If Only I’d Been Warned – 6 Avoidable Mistakes Agencies are Making on Social Media

As an agency, you’re likely better at using social media than the businesses you help, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t making your own share of mistakes.

Agencies specializing in social media execution for their clients should be the gold standard, the picture-perfect examples of what effective social media should look like. Sure, you’re probably avoiding beginner errors like not posting regularly or not targeting your audience. But the rules of social media marketing are continually evolving, and you might be guilty of more oversights than you realize.

Fixing your agency’s social media mistakes starts with recognizing them – which of these six social media marketing blunders are you guilty of?

#1 – Using Social Media as an Add-On Marketing Vehicle

Many agencies use social media to complement other marketing initiatives rather than making social selling its own vehicle.

While it’s important to make each piece of the marketing puzzle fit together, your clients may not realize that social media can stand strong on its own.

Lowe’s #LowesFixinSix Vine videos were a prime example of this (R.I.P. Vine). They leveraged the six-second video platform to create specific DIY home improvement content specifically for Vine.

Try crafting a strategy around social media and not thinking of it as an afterthought to other marketing initiatives. When you’re focused squarely on social media marketing, you’re better able to determine its true effectiveness.

#2 – Not Investing in Authentic Images

It’s 2018. Stock photos are so five years ago.

People today are craving authentic experiences (if you’re keeping up with social media trends, you already know this).

Encourage your clients to provide honest-to-goodness images for you to use in your social media posts. These could be product shots, photos of their business, customers, or employees, or their own pictures that tell a story.

That’s not to say stock photos are all bad. Innocent Drinks unleashed a Twitter laugh storm by posting some of the worst corporate stock photos they could find, bringing to everyone’s attention how bad they truly are and gaining a massive response from their followers. This is perhaps the most acceptable use of stock photos in 2018 – take note.

For a good review of what images should be like you can take a look at this article about stepping up your own skills.  Although it is written for personal improvement, it makes for a great checklist for those using professional agencies to create their images.

#3 – Posting for the Sake of Posting

It’s an understood rule that you must post on social media regularly to see any benefits. But what happens when you feel like you have nothing new to share?

Find a funny cat picture? Share your favourite quote? Post something for the sake of posting?

Many agencies do this because they believe that posting anything is enough to create top of mind awareness. To an extent, that’s true.

But remember, you want to create top of mind awareness that presents your client in the best possible light, not just in a way that people are bound to ignore because there’s no value in the post.

When you post too often simply because you feel the need to say something, it weakens the integrity and value of your other posts. You become an occasional gem that only gets it right sometimes.

If you’re feeling uninspired, you can always repost older blog articles or repurpose existing content to share a new angle.

#4 – Using Vanity Metrics to Prove Your Effectiveness

As an agency, you want your clients to feel their investment in your services was the right decision. To do this, you need to show them what your efforts are doing for them.

Many agencies make the mistake of pushing for likes or shares. After all, the more eyes that see their content, the more chances they have of their content working for them, right?

As a marketer, you know this is flawed logic, yet many agencies are still proud to show off any little metric they can find that makes it look like they’ve moved the needle.

However, vanity metrics are just that – metrics that look good. Shares and likes don’t necessarily create loyal, paying customers.

That’s not to say that vanity metrics don’t have their place in social media success. No audience members mean no one will see your content.

Instead, you should help your clients connect the dots on why vanity metrics are important. Show them how you’re using these metrics to improve their strategy, such as A/B testing headlines or images, or how many links were clicked, or how many comments you collected on a post.

Find the bigger story these metrics tell and how they align with their business goals: What did you do with the user comments to make a difference? How many people made a purchase after clicking the link? How long did they stay on-site? What happened when they were presented with a lead generation prompt, such as subscribing to a newsletter?

It’s not enough to tell what happened – make sure you also focus on what happened next.

#5 – Running Your Client’s Strategy on Autopilot

An effective social media strategy isn’t a one-time planning process. Audiences shift. New trends appear. Practices that were once effective may eventually lose their impact.

You should make it a point to strategize with your clients on a regular basis to see where your social media marketing might be missing opportunities and where you need to reallocate resources.

For example, if your client’s main purpose in using social media is to promote their blog posts, you might feel inclined to use Buffer or Hootsuite and schedule new posts to go live. True, these tools make it easy for you to get the initial job done, but limiting your involvement as much as possible also limits your ability to find ways to improve their social media marketing.

That’s not to say you have to manage their entire strategy by hand. However, don’t leave it on autopilot, either. Keep your finger on the social media pulse to find new ways your clients can benefit from your services – it’s a win-win.

#6 – Failing to Diversify Your Content

There’s an ever-growing list of types of content you can share to social media. If you’re only pushing your client’s blog posts, you’re missing out on a chance to connect with other segments of their audience.

Not everyone likes the same type of content. Some people prefer to read blog posts, while others may be more likely to engage with a photo or infographic.

As a rule, you should be able to use a single piece of content in multiple ways. For example, a short-form blog post might also work as an infographic, explainer video, or downloadable checklist. Fractl has an amazing list of how to do exactly this.

Experimenting with different types of content can help you to diversify your audience, which can also help you expand your results.

In Closing

The biggest mistake you could make as an agency is believing there’s nothing new to learn about social media. The rules do occasionally change, and agencies should be the first ones to know about them. The more you know about how to leverage social media, the more valuable you can be to your clients.

Author: Benjamin Shepardson is the founder of NoStop Blog Content, a Key West-based content agency specializing in delivering personalized experiences. With an extensive digital career dating back to before social media and WordPress,