Despite all the naysayers insisting that social media is a fad or can't grant you measurable bottom-line benefits, social media marketing is usually a lucrative strategy for brand visibility, web traffic, and even full-on conversions. However, these results don't come to you naturally--you have to work for them, and you definitely get out what you put in.

As you might imagine, if you end up neglecting your social media campaign, you're going to see less-than-stellar results. The problem is, most people don't realize they're neglecting their campaigns in such damaging ways until it's too late:

1. You never made a plan. You can't just "start" marketing on social media. It's not like signing up for Facebook as an individual user. If you want any hope of being successful, you need a formally devised and documented strategy, including who your target audience is, what your campaign goals are, and how you plan to achieve everything. If you never bothered to create a plan in the first place, I'd be surprised if you got any traction at all.

2. You aren't posting regularly. One consistent demand of effective social media marketing campaigns for any business are consistency and regularity in posting. If you want people to follow you, you need to give them a good reason--and that reason usually comes in the form of a steady supply of content. If you only post once every few days, you won't generate enough visibility to create any meaningful growth.

3. You're scheduling all your posts ahead of time. I know, scheduling tools are great. They help you manage your thoughts, establish a regular pattern of posting, and spare you from the disadvantage of logging in regularly to keep up with your followers. However, don't fall into the trap of scheduling all your posts far in advance; your followers will catch on to your too-precise patterns and non-fluid language, and you'll seem less sincere.

4. You aren't on enough platforms. More isn't exactly "better," at least not in every case, but if you're only using one or two social platforms, you're selling yourself short. Even if you only have a few dozen followers on a platform, it's still worth the minute or two it takes to repost or syndicate a piece of content there. Plus, you'll get the search visibility benefits of claiming your brand's social profile.

5. You aren't on the right platforms. Most brands are active on Facebook, and a startling number are active on Facebook alone. Facebook is great, but it doesn't have any special advantages for certain niches, and its demographics aren't as focused as those of platforms like LinkedIn, SnapChat, and Pinterest. Know your demographics, know your content, and only invest in the platforms that can truly benefit your brand.

6. You aren't responding to your followers. It's called "social" media for a reason--you have to socialize! If you're posting regularly, chances are a chunk of your follower base is responding regularly. Are you replying to them? Answering their questions? If not, they're going to lose interest in you. This means it's on you to log in regularly, check for new interactions, and acknowledge all of them in some way (even a "like" works most of the time).

7. You don't seek out new conversations. If you want to attract followers outside your existing customer base, you have to seek them out in external contexts. In the social media world, one of the best ways to do this is to seek out running conversations on other brand pages, or spurred by influencers in your industry. Make yourself known as a thought leader by expressing clear, debatable opinions and engaging other users.

8. You haven't escalated your presence. Obviously, you want your strategy to grow over time, but if you apply the same strategies and approaches over and over again, you'll never achieve that growth. You need to escalate your presence by being better, targeting new users, and doing more overall. This will help you find new opportunities to plunder, consistently increase your user base, and ultimately be more compelling to recurring users.

9. You haven't tried out the fancy new features. Social media platforms are fighting to stay alive (and outdo each other), so the major players are constantly rolling out new features to help both individuals and brands. For example, Facebook just rolled out a new organic audience targeting feature--are you using it? You don't necessarily have to try out every new feature a social platform comes up with, but they're all worth considering. Don't let your campaign go stale.

10. You aren't listening to feedback. Your users are the best resources you have for self-improvement. If you aren't listening to what they have to say, directly or through behavioral cues, you're shooting yourself in the foot. Pride yourself on gathering that feedback and implementing it appropriately into future iterations of your campaign.

These neglectful errors are dangerous not because of their inherent capacity to dismantle a campaign, but because they're innocuous enough to go unnoticed. If you neglect your campaign like this, you may never realize what you're doing, and end up blaming your lack of results on some external variable, or on social media marketing in general. Take the time to truly invest in your campaign, and pay close attention to your followers; this demands effort, but the rewards are worth it.

Published on: Mar 18, 2016