At first glance, putting together a social media marketing campaign seems like a simple concept. However, as most businesses learn, it turns out to be an extremely difficult and frustrating task.

A well-planned social media strategy is the ticket to broadening your brand’s reach.

The bottom line should look to

  1. showcase your brand to new and existing customers
  2. strengthen your position in the marketplace

For every right way to market a product or service, there are a hundred wrong ways. Let’s take a look at some of the big social media blunders to steer clear of.

1. Not Realizing the Full Value of the Channel

Simply put, social media is by far one of the cheapest and most effective ways to reach a mass audience in 2016 and beyond. Numbers from Statista reveal there are 1.7 billion Facebook users, 1 billion WhatsApp users, and 500 million Instagram users, who log in at least once a month.

When consumers see substantial social activity in a medium they frequent, they also expect a consistent experience and voice from brands they deal with. Therefore, from product reviews to customer service to facilitating location check-in sharing, social media needs to be a heavy hitter in any brand’s marketing strategy.

Social media marketing and management can be summed up as “the task of staying relevant.” The days of using “tried and tested” marketing techniques and making predictions based on historical data are gone. A survey by Global Web Index found that web users spend nearly 109 minutes a day using social media. What that means, effectively, is that if you can think of it, your audience has already seen it.

This is what makes creating engaging content time and again on social media a near-impossible task. And this is why you can’t bank on past victories, and base your campaign and content on data. If you don’t have data, the next best practice is to gather first hand insights using A/B or multivariate testing in your social media marketing and advertising campaigns.

2. Underestimating Work Involved

Creating and managing a quality social media campaign is not done overnight. In fact, it’s a 24/7 task. Which is why marketing agencies like ours offer specific services just for managing a social media presence. The what, who, and how of the campaign need to be firmly understood and accounted for.

What exactly will you be monitoring and responding to? In addition to brand sentiment, the beauty of social media is that it provides users with a platform in which they can interact with businesses directly. This means you will need to be prepared to deal with the good and the bad. Put yourself in the shoes of the user and have potential responses carefully planned.

Who will be monitoring your account(s)? This is by far one of the most tedious tasks involved in the whole process. Depending on the nature of your business, who are the subject matter experts most qualified in your domain to answer questions quickly and effectively? It is wise to assign this duty to one specific team or person, as this will make responding to queries a simpler operation.

Most importantly, how will you respond? Regardless of whether you are running a solo operation or working with a team, there should be a consistent tone or style used to reply to all questions or comments. Each interaction should be conducted with the same voice.

Social media management is far from a walk in the park. Luckily, there are many collaboration, scheduling and project management tools available to simplify the process. For example, WorkZone is a tool that helps businesses streamline processes by automatically determining planning controls and timelines, making sure nothing slips through the cracks. Social media, PR, legal and marketing teams can collaborate to make sure updates are strategized, approved and go out on time and at the same time, no individual is overworked.

3. Being a Robot

Going in with the mindset of quantity over quality is by far one of the biggest social media blunders you can ever make. Posting bland or I-must-give-an-opinion-on-this content doesn’t do any favors for your followers.

While automated or templated replies are great at times, especially for customer support handles, they can generate irreparable ‘oops’ moments for your business. Although real-world issues raised by your customers on social media may look similar, their wordings and context might make a world of difference, and may require a different kind of response.

There have been many instances where autoreply software has made silly mistakes but this response by Bank of America on Twitter was real dopey. You don’t want it to happen to your brand.


The key to avoiding such mishaps is to properly study your target audience. What are their values? Where is their pain? What is the human truth that applies to them?

Netflix does a phenomenal job in understanding its audience:


They keep up with what their users are saying about them (and about everything else) and know exactly how their social following feels about video streaming. They capture it beautifully in this hilarious tweet.

Social media was created to connect people with other people, not machines. Another big mistake brands make is packing their social media posts with jargon that alienates the reader. There needs to be a strong human element tied to everything you do with your campaign. This includes everything from how you post to how you answer queries. Adding some humor and playfulness will make your readers feel more comfortable and leave a better impression.

Here’s an example: Toilet paper isn’t the flashiest product in the world, but Charmin does a great job in using creative copy to create and connect to its audience with a witty, lighthearted tone.


4. Not Vetting Your Posts

The easiest, most simple way of “being social” is this: you have a thought, put it into words, google a relevant image to support it, edit the graphic, and post it online. Oh yes, we love that, don’t we? Hark! Hitting the “Post” button is just scratching the surface of a social media campaign. Being careless in posting a picture culled from the internet is a horrible mistake if you’re running a business and one of the quickest ways to getting your brand associated with the term “clueless.” Take the following for an example:

This picture was posted by the clothing retailer American Apparel to mark the celebration of the Fourth of July, 2014. At a glance, the picture looks like a wave of smoke formed by heavy fireworks. In truth, however, the photo is that of a disaster embedded deep into the American psyche – the Challenger Space Shuttle that exploded in 1986, leading to seven deaths. A little boo-boo there, eh?

Always double-check the pictures you are using; do not get carried away by titles. Some images can get you into copyrights trouble, so do some IP-recon before using them. And not just images – your words on social media can make or break your brand. There’s no two ways about it. Going social means reaching out to activists, writers, journalists, influencers and decision-makers, all at the same time. To complicate that problem, most of them are in disguise and lie waiting! You have to be very careful about what you share.

5. Holding Yourself Back

Hitting the “post” button is just scratching the surface of a social media campaign. If you want to improve the quality of your engagement and nudge a conversion, examining and responding to replies is critical to keep readers coming back. Consumers today like to feel involved with the brands they associate with. Social media is a two-way platform designed expressly for that purpose.


Remember, the goal of social media marketing is to make memorable conversations.

6. Feeding the Trolls

Not holding yourself back has another side to it – and it is easy to get carried away and cross over. The internet is populated by all sorts – more personalities than you’ll find in the real world in fact – and everyone perceives a particular statement or message in their own manner.

Even the most well-intentioned brands have been trolled, so do not lose heart when you get a put down on social media. Be a sport and take it wholeheartedly. Control your nerves and put in place a well-defined strategy in place to handle trolls when they come to get you. You don’t want to have a full blown outburst like the infamous Amy’s Bakery:

In contrast, Ola (the Indian clone of Uber) dealt with a known troll on Twitter, when other brands like Snapdeal, SpiceJet and Airtel fell flat on their faces.

Trolling doesn’t stop at individuals. In this era of fierce competition, companies also try to throw jabs at each other on social media. However, some good natured leg pulling is what keeps ‘healthy competition’ alive.


7. Forgetting to Track

A successful “ongoing” social media campaign is one that is constantly innovating. But before you can innovate, you must track you must fully understand the capabilities of the particular network in question and social media as a channel. The ‘social media intelligence stack’ helps you pinpoint the touchpoints where you can gather data and actions you can take in order to use it in your campaigns.

Tracking online results is the key to finding out what works with your audience. When analyzing your actions, you should get a good idea of how to construct future posts to receive the best reactions. For example, if your immediate goal is to spread awareness, you’ll want to keep an eye out for how many views your posts receive. Needless to say, you’ll find umpteen tools that do every kind of monitoring and analyzing for you. Nuvi is one with in-depth, real-time data collection abilities and great visualization to go with it:

Social media marking is a constant working progress and each post you make should give you a clue on how to reach the next goal.

Parting Thoughts

Fundamental things these, but not quite as simple as they seem, right? Over the past decade, social media has changed our way of life, both as consumers and marketers. It literally gives everyone a voice that can be heard around the world. Avoid these textbook mistakes and put your campaign in a position to make a positive impact on the masses.

Rohan Ayyar

Rohan Ayyar


Rohan Ayyar is the social media and content marketing maven at E2M.