We all understand that billions of people use different social media channels, and a majority of them frequent more than one of the “big kahunas” out there, whether they prefer Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or something else. Almost regardless of your industry or business interest, you need a social media action plan to reach as many of the right people as possible.

However, can you be sure or at least feel good about the fact that your social media action plan is solid and free from major mistakes? While one of the bonuses of social media marketing is that you can change course at the drop of a hat, that won’t save you the time or budgetary investment you’ve already expended before you discover that you’ve made a misstep. My team is here to help you avoid some of the common mistakes that people make with their social media marketing plan. We hope you’ll read this and realize that you don’t have to worry about any of them, but if any of these examples look familiar, it’s time to make some quick corrections to get back on track.

Only Having a “General” Plan

“Sure, I’ll post to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. every day. I’ll make sure to include links to my Web site and relevant information. That alone should get me noticed.” We’ve heard that one too many times, even from influencers who have large followings. What should be clear before reading any farther is that this is an idea, and it’s definitely not a plan, let alone a social media action plan that’s going to work.

You need to be specific with regards to what you’re going to post, who you’re going to target and several other things such as what time may be best to post certain things, etc. What posts are you going to start with? How are you going to engage the people who see them directly and/or indirectly? How are your initial posts going to set up the posts that follow? Who exactly do you want seeing these posts? The good news is that you can answer all of these questions with some basic research, but you need to do so, otherwise you’re just posting blindly and not really accomplishing anything.

Not Drilling Down On the Specifics of Your Target Audience

“My target market is millennials, or Generation X, or Baby Boomers, or Americans, or professionals, or women…” Have you heard this one before? We have, and these are not audiences, but rather general demographic groups that are anything but monolithic in terms of their buying decisions and interests. Do ALL members of Generation X have the same attitude towards vegan diets? Of course not. Do ALL women need to see your posts that relate to career advice or fashion or parenting? No – we all know this, yet too many so-called social media action plans only go as far as the outermost superficial levels when defining their audience. 

Spend some time really getting to know who is going to consume your product or service. If you’re selling vintage video games, for instance, it may turn out that a big part of your target market is Gen Xers, but that’s only part of the equation. Where do these Gen Xers live? What are their income levels? Is there a noticeable gender gap? What types of vintage video games are selling the best – console or handheld versions? Ask yourself every question you can think of in terms of your target market, and then spend time putting data behind those answers. Finally, make use of the data regardless of whether it reinforces your preliminary notions or not. 

Do Not Artificially Inflate Your Following

Building a social media following takes time, as you already understand since you’ve done that to a large extent. There are few things more disappointing than waking up and seeing that you have fewer followers than you did the previous day. Ugh! That has to stop! How will you make this business idea work if a dwindling number of people are going to ever be exposed to it?

Sometimes even experts need to be reminded of the obvious, and what’s obvious here is that we all know that followers come and followers go. It’s the natural flow of things – it’s how this all works. Even though you may be tempted to do so, do NOT, under ANY circumstances, start buying your followers. It may seem soooo easy and if you just do it this ONE time, it’ll be fine, right? No big deal? Yes, it’s against the rules, but… just this once…

All you’re accomplishing if you start buying followers and inflating your own stats is harming your own interests in the long run. Your fake followers are not going to like or share the posts you release, so all you’re really doing is increasing exposure without giving yourself any better chance at accomplishing what you’re REALLY after, which is conversions. Who cares how many people see your post? Yes, that’s part of it, but what matters is how many people see your posts who you actually want to see them because they’re part of your already-highly-defined target audience? See above for more on that…

Posting and Punting

Every social media action plan should be about conversion, of course, but a BIG part of converting target audience members is engaging them. People don’t come to social media sites to read. Instead, they come to social media sites to look at things, to react to things and to “talk” about things with others. They’re there to engage, not passively let information wash over them like they would while watching TV. 

When you put a post out there and people comment on it, you need to respond to them! Get in there and mix it up with the people you want seeing and talking about your product or service! Yes, that means you should interact with people even if their comments are negative. In fact, those are the people you REALLY need to engage with, so others who are watching your threads will realize that you’re not shying away from negative feedback. 

OH… that’s another thing… don’t punt after posting by deleting negative comments, either. If your audience is already sizable, people are going to see those negative comments almost as soon as they’re posted. If they notice that you delete them and don’t respond, that’s not going to sit well with them.  They’ll start to wonder why you won’t answer questions or respond to comments that, while negative, may come off as reasonable. Don’t do that – handle these commenters and stay involved overall.

Use Humor… VERY Carefully

Finally, your brand’s social media action plan should obviously include posting in a way that people are interested in what you have to say. You don’t want to just post simple, straightforward things like, “Our product/service is awesome and here’s why!” 10 times a week, as people are going to stop paying attention to that pretty quickly. Consumers know when they’re being sold, and most people don’t like feeling that way. Sooner or later, they’ll tune you out.

You need to show personality in your social media action plan. You need your brand to give off a tone, almost a persona, that is relatable and human. That’s easier said than done, but one of the ways to do that is through humor. There are brands out there, like Steak-Umm, that are absolutely knocking their social media posts out of the park. If you want to see for yourself, take a look at their Twitter feed. More often than not, it’s hilarious, and even when they dip their toes into something controversial, they do so artfully so as not to go too far.

That’s the whole catch with being funny and showing personality: You have to be very careful not to offend anyone. All it takes is one misstep and before you know it, a post of yours is going viral for all the wrong reasons. That can be absolutely devastating to your brand, as those social media warriors out there are relentless and unforgiving. If you’re going to be funny, be Jerry Seinfeld funny, which really means be clever and cute but not over-the-top.

If you want to see how I show my personality in my brand, check out my Facebook page – and while you’re there, leave a comment – we’d love to say hi!

Get Some Help With Your Social Media Action Plan

Ultimately, we all have a job to do if we’re marketers, and part of that job involves social media channels. Successfully marketing in this manner is easier said than done, but you can do it with the right drive and help. The Prepared Performer is here to provide you with the help you need. Contact one of our experts today and get ready to learn more about what can be done during your conversation than you ever thought possible. Also, I’ve provided a few more links below Happy posting!