3 Content Mistakes that are Killing Your Social Media Results

Brad Smith

“Content marketing” is one of the latest buzzwords.

But content has been integral to marketing for years. Companies like Coca-Cola have been using content-driven marketing for as long as anyone can remember.

Online, you need to make sure that you’re not only conveying your message but also hitting your goals. Was your headline interesting enough to reach a big audience? Or was the copy intriguing enough to drive a higher CTR?

The obvious problem here is that if your content isn’t good, then it will hurt your other efforts.

Your SEO will struggle because no one will link to you. Your PPC ad won’t perform well because people don’t click on it. And your social media presence will languish in obscurity because no one engages with it.

(You know what they say… if you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig.)

Here are 3 content mistakes that are killing your social media results.


social media results
Image courtesy of theilr



Mistake #1: Too Promotional

The first mistake is the most obvious, but also the most common.

Companies want to treat social media like it’s a direct, customer acquisition channel. When it’s not.

Forrester’s latest findings declared that “social tactics are not meaningful sales drivers”, because it was responsible for only 1% of sales in over 77,000 consumer orders.

But…

Social media does drive sales.

You just have to invert the process, and pull them in. Start by getting and holding your prospects attention.

Because attention is the most precious commodity in today’s marketing environment. (That’s why companies spend big on advertising in the first place.)

Once you have their attention and engagement, then you can worry about selling. So create content that’s interesting, catchy, and “shareable”.

This is especially true for aggressive or “boring” industries like insurance. So instead of boring people to death about the intricacies of insurance, tell a compelling story of how one person saved over a million dollars for retirement in only a few years. Because insurance is really risk management, which is a small component of a broader personal finance plan.

So don’t focus on what you do, but what you do for others.

Which brings us to the next mistake.


Mistake #2: Too Selfish

People are inherently selfish. We all have our own best interests in mind.

In a conversation, you can’t have two people talking at the same time. You can’t both be selfish and talk about yourselves, otherwise the conversation isn’t going very far.

So don’t blog about your product or service. And don’t expect people to care about it either. Instead, talk about what they want to hear.

“Don’t talk about what your company does, but what it does for your customers.” [Click to Tweet]

For example, no one cares about your hotel. So stop talking about it. If you do talk about it, then people will only pay attention if you give them a discount.

Start with the challenges your customers face, the pain points they experience, and then focus on the easy, pain-free solutions.

Consumers travel because they want to relax, have peace-of-mind and a break from their mundane lives. So how about the entertainment at your hotel?

Here’s an email I received from the Wynn Las Vegas recently:

Vegas hotels have been using entertainment for decades to bring people in the doors. In this case they’re positioning a sale as an opportunity, and using priority access as an incentive for me to buy (before tickets sell-out!).

And they’re focusing on a customer benefit or experience, instead of simply promoting their own product.


Mistake #3: Too General

There’s an old saying that says, “You can’t be all things to all people”. So why do organizations think they’re different?

Pull up any corporate website and you’ll see the same bland, vague, jargon-laced copy that tries to appeal to everyone, but is interesting to no one.

It’s no surprise that news-related media properties are going bankrupt. One of the most glaring problems is that their content isn’t interesting. Nobody wants to read the same press release rehashed for the hundredth time.

People want stories that are personalized. That speak to them. They want to actually see an opinion one way or the other. (It almost doesn’t matter if that opinion is right or wrong. Either way you’ll get people talking and leaving comments, which is a win-win for most.)

So go deeper. Focus on a specific subset, segment or customer challenge. For example, one of the top online media sites for small business isn’t from a traditional publisher.

American Express started the OPEN Forum specifically for small businesses. They focused on a specific subset of customers they face unique challenges and needs. And they created a new brand because they didn’t want it to be too commercial or selfish (see mistakes #1 & 2).

It’s difficult to promote a company in financial services (like Amex) because people are immediately suspicious of their intentions.

But if you can re-position your content to focus on a specific audience’s challenges and benefits or experiences, then you can gain traction, get more engagement and grow much quicker.

And you’ll still get all of the branding benefits social media has to offer.