One of the most popular forms of advertising is content marketing. By freely offering information that educates and entertains, brands send a subliminal message: “We understand you, and we’re here to meet your needs.” The approach can be extremely profitable if done well, and the big winners are organizations engaged in social content marketing – a full-bodied integration of social media and brand messaging.

As with most evolving techniques, though, there are plenty of flub-ups. Take a quick look at the top seven social content marketing mistakes, and make sure your brand isn’t on the naughty list.

1. Misunderstanding the approach

Social content marketing is far more than pushing brand resources out to consumers through Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other networks. Old models of content marketing would view content, like blogs or YouTube tutorials, as the center of the wheel, and social media channels as the spokes. Cutting edge strategies flip the focus. Now, the audience themselves serve as the hub – driving outreach and content creation.

Start by digging into social media conversations. Listen to what target audiences want, and strengthen the bond by responding with truly authentic material, which in many cases is user-generated content ripe for the picking. As social signals spur next steps, you’ll find endless opportunities to compile engaging new content.

2. Targeting the wrong audience

As digital strategist Jayson DeMers describes in Forbes Magazine, “Beginning every campaign with a strong understanding of your audience is one of the best ways to ensure your success.” Defining a customer profile usually involves bullet points like age, income, interests, and habits. These are fundamental details, DeMers says, pointing to core needs and motivations that drive consumer decision-making.

Since a key goal of social content marketing is to present the brand as a trusted, relatable resource, knowing who you’re speaking to is of utmost importance. Imagine this scenario. A Florida bed and breakfast caters primarily to retirees. Over spring break, a group of collegiates roll through for some truly wild nights and happily tag the business on social media. Featuring those candid snapshots on your booking engine may pique the interest of other young prospects but have a very different impact on the company’s larger customer base. Incorporating consumer voices into content marketing is only effective if it’s the right fit, and that’s something you’ll only know if you have a solid grasp of your brand’s audience.

3. Overlooking existing content

Back in the old days, like 2017, brands poured countless dollars and hours into generating new material that identified with customers. But why reinvent what already exists? Widespread use of social media offers brands nearly unfettered access to real customer photos, decisions, and opinions. And the data does not lie: no one is more convincing to consumers than consumers themselves. Nielson reports that 92% of consumers trust personal recommendations over all other forms of advertising – an increase of 18 percent since 2007. Online reviews are also heavily relied upon, trusted by 70 percent – an increase of 15 percent in just four years.

Instead of viewing social content as something to receive, the best marketing managers are giving UGC right back to fans. In allowing followers to speak for the brand, you’ll earn instant credibility.

4. Misplaced focus

Marketing is a lot like dating. Talk about yourself all the time, and you’ll quickly lose the interest of prospects. However, a few friends who happen to share some pretty awesome stories about how you saved the day that one time provide a welcome perspective. This is essentially social content marketing.

Unfortunately, many brands flounder, using old tactics with an increasingly skeptical audience. Consumers are rarely won over by corporate sales pitches and hard-to-verify claims. Conversions happen when the product, service, or community addresses a problem. So find out what drives your audience, what keeps them up at night, and let social content marketing do the talking for you.

5. Leaving social media on the networks

Innovative marketers don’t just leave UGC on social networks. Engagement rises significantly when users are exposed to brand and user-generated content together. Simply including user photos or customer reviews on a company’s website increases shopper confidence by 73 percent, so imagine the impact of incorporating social proof along every step of the purchase path. At TwineSocial, we regularly partner with clients to activate cutting-edge stadium displays, invite event attendees to submit content on live social walls, and even showcase real customer photos in retail environments to foster product discovery and engagement. Everyone knows social proof works, so why not bring digital content offline, too?

6. Forgetting to check analytics

Flying blind is never a good idea. Reporting tools are the only way to properly measure the success or failure of efforts. To ensure you’re getting the best results possible, keep an eye on key performance indicators like impressions, post popularity, follower demographics, engagement rates and reach. After all, how can you win the game if you don’t know the score?

7. Posting poor quality content

Brand managers often feel the crunch to stay in the public eye by producing a steady stream of content. Unfortunately, in their haste, much of that content is simply noise in the marketplace. It’s OK to start slowly. Take the time to curate UGC that gets your followers saying, “Wow, cool!” Because when outreach meets customer needs – in this case, a craving for highly-visual, interactive content – engagement will naturally follow. Quality always beats quantity.

For more ideas on how to promote shared enthusiasm around an idea, product, or community, check out our solutions gallery. Then, kick off your own success story with a free 7-day trial of TwineSocial. Let us know how we can help!

social roi

Get more engagement from your user generated content—and turn social media into real ROI.

social roi

Get more engagement from your user generated content—and turn social media into real ROI.