A strong social network can become an asset for any business. Social media offers every business the opportunity to strengthen relationships with their target audience, creating loyal customers and even brand advocates. Exploiting this potential is no easy feat, but can be done if the medium is used well.
Unfortunately, many companies are still not getting the best out of their social media accounts. Yet social media is big business: 74% of all internet users use social networking sites, and for younger adults it’s even more. That’s a huge readjustment of the traditional marketing paradigm.
The fact is, if you want to reach your audience, social media is the place to start. But avoiding the many pitfalls can prove difficult.
Don’t Create Accounts Just Because
Everybody’s doing it, and they’re telling you that your business should be too. It may be great for other businesses, but you just aren’t sure how it can help your company.
If you aren’t clear on the benefits of social media, then the chances are you aren’t going to use it properly, and it could be damaging to your business. Yet, no presence on social media is a poor choice as well. Even if you aren’t on Facebook or Instagram, your audience is, and they’re likely having a conversation about you—without your input.
Take the time to understand social media and what it can do for you, and invest the time and budget needed to do it well.
Don’t Ignore Social Norms
It’s difficult to get the tone right on social media. Each social network has different systems, rules, and social norms. What is acceptable on one network may be a social faux pas on another.
Unless you’re confident on each one, it’s only natural that you will make mistakes. But getting your tone right is a must. Common expectations of corporate behavior include:
- Take the time to respond to messages left by customers; social media is about engagement and conversation should be a two way street.
- Don’t talk about yourself continuously, or spam your followers’ feeds with sales messages.
- Don’t be needy. Asking for retweets and likes for your content is frowned upon. If the content and messages you are sharing are truly interesting and insightful, shares, likes, and retweets will take care of themselves.
Don’t be afraid to be imperfect (in fact humanizing your brand is a good thing on social media) but be aware you are expected to follow the unwritten rules of social networking behavior.
Don’t be Present on Every Social Network
Spreading yourself too thinly across every social network is a common mistake. You want to be everywhere so you can maximize the opportunity, but cast the net too wide and it will be difficult to network effectively across all channels.
Building a strong network on 1 or 2 social media platforms is much better than having a weak and patchy presence on them all. It’s more difficult for a business to regularly update many social media accounts. Even if you manage to maintain a regular presence, the quality of your content will probably suffer. Being on too many social networks will undermine your brand values, not reinforce them.
Each social network has its own strengths, and they are popular with different audiences. Choose one or two that are best for you. Research them to find out where your audience hangs out and think carefully about what you want to achieve on social media. If you are a creative, youth oriented brand, Instagram or Snapchat may be a great social network for you to engage your audience. Conversely, if you’re a B2B company, LinkedIn may the best choice.
Don’t Favor Quantity Over Quality
Your social media presence should be about brand awareness and customer engagement, and these goals should be at the heart of your business strategy on social media.
Too many businesses use social media as a broadcasting channel or sales channel. But social media isn’t just a free advertising channel – it has the potential to build a relationship with your target market and improve customer loyalty. But first you have to get your content right.
In order to build your network you must consider your customer’s needs and have a content strategy in place. An unfocused approach that prioritizes quantity of content over quality isn’t going to be successful. If it doesn’t provide value to your audience, they aren’t going to engage with you.
Don’t Ignore Comments
Building a conversation with your customers is the holy grail of social media. But many businesses invest most of their time building awareness and growing their network, rather than having a conversation.
Comments from customers are the beginning of a dialogue with them, the moment at which they give you permission to interact with them. Yet research has found 9 out of 10 social media comments sent to brands are ignored. The same research found people expect a response within 4 hours, and the average is 10 hours.
Take the example of British Airways. In 2013 a customer promoted a tweet to complain about the customer service, the company’s Twitter account was only monitored during office hours so there was a delay in their response, which gave the tweet plenty of time to circulate around the Internet.
It’s ironic that so much energy is spent building a social network to strengthen customer relationships and the opportunity to do so is ignored when it presents itself. Balance building your social presence with strengthening your network and always respond to your customers promptly.
Don’t Remove Negative Comments
We all want to show ourselves in the best light possible, but sweeping negativity under the carpet is simply going to infuriate dissatisfied customers even more. No organization is perfect, but show you are prepared to learn from your mistakes by facing them head on.
People are increasingly expecting a response to their complaints through social media. They won’t call you, they won’t write (not even an email), they will however take to social media to inform you, and everyone in your network. It’s a particularly public form of complaint, and you need to be ready or it could prove costly. United Airlines paid a heavy price for poor complaint management in 2008 when a disgruntled passenger took to YouTube after getting no satisfaction from their complaints procedure.
When this happens, be professional and don’t be defensive. The old adage (some might say cliché) about a complaint being an opportunity is certainly true on social media. You can’t stop people from complaining about you, but you can demonstrate a willingness to learn from any mistakes. Not just to customer with the issue, but to all your customers in your social network.
Don’t be Complacent About Security
All a disgruntled employee needs is your login and password, and they have access to your entire social network, including customers, partners, and your target audience. The potential to damage your reputation and lose business is incalculable.
In 2013, an employee of British retailer HMV hijacked the company’s Twitter account. Senior management was helpless as it didn’t know its own password.
To avoid this situation happening to you, put in place a system that secures your social media accounts and reduces the potential for reputational damage.
- Set up limited permissions for selected staff to update your social media. Managing your social media accounts shouldn’t be left to a low-level employee.
- Make sure publishing rights are only given to a select number of people who have responsibility for overseeing the suitability of the content (though many people in the organization should be encouraged to draft content).
- Train your staff about social media.
Complacency can lead to public embarrassment; put in place security measures to protect the integrity of your brand.
Don’t Rely on Automating Updates
It’s understandable businesses are inclined to reduce the burden of updating their social media accounts by automating them. But automation tools should be used with caution; they can never be a substitute for true engagement with customers.
Businesses should take care to ensure customer engagement isn’t forgotten in the rush to reduce workload. Without customer engagement you are reducing your social networks to a promotional tool, or a cheap advertising channel, and you won’t get any value out if it. Your customers can’t have a conversation with an automation tool.
Don’t Treat it as a Marketing Function Alone
It’s often the case that businesses fall into the trap of ‘silo thinking’, and social media is no exception. In organizations that still treat social media as a promotional tool, it’s often left in the control of the marketing function.
In recognition of its increasing importance as a means of managing the customer relationships, many organizations are now taking a decentralized approach to reflect customer expectations. Your social network is now a sales channel, a promotional channel, a customer service channel, and a market research channel. To get the best out of it, and to meet your customers’ expectations, move it out of the marketing department and make it an integral part of your customer relationships.
The place of social media in business strategy has evolved, and it has moved from just a marketing device to a tool that’s of strategic importance to your company and its brand. Many companies haven’t embraced its full potential.
Organizations need to remember customers are using social media as a place to discuss and complain about brands whether the company is engaging with them or not.
On your marks… get set… wait. Jumping the gun on mobile app marketing and launching is costly. Launching your app from the start line before you’re limbered up, well-trained and ready to go is a sure-fire way of ensuring your app never makes it to the podium. If you’re looking for your app to be a successful one you need to consider all the common pitfalls and ensure that you don’t fall foul of them. The reputation dent that a poor app can cause is not worth it: Mistakes cost.
Mobile apps are a rapidly growing and changing market. What worked six months ago is potentially out of date now. Amobi Apps have done the homework for you. We’ve got your training schedule in top shape so that you can avoid the common mobile app marketing mistakes, and race to the finish line knowing that success is waiting. Apps are now our favorite tools of consumerism. Whether your app is aimed at increasing shopping functionality, communications, socialization or decision-making: Getting your marketing strategy right matters.
Be a Social Media Buddy – Make Friends and Use Them
You know your business better than anyone, and hopefully you know your consumer base too. You know if you’re being viewed by a raft of geeks who love their stats or the cool kids who want to know what’s in. Your Social Media voice needs to adopt a persona to match in order to effectively market your mobile app to the right clientele.
Hopefully you’ve already got a working and productive Social Media presence that you can utilize. If not, get one going and get the word out. Social Media is going to spread info about your app so it makes sense that you’re in control of it. By utilizing your own Social Media network to promote the app in advance of its launch you can entice those who already love your brand and your business to be ready and waiting in the wings ready to hit download as soon as they can.
We all love a bargain. You can use Social Media to offer incentives. That way, when you’re ready to launch, you’ve already got a customer-base ready to jump on the bandwagon. Incentives can be anything from extra lives in games, coupons for money off, or reduced in-app purchases.
Importantly, social media is going to come into play with reviews. Social proof matters where apps are concerned. Link positive reviews back to your Social Media and you set up a wonderful perpetual cycle of app love.
Hop from Social Media to Microsite
A microsite is a web page or group of webpages that is set up with an express and specified purpose separate from your main website. An ideal mobile app marketing strategy is to promote your upcoming app using a microsite. This enables you to give more info in a user-friendly way whilst targeting the right audience. By linking this across from your Social Media campaign you achieve a holistic approach that sells.
The microsite will increase your app’s visibility in a simple, benefits-driven, way. You may include such things as a video showing the app in use, or screenshots showing the app’s functionality. Importantly, there should be a link ready and waiting to be clicked for download.
Manage Expectations – Be a Salesperson with Integrity
Seriously. It is possible to do both, and it’s in your interests. If you make wild claims about what your app can do and don’t deliver on that promise you’re going to lose out, and lose out fast. App users aren’t known for giving app manufacturers second-chances. You’ve got one shot at getting this right. So…manage expectations.
Be truthful about your app’s capabilities whilst identifying its Unique Selling Point. Highlight the benefits of your app but don’t make unrealistic claims. You will be found out, and it won’t be pretty when a flood of poor reviews is tumbling down on you. Therefore, we strongly recommend including images and screenshots of your app in your marketing. Whet the appetite and let users have an insight in to what they will get.
And don’t treat your app as a mini-desktop. A mobile website is not an app. An app is an app, use it as such and market it according to its genuine capabilities.
Get on board with a new acronym: ASO
The chances are you have a vague idea about spiders crawling the web and that Search-Engine Optimization matters. But the new kid on the block is App Store Optimization (ASO). It matters for you and your mobile app marketing approach because the vast majority of new apps are found simply by browsing an app store. You need to be up there in the top search results to maximize return on your investment.
Just because things are never simple, ASO varies from platform to platform. At the end of the day you not only need to ensure your app itself is adapted to each different platform (for example iOS or Android), but you need to ensure you’re tailored to the specific ASO of the different platforms. This involves a delicate mixture of keywords, driving and encouraging reviews, and straightforward popularity.
Downloads are Great, But Retention is Better
Don’t just aim for downloads. Although downloads are a key and driving part of the app’s success, for real long term benefit your mobile app marketing strategy needs to be geared towards retention: keeping the users you’ve got, and importantly, getting them hooked into using your app. The marketing strategy therefore needs to address the lifetime value of an app by accurate interpretation and utilization of Analytics Data to ensure the app is of ongoing value. You need to use engagement mechanisms such as push notifications, subscriptions and in-app purchases to continue to make a difference to your bottom-line beyond download.
Go for Gold – Hone Your Mobile App Marketing
By addressing each of the above issues in your mobile app marketing strategy, before the fire of the gun, you can be sure that you’ll gain your place on the podium for app success. Apps can be invaluable for driving business success and growth, but they can also flop pretty easily, so don’t let that be your one. At Amobi Apps we’re the experts so you don’t have to be. Avoiding app marketing pitfalls is second nature to us. We’re here to make your app the app to have in the most hassle-free way.