How’s your social media marketing going?
Is it living up to your expectations?
Are you getting the traffic and referrals you’d hoped for?
Not so much?
I thought so.
Everyone told you things would be different, right? Those social media marketing sites promised you an avalanche of followers and clients.
They said, “all you need to do is reach out with high quality content.”
So you joined and joined and joined.
You followed all the like-minded folks you could find. You posted diligently for months.
Still, you’re disappointed.
In fact, you’re feeling a bit angry, like you were duped.
And if you’re truly honest, you’re wondering if anyone is really benefiting from social media marketing.
Maybe it’s not for authors…
Maybe it’s just for big brands or celebrities…
Maybe it’s changed too much, and you have to pay to gain traction…
Despite these common worries, social media is still viable. It’s still free, and it’s an essential strategy for self-promotion.
You can and will succeed on social media if you know how to play the game, if you know how to recognize and remedy the common mistakes that keep you stuck.You can and will succeed on social media if you know how to play the game, if you know how to recognize and remedy the common mistakes that keep you stuck. Click To Tweet
Read on to discover the most common, correctable reasons why authors fail at social media marketing.
You’re Not Publishing Regularly
So, you’ve opened up a few social media accounts, and you’re excited about the possibilities. You post a couple times a week on each platform, and you’re hoping for steady traffic and engagement from your efforts. You assume it’ll take a few weeks for the momentum to kick in.
Not so fast.
You’re going to need daily updates: enough content to catch your followers’ attention when they’re online. And depending on the social platform, once a day may not be enough.
Take Twitter, for example.
Your followers need to be online at the exact times your posting content. They need to be looking at their feed to see your content. Your content needs to break through the noise, providing an enticing reason for your readers to click.
Don’t hedge your bets on a single update. Develop a content calendar. Treat it the same way you would schedule content for your blog. Your goal is to provide enough daily content to be visible to your readers.
Take things a step further. Find out when your users are online, and schedule posts accordingly.
Monitor your accounts to discover the best times for engagement.
You’re Not Using Tools
You’re an author, a creative person.
Often, creative types feel uncomfortable with marketing. It can feel like you’re selling out, like you’re abandoning your art for commerce.
Worse, using software, apps, and tools feels like cheating, like you’re trying to beat the system, like you’re trying to manipulate your audience.
You couldn’t be more wrong.
Tools increase your efficiency, nothing more. You can be honest or dishonest with or without tools.
You’re going to need tools if you want to use social media effectively. The right software tools will help you with the following:
- finding targeted followers (folks who are interested in your genre, products, and services)
- growing your following efficiently
- managing your following (weeding out fake or inactive accounts)
- scheduling updates to better meet the needs of your followers
You’re Making It All About You
Don’t make this beginner mistake: making your social media updates all about you.
Unless you’re a popular restaurant critic, no one cares where you had dinner last night.
They probably don’t care about your latest book, either—at least not yet.
Your audience cares about themselves, so find ways to flip the equation: make your updates about them. Provide them with information, inspiration, and entertainment.
Spend a few hours reverse-engineering the most engaging content in your genre. Find the top hashtags in your genre, and look for viral content, for double and triple-digit reshares and likes.
Find the top influencers in your field. Comb through their content, and find out what’s working for them. There’s no need for guesswork. Everything that’s working is right under your nose.
When you tap into the best content types for your audience, engagement will take care of itself.
You’re Not Mixing Up Your Content
There’s nothing worse than following accounts that post the same uninspiring inspirational quotes in a loop. Other accounts do nothing more than re-share influencers’ content.
If you’re boring your audience, they’ll unfollow you or mute your updates. Over time, the large following you’ve developed will become ineffective.
When things are working, it’s easy to rest on prior success, believing your work is done. Test and tweak your updates. Introduce new content types on a regular basis for novelty and continued engagement.
Use your scheduling tools to vary your content. And if you’re wondering, there’s nothing wrong with repeating quality content as long as there’s ample time between updates.
You’re Not Giving Enough Away
Successful social marketers are generous.
Spend some time developing a strategy for offering free content. Share a link to a free chapter of your latest book. Develop some premium content in exchange for your reader’s email address.
Compile lists of resources for your readers.
When you consistently provide value to your readers, they begin to trust you. More importantly, they’ll want to reciprocate your generosity. They’ll be more receptive to your products and services after you’ve buttered them up.
You’re Not Taking It Seriously
Social media is supposed to be fun; however, you need to take it seriously when marketing.
You must commit to the medium.
This means developing an action plan for growing your account as well as providing the best quality content you can offer.
Most social media users dabble. They communicate with friends, coworkers, and relatives in a natural, random fashion. Your needs are different, so you’ll need to approach it differently.
Getting your work out to the world takes time, patience, and dedication. Ask yourself whether you’re giving it the attention it deserves.
You’re Taking the Easy Road
Over time, whether you’re successful or not, it’s easy to become complacent, scheduling the same updates in a loop. You convince yourself that you’re putting in the time, doing what you can to maintain a quality social presence.
But if you’re honest, there’s more you can do. New trends develop every day.
Schedule some time to monitor the latest news, gossip, and advancements in your genre. Become a trusted source for information.
This doesn’t have to take hours each day, either. Schedule a weekly Friday happy hour, and comb through the week’s best content with your favorite cocktail.
Assemble a feed of the top sites in your field.
Check out Buzzsumo, Buzzfeed, and Reddit for trending topic ideas.
You’re Not Consciously Shaping Your Brand Identity
Whether you realize it or not, your posts say a lot about you. Your brand identity evolves in concert with your actions. Are you actively shaping your brand, or are you leaving it to chance?
Everything you post creates an association in your reader’s mind. How are you coming across?
Are you being generous, lighthearted, entertaining, and useful?
Are you being serious, helpful, consistent?
Do you know which approach engages your audience?
Are your updates all over the place, demonstrating a lack of focus? Think about the image you want to project. Think about ways you can make a difference.
You’re Acting Like a Troll
Due to anonymity and the sheer numbers of social media users, it’s easy to get upset online. Every day, someone’s bound to tick you off. It goes with the territory.
- They may leave off-putting comments on a quality article.
- They may share ugly, unevolved views on important, sensitive topics.
- They may be looking for a fight—this time—with you.
Engaging with them never serves your interests.
When was the last time you got into a cyber argument?
When was the last time you said something unkind to an Internet user (even if they deserved it)?
Since nothing truly disappears online, this behavior is toxic to your social media marketing plans. Potential clients may be turned off by your latest rant. You could be branded a troll for speaking your mind.
Ask yourself whether your personal convictions help or hinder your marketing plans.
You’re Churning Out Lazy Content
Finding quality content is challenging, but it’s also rewarding. There’s nothing like posting an interesting article or video and receiving thanks and comments from readers around the world. There’s no faster way to develop rapport with your followers.
If your goal is marketing your blog posts, books, products, and services, think twice about posting too many selfies, vacation pics, favorite sports team updates, and pet pics.
Again, put your focus on your followers.
You’re Too Controversial
Controversial issues receive clicks, but they also tend to stir deep emotions.
Think carefully about your audience.
Are you mixing religious or political ideas with your professional content?
Are you ranting about polarizing issues?
Even if your audience agrees with you, you risk compromising your brand identity. They may tire of your unprofessional content. Folks may be muting you without your knowledge.
Every time a major U.S. event hits the media, users run away with the topic. This is fine and appropriate for public discourse, but it’s another thing for your business.
I go to my social stream for quality articles and business ideas. I’m turned off by political and religious content. Those are personal subjects.
Separate your personal and business accounts, and keep them separate.
You’re Spamming Your Audience
Without realizing it, many beginning users release too many updates at once.
Not understanding how to schedule or spread out their content, they release a series of updates in a block. This looks excessive in a user’s stream, and depending on the medium and the notification system, it looks like spam.
Also, it’s important to think twice about self-serving content on social media. If you’re churning out affiliate product offers disguised as content updates, your followers may block or unfollow you.
Selling products on social media takes time and finesse. Make sure you’re not turning off you’re following. There are better ways to gain clients. Treat your followers with respect. Entice them to visit your website or blog before pitching products.
Imagine receiving a life insurance pitch from a stranger at a dinner party. It’s rude, and it’s inappropriate.
You’re Selling Too Much of the Time
You have a new book to promote, and you can’t wait to share it with your social media audience.
So, you run ads in a loop, several each day. What’s the problem?
An update is fine, but be careful about overdoing it. Consider pinning the posts to the top of your stream. Place them in your profile or bio.
Get your audience engaged, and they’ll become curious about your books and other products. Place your book promotion updates in between other audience-centered content.
You’re Not Building Authority
In the last decade, social media has taken over many aspects of our lives. Users spend hours online every day.
If you’re marketing, time online doesn’t equal productivity.
Are your follower numbers increasing? Is engagement increasing?
Are you taking full advantage of your time?
Are you networking with influencers?
How are you measuring your progress?
Set realistic goals, and track the results. Know where you’d like to be in 30 days, in six months, in two years.
You’re Making Dumb Mistakes
I once shared a link to a wonderful grammar and punctuation article from another website. The problem? My update had a typo in the headline.
When recommending grammar and punctuation tips, it’s especially important to proofread.
It took about five minutes for a user to send me a rude comment.
I thanked her, and fixed the problem.
Social media can become daunting. Finding, organizing, and scheduling your updates takes considerable time and energy.
Keep in mind, however, that quality still matters.
Check your replies and comments for feedback. Check for spelling, typos, for duplicate updates, missing URLs, or dead links.
Create a checklist to make sure you’re presenting yourself in a professional manner.
You’re Not Using Visuals
I remember the day I committed to adding visuals to my social media updates. Engagement doubled overnight.
There’s something about an image that grabs people’s attention.
Countless studies have proven a correlation between quality visuals and increased engagement.
Go through your own social media streams, and look at what stands out.
What grabs your attention?
What entices you to click?
Spend some time choosing the best images for your updates. It can make all the difference in the world.
Check out Pixabay and MorgueFile for free, high quality images.
Now, it’s your turn…
What social media mistakes have held you back?
What social media mistakes make you cringe?
Tell us about them in the comments section below.