Social media is no longer an optional part of the comprehensive online marketing strategy – it’s a crucial way to connect with the modern-day audience. Today, there are approximately 2.078 billion active social media accounts online, and social networking accounts for 28% of time spent online. In other words, with so many people spending so much time on their social profiles, businesses that fail to utilize social media marketing are missing out on a vast potential audience.

However, logging onto LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ doesn’t guarantee success, and a large number of followers doesn’t equate to a working social media strategy. If you’re not generating engagement, conversations, or making money, then your current efforts are failing. Establishing a beneficial social media marketing strategy requires more than occasional posts about updated products, services, or information. A successful social media strategy means staying up-to-date with current trends, and interacting with your audience on the right level. Follow these tips below to see which tactics you should dump for a more lucrative social presence in 2016.

1. Attempting to Use Every Available Platform

When the popularity of social media began to rise, many companies believed they could maximize their results by making their mark on every available platform. After all, more platforms means a bigger audience overall. Unfortunately, spreading your company over every network is a terrible strategy.

Every social media outlet is different. For instance, Facebook is the most frequently used social media service, but it may not fit your business needs. Before you start anything online, you need to figure out where your target market is, and how you can get involved with them. By choosing to find your audience, select the correct outlet, and craft the right message, you can save a lot of time, energy, and money. For example, a restaurant business may focus more on an image-based platform like Pinterest or Instagram, as that’s where foodies engage and share. However, a law-firm wouldn’t benefit from a presence on Instagram, as their clients need facts — not images.

2. Buying Followers or Engagement

Once, social media used to be about getting as many people to follow you as possible. The more likes, followers, and shares you had, the more successful you were. Buying followers may be tempting, as it requires little effort and makes your brand “look” popular, but in the end the number is meaningless. Bought followers don’t care about what you’re saying or doing, and they won’t give you any sales.

300,000 fans on Facebook won’t keep your business running, but 5,000 highly-engaged and loyal fans could. Today, it’s not about the quantity, but the quality — the love, engagement, and interest that you can foster for your brand. You need followers that care about your company — and that means hard work.

3. Posting without a Defined Goal

Today, social media is the main point of contact between companies and customers. A third of all customers prefer contacting a business through their social profile than over the phone, and this number is likely to grow with the rise of accessible technology and younger, technologically savvy, generations. As a source of customer service, each social platform you use should be developed with the same level of care and attention as any other part of your marketing or conversion strategy. In other words, your social strategy should have a clear goal, and well-planned steps on how to get there.

Going in blind and hoping for the best may have worked in the past, but maximizing your social budget today means thinking about what you want to accomplish, and taking steps to make your ambitions a reality.  

4. Using Social Media as a Billboard for Advertising

Your aim on social media may be to promote your brand, but the future landscape of marketing means that you need to find a way of doing that without being overt or obvious. Throwing out constant sales pitches means that your audience will lose interest in you, or tune you out completely. The reason? Social media isn’t about sales — it’s about engagement and conversations.

The millennials of today despise traditional advertising, and more people than ever are beginning to respond to marketing that focuses on delivering value and entertainment, rather than sales. Mention your sales and new products, but avoid hammering your audience with the same news. Rather than constantly promoting, use your social channel as a way to interact with followers, show your knowledge and value, share curated content, and develop relationships.

5. Baiting for Likes and Shares

Click-bait articles were a big deal in 2015, but new algorithms are beginning to phase them out in an effort to continue delivering high-quality content to internet users. In the same vein, like-baiting means using controversial or provocative headlines to stir up attention for likes and shares. This practice often has nothing to do with business objectives, and fails to provide the reader with any new information, meaning that it borders on spam.

Not only will useless posts lose you the respect of your audience, but Facebook recently updated their algorithm to curb this behavior, and other platforms are sure to follow suit.

In Conclusion…

Promoting a successful social media campaign requires patience, consistency, and dedication. By dumping the above tactics, you’re sure to increase your chances of gaining respect and popularity among your followers in 2016.

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