6 Social Media Mistakes Big Brands Are Making
The big brands don’t have it all figured out, either. Especially when it comes to social media marketing.
In fact, we’d go so far as to say that because of their long-standing success, they’re often out of touch with what’s really going on in social media. That’s usually why they’re making some pretty crucial social media mistakes.
Don’t be like them. That’s it. That’s the tweet. (Keep scrolling for an explanation if you want it, though.)
Social Media Mistake #1: Big brands serve the platform, not the audience
Features on social media platforms are made to serve audiences and their interests, not the other way around. And yet, that’s what most big brands do: Focus on the features first. If you’re creating content just to appease the algo in the hopes of getting seen first on the #FYP, then hello Houston? We have a problem.
The social media landscape has changed, so that means your audience has too — or really, the way they consume content has.
Across three different generations, it’s clear that short-form video is the #1 way consumers want to learn or engage with a brand.
But you already knew all of this, right? It’s not like short-form video content just magically appeared out of thin air. We’ve been feeling the shift since 2019.
So what does this have to do with tapping into what your audience wants? How do you differentiate yourself when everyone wants video content?
H3: You tune into your audience
What does the content inside that short-form video have to say? Day in the Life or product reviews with trending audio may be (statistically speaking) a good way to get seen, but honestly? Eyes don’t mean shit if they don’t convert.
Does YOUR audience care about those DITL videos or product reviews? Do they actually want to see “tips and tricks” about XYZ?
You need to pay attention to what they gravitate towards — because that is the content that’s going to land conversions.
SOCIAL MEDIA MISTAKE #2: BIG BRANDS JUST POST TO STAY RELEVANT
Stop posting just to post. It’s worse than not posting at all. Why? Because if it’s not what your audience wants or needs, that shit is going to get old fast. That’s not the content they signed up for, and you’re going to start attracting the wrong people.
Showing off content that’s devoid of your personality means it’s going to be disconnected from your brand (never a good thing).
We see this all the time with brands who have Gen Z interns — they hire them to freshen up their boring-ass strategies, only to post content that has nothing to do with the brand at all. And now, they’re in a worse position than before.
They don’t know who they are, and their audience doesn’t either. That’s why it’s so important to create content that appeases YOUR AUDIENCE, even if it’s not the trendiest or funniest meme.
Quality > virality, always.
SOCIAL MEDIA MISTAKE #3: BIG BRANDS DON’T ENGAGE WITH THEIR AUDIENCE
Social media as a means of customer service has risen in the last 5ish years. People want faster and more hassle-free ways to get in touch with brands, whether that’s for a product or service.
But while many of these big brands gloat about their numbers, having the best graphics, hashtags, and timing (think memes immediately following major pop culture moments like the Grammys), they pay no attention to engaging.
And no, “Tell us what you think in the comments!” isn’t an engagement strategy. Neither is posting a poll on your Story.
Why? Because you have to talk back. Engagement requires more than just a response on your audience’s end.
So respond to comments, get in those DMs. Interact with your audience — 71% of customers who have positive interactions with brands are more likely to recommend those brands to other folks. Go get in on that action.
SOCIAL MEDIA MISTAKE #4: BIG BRANDS ONLY POST SALES-BASED CONTENT
Posting sales-focused content (all the time) is not an efficient strategy.
You need to get the word out, sure. And yes, a small percentage of your audience actually sees your posts, so you do have to be a little more “assertive” than you may be normally inclined to be.
But only ever posting sales content is a bad look. It subconsciously signals to your audience that you don’t really care about them past a profit. And yet, so many big brands do this — because they don’t have a strategy that’s audience-first.
Your bottom line may be to make a profit because you’re a business, but the point of social media is to make connections — which has been proven to make you money.
Diversify your content with some solid content pillars instead.
SOCIAL MEDIA MISTAKE #5: BIG BRANDS MAKE IT TOO HARD TO FOLLOW THROUGH WITH CTAS
Don’t make it hard for people to take action from your posts. Don’t put links in your captions if they can’t be easily memorized. Don’t talk about an offer and not link it in your stories.
Link everything in your LinkedIn captions or in the YouTube description.
In this sense, be “overly accommodating.” You have to make it easy to take action. Otherwise, people won’t.
SOCIAL MEDIA MISTAKE #6: BIG BRANDS GATEKEEP
You don’t want to give it all away for free, but if you gatekeep, you’re not giving away enough value or showing what the lifestyle looks like in your orbit.
Let’s look at product marketing, for example. You might not think you can gatekeep because you show them all the features of your product. But if that’s where you stop, yes you are.
Show them what’s really possible or what they’re missing out on. Go deeper than just, “Hey, this is a really high-tech snowboard that’s fun to use.” Show the snowboard in action. Show user-generated content. Show tips and hacks on how to extend the life of the board. Essentially, show them everything that’s possible.
Attention spans are short and there’s a lot of content to sift through. Make it interesting. Keep them coming back for more.
DON’T BE LIKE THEM: WHAT TO DO NEXT
Big brands are making some big mistakes — but not all of them. Many, in fact, have a solid strategy that’s rooted in audience connection and strong pillars that take people from “new follower” to “loyal buyer.”
Want to be one of them? It doesn’t require a whole social media department; it requires a few proven principles that take you outside the algorithm and into content that drives engagement and action.
Our F* the Algorithm Workshop is designed to help you design a more sustainable, successful strategy that drives ROI from your social media channels. See what the best big brands know about social media marketing — and how you can grow no matter your size.
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