7 Social Media Sins You're Probably Committing Right Now

Don’t feel bad if you’re socially sinful - even large enterprises sometimes make mistakes that can cost thousands in revenue and ad spend. During the past four years we've spent building social media solutions for brands, we've noticed these seven common mistakes time and time again:

Just for fun - see how sinful you are by giving yourself a point every time you see a social media tactic you’re currently using and see how you rate at the end!

7 Social Media Sins You're Probably Committing Right Now

1. Fan gating your content

If you’re still doing this - stop. Even though Fan Gating (Like Gating) is often effective in tricking lots of people to Like your Page in exchange for a chance at winning something, they stop true fans from engaging and irreversibly destroy the quality of your Facebook fans. Given Facebook’s dedication to quality, engaging content in News Feed, reaching your true fans among all of the Likes you amassed with a prior contest will ultimately cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars in ads in the long term.

Instead of forcing new visitors to Like your Page before they can engage, trust that if you produce excellent content and communicate your value, your participants will appreciate it and the Likes will follow. Read more about how Fan Gates cost businesses thousands here.

Always brand your engagement apps

2. Using an unbranded app for your contests

Although unbranded (often free) tools can save you money in the short term, whenever someone registers for your contest or accesses your content they propagate the app developer’s brand, not yours. An authentic “Facebook story” in News Feed is created about every fan who participates - called Open Graph - that has huge potential to organically spread awareness about your campaign and your company.

When you brand the authentication and Open Graph you gain more organic impressions, better insights and Facebook ranks these stories much higher than shares in News Feed because fans actually did something that showed their support for you. Essentially, you’ll save more in ad spend than a branded app will cost you to buy.

Never pay for Facebook Page Likes

3. Paying to increase your Like count

Buying friends didn’t make me more popular. Trading dollars for Likes - especially through a Facebook likes service - is the fastest way to decrease the quality of your audience. News Feed is saturated and competition is so steep that unless your content is generating discussion it will simply never appear. Bought Likes did not Like your Page because they want to see and interact with your content so they’re very unlikely to engage. And the most alarming part? You can’t undo inauthentic Likes. You’ll need to start all over to build a new audience, or dedicate a huge budget towards finding and reaching your true fans.

It’s far better to increase your followers by authentically engaging with them, providing excellent content and connecting with them through branded apps that allow you to retarget them when they expect it! Once you have a solid base of true fans, then you can start targeting their friends and build an authentic audience.

Target custom audiences

4. Targeting ads at your Facebook followers

Due to so many Page Managers increasing Likes through promotions, incentives or Page Like ads, the quality of most Facebook followings is so poor that targeting ads at Page Likes will cost more to reach the right audience.

Building custom audiences of Facebook users who have visited your website, participated in your app campaigns or are friends or lookalikes of your most loyal fans will result in far more conversions than relying on Page Likes.

Collect more than just email

5. Amassing (only) email lists

Email addresses won’t tell you who your fans’ friends are. Although email is still one of the most effective ways of reaching loyal clients, limiting your data collection to just name and email also limits your understanding of your audience. Using a branded Facebook authentication allows you to collect more information with every interaction and therefore develop a much more nuanced understanding of the people who engage with you.

Cross referencing social, email and sales data reveals your fans that buy, your fans that engage but don’t buy, and fans who just want to follow your updates - allowing you to cater ads accordingly and increase your conversion rates.

7 Social Media Sins You're Probably Committing Right Now

6. Running segmented engagement campaigns

Engaging with your audience through interactive campaigns is one of the most effective ways of understanding and building your fan base. However, when campaigns are treated as one-off initiatives and don’t cross over with previous engagements, they lose their value. Reports get lost, data is short-term and the ability to improve with every contest diminishes.

There’s more to social than monthly discounts or prize incentives. Being creative with your campaigns like Whitecaps FC’s Pup Predictor and the Vancouver Canucks holiday eCard garner more engagement and conversions than any 30% off sale could.

When you use a single branded app to carry out all engagement campaigns like these leading sports brands, you can identify new and returning fans and collect a little more information from them every time they interact. Running multiple campaigns that ask for one insight about your fans is much more effective than running one campaign that asks fans to divulge lots of information on their first engagement.

Don't use spreadsheets to track engagement

7. Using a spreadsheet to keep track of your engagement

Even the best pivot-table ninja can’t compete with an integrated CRM. Many social media marketers reluctantly use spreadsheets without realizing there are alternatives to keeping track of engagements. Spreadsheets are difficult to search, painful to update and lend themselves to lost data. Especially when your audience is fragmented into various spreadsheets (for each campaign, for each network, etc.) it’s difficult to distil and communicate the value of social media to yourself and your superiors.

Using an all-inclusive, searchable database for all of your contacts from social, email and e-commerce saves you time and helps you surface valuable insights. Amassing all fans into one CRM system reveals top influencers, most active fans and sub-communities that you can target for even better results.

We’ve all made these mistakes throughout our time on social media. Be honest - how many of these sins have you committed? Tell us which tactics you've been using in the comments.

Think we’re crazy? We’d love to hear how you’ve succeeded with these or related strategies in a comment below.

If you said “no” to all of them, give us a call - we’d love to chat with you about your exceptional social media strategy.

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