5 Digital Marketing Mistakes You’re Making (and How to Avoid Them)

October 19, 2016


Repurposing your content across communications platforms is a great way to expand reach, share a consistent message, and utilize existing material when you’re short on staff and time. And if you didn’t already know, it’s part of being a scrappy marketer – just ask Nick Westergaard, author of Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. We’ve seen plenty of organizations doing a great job of cross-sharing and multiplying their output through this simple, yet effective tool. Why? Because it works.

However, there are a few exceptions to the rule. Here are a few examples of ways you may be hindering your digital marketing success and reach online.

1. Sharing on Social Media First

If you want news coverage for an upcoming announcement or event, don’t break the news on social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat are all great communication platforms. However, if you want media coverage, a traditional news release or pitch will suit you well. The media market is competitive and, chances are, your local television station, newspaper, or radio will want to be the first in-the-know. If you have already posted your announcement on social media, the traditional media is less likely to pick up your story. Give them the opportunity to share your good news first, and then, by all means, share away on your social platforms.

2. Using Inactive Accounts

If, on the other hand, you have bad news to share, you will want to carefully calculate the risk of posting the announcement on social media. This depends on factors such as current audience engagement, severity of the issue, and likelihood of the news showing up online. The one clear time to avoid posting news on social media is if you have an inactive account. For example, if you have Facebook but have not posted on the platform in six months, the day you are closing the doors is not the day to post on social media. A more appropriate way to communicate this situation would be direct phone calls or emails to vendors, community partners, and customers. Determine the best mode of communication for each stakeholder and communicate as appropriate. If, however, the issue is brought up online, pay close attention to what is being said and respond as needed.

3. Not Identifying a Content Manager

If you are short-staffed and do not have the capacity to closely monitor, respond, and follow-up on social media posts or comments, do not engage in social media until you have a plan in place. While I always encourage clients to take an active role on social media, you will first want to ensure you have the resources necessary to manage both positive and negative customer reactions. Online engagement is key to building brand recognition and likeability. You will need to have an editorial calendar, protocols, and response actions outlined before opening any social media account.

4. Failing to Get Approval on Use of Stories, Photos, and Video

Customer, patient, or member stories can serve as powerful testimonials for your organization. Photos and videos can be excellent compliments to those stories and expand your reach online. Before you post any content that is not your own or content that features external individuals, be sure to cover your bases and confirm each person is comfortable with the information being shared. This may sound extreme, but a few extra steps can save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

5. Over-saturating the Market

Avoid over-saturating your followers’ newsfeed with your own agenda. For example, if you are a non-profit, be sure to mix in a combination of questions, polls and feedback amongst requests for donations. Social media is a communication tool than enhances relationships – even with brands. It’s just as important to listen as it is to share your own content. Look for ways to provide helpful information to your audience, including sharing resources and informative content that may not even be written by your organization.

There you have it. By avoiding these five common digital marketing mistakes, you can be on your way to creating more impact and impressions for your brand’s messaging.

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is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.