focusing too heavily on metrics that don't have a strong correlation with their marketing success.

Is your social media team making the following mistakes? It may be time to change things up.

Obsessing Over Likes and Shares

Almost everybody defines the popularity of their posts by the number of social shares they receive. While getting a lot of social shares can boost your ego, it doesn’t mean your marketing campaign will be effective.

In theory, social media shares are a great indicator of your marketing strategy. However, likes and shares don't mean much by themselves. Many people click the like, retweet or share button without ever visiting the website or even looking at the domain name.

According to an A/B testing from BufferApp, posts with the most social shares often get few clicks. Instead of focusing on social shares, you should be concerned with engagement. Determine if people are actually coming to your site, commenting on your posts and interacting with your brand.

Focusing Too Much on Page Views

According to research from Simply Measured, 51% of SME brands are focused on page views. This is a mistake you want to avoid.

Page views are slightly better for gauging follow our interaction then social shares, but they're far from perfect. Many brands inflate page views by using Clickbait strategies.  Unfortunately, they often attract vaguely interested followers and compromise their image with low-quality Clickbait posts.

Take a look at some of the comments on Reddit or Facebook. You’ll find people often complain about the quality of the articles with the most traffic. These posts tend to have intriguing headlines, but the substance of the article doesn’t support it.

While clickbait posts may work for websites that are monetized with advertising (at least in the short-term), they are useless for ecommerce sites.

Also, page views may only reflected the time and resources invested in promoting your content. You may be spending a tremendous amount of money to earn a tiny ROI.

Conversion rates in time on site are much better metrics to focus on. This is especially true for companies involved in app marketing. Time on site is completely irrelevant when your goal is to promote a mobile app, so focus on downloads and app usage instead.

Thinking Quantity of Followers is More Important than Quality

Your brand obviously needs engaged followers to fuel your social media marketing strategy. However, you'll need the right followers to gain momentum. Many followers are not engaged and are unlikely to drive your conversion goals.

This is an issue that Linda Pophal, a Wisconsin marketing strategist noticed firsthand. One of her clients, a local hospital, created a new Twitter stream for their emergency room to understand patient wait time experiences. They attracted a number of followers, but Pophal quickly noticed the entire experiment was a waste of their time.

“A close look at the followers for that account revealed the majority were vendors, spam or outside the hospital's service area,” she stated.

The hospital would have been better off promoting the new feed to existing customers. They could have let customers know about it on the hospital’s Facebook page and asked for patients to share their experiences. This would have filtered out a lot of the followers that weren’t legitimately interested in boosting the conversion goal.

Monitoring Changes without Context

You should be closely analyzing changes in your important metrics, such as ROI, user engagement and conversion rates. However, it's pointless to track these metrics without looking at causal factors.

Jeffrey Cohen, a social media and B2B marketing strategist, outlines this problem on Convince and Convert. “Another measurement approach that is just as bad as vanity follower metrics are tracking metrics just for the sake of tracking metrics. Sometimes your boss may tell you what to track. You can track and report anything they want, but the point is really the analysis of those metrics, not the metrics themselves.1 What does it all mean?”

While measuring changes in your marketing metrics, you should be looking for correlations between different elements of your social media strategy. For example, did your conversion rate rise significantly after you started investing in native ads? This could indicate that your native ads provide higher quality traffic than your other traffic sources.

Turn Your Social Selling Strategy Around

Social selling can be tremendously effective, but you have to go about it the right way. If you are focusing on the wrong variables, then your campaign may be doomed from the beginning. 

Following these tips can help you get your social selling campaign on the right track. Best of luck!

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