6 social media strategy errors for food and beverage brands

in this video i'm going to chat about 6 social media strategy errors and i want to know which one you're guilty of?

howdy, i'm giovanni. in some form or another, i’ve been at this online community building thing for over 20 years. i started as a developer in 1996 building forums and bulletin boards for corporate america. today i primarily use photography and video to build brands in tech, entertainment and food & beverage.

while change is constant in marketing, one thing that hasn’t changed in all this time are the mistakes companies and organizations make when trying to build their own online communities. this list of six big errors in social media could have been created 10 years ago but it's just as relevant today as it would have been back then. now as i go through these, let me know in the comments which on you're guilty of and i'll give you advice on how to correct 'em.

1. confusing social media strategy with digital marketing

since facebook owns the majority of market share in social networking, many companies don’t pay any attention to the 2nd and 3rd tier social networks. sure, we play on twitter and instagram and youtube, but the vast majority of companies who budget for social media in their marketing & communications budgets pay no attention to any networks other than the top four. you compound that with the corporate marketers who equate social media with digital marketing and you have a recipe for disaster.

now social media is a subset of digital marketing. digital marketing is much broader, encompassing online advertising, email marketing, pay-per-click, search engine optimization and many other disciplines. confuse these two and you will find yourself with a wholly insufficient digital marketing strategy.

2. using social networks incorrectly

too many companies still try to use organic social media to sell when its most effective role is for brand building and recommendations. for the vast majority of brands, social media is not a direct conversion channel. you can use social media to gently push a product or service but the sale happens outside social media. this is not to confuse organic social media with social ads. these are also two completely different channels.

nevertheless, clients try to sell through social networks, the numbers don’t work out and they get frustrated.

the relationship between social media and sales is rapidly evolving and it is certainly possible that in the future social media might become a direct sales tool for everyone. we’re just not there yet. what we can do though is generate relevant traffic related to e-commerce in the form of referrals and testimonials from fans and customers.

and while social media can support your sales efforts, it’s more accurately a public relations channel or a customer service tool, not a direct sales channel.

3. not understanding how consumers use social networks

many companies do not understand the context in which users engage on social media sites. they also don’t understand that the context changes from one site to another.

people are in social networks to stay in touch with friends or to network. they want to be informed and share their lives with family, friends and peers. when it comes to wanting to be informed, they're fine with learning about brands, products, services, and events. however, the users are more receptive to a message when it’s informative or entertaining and when it is delivered by a person who they know is independent of the brand.

if you work for a company or organization that is struggling with your online presence, think about how you interact on social networks. think about what you pay attention to and what you ignore. this context is similar to the context which your organization operates. you need to consider how to effectively integrate your brand into this world.

the bottom line: you must join online conversations with prospects who, in most cases, are not looking for you to impose your presence in their online lives.

4. disconnect between social media goals and the enterprise’s objectives

now having heard the first three items in this list, you can imagine that poor strategic definition is one of the underlying problems.

i have met countless prospects who are interested in starting a social media program who have no budget for any other marketing to support this business. to confuse social media with your overall marketing strategy guarantees that you will not reach the expected results.

the direct use of social media as a tool for sales, as opposed to a tool for your pr channel is also an issue. you are better off maximizing engagement on your social platforms in the form of likes, retweets, accumulating engaged fans, and comments - disconnect these items from your web and business objectives. this is not to say you should have goals and that the goals should support the overall strategy. just that they need to be decoupled from direct sales.

a social media strategy has to be integrated in the digital marketing strategies. they must contribute to the overall plan without a direct cause and effect.

5. being reactive vs proactive

too many companies only react to what they see, but do not try to anticipate what might happen by using tools for social listening. this approach is ineffective for two reasons.

one, many people only contact brands when they have a negative reaction to a product or service. as the social media brand representative you are forced to spend a majority of your time apologizing, fixing and being defensive instead of creating a positive persona for your brand.

second, another large group of users contact with brands comes when they already have made a purchasing decision or already own the product. while you want to connect with and nurture these relationships, in these situations your ability to positively impact your brand’s marketshare is minimized since the consumer’s decision has already been made.

people online are hungry to be fed entertainment and information. you need to bring appetizing content to feed that hunger!

6. misunderstanding social media measurement and analytics

many companies still do not measure their social media campaigns correctly. it's rare to find a direct, measurable correlation between an organic action on social media and an individual sale. since organizations do not properly define the objectives for social media they inadvertently focus on the wrong metrics I'm talking about sales vs engagement here.

now teams don’t collect much of the data from the activity on social networks. and by those i mean they're not collecting urls with tracking codes on content, on shares, on engagement... they're not looking at publications in social networks, in blogs and things like that. if they have mobile apps, they don’t collect data from their mobile consumers. now to be fair, this can get very expensive, very quickly. however there are methods that can be used to duct-tape together a picture of what actions on different networks affect your brand in positive and in negative ways.

data sources needed to make decisions are not integrated, correlated and reconciled. in addition to the data we collect from social networks, we should take into account the web analytics from our crm - i'm assuming that's wordpress and google analytics for most of y'all, other traffic sources such as paid advertising and email marketing programs.

i can list more, but i think you get the idea here. without the necessary data, decisions which are made by marketing teams will be off the mark and ineffective, bringing the entire discipline of social media marketing into question.

alright, i want to know which of these social media strategy errors you're struggling with so i can make videos to help you resolve those issues. leave me a comment and let me know what questions you have about developing a social media strategy for your business. i check them every day and will be quick to get you a response.

i honestly appreciate you watching - i'll see ya in the next video!

--------Cameras & Gear Used To Shoot My Videos -------

Being true to my principle of using the minimal amount of consumer gear to produce the best possible content, my in-studio videos are shot with a Canon m50, a Rode Wireless Go mic kit, Viltrox LED lights, a ProPrompter Teleprompter, an Apple iPad Pro, & a Manfrotto Tripod. Check out my social media home photo & video studio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDCetoY_1Qk

- Canon EOS m50 Camera - https://amzn.to/2Quv8Yb

- Manfrotto 055XProB Tripod - https://amzn.to/2Kco1mm

- Rode Wireless Go - https://amzn.to/2IlvLkq

- Viltrox L116T LED Light - https://amzn.to/2HHwkVs

I edit with Apple FCPX on a 13" MacBook Pro (16GB, 1TB SSD) attached to a Samsung T5 2TB Ext SSD, & an LG 34-Inch UltraWide Monitor via a Blackmagic eGPU. I use music from Birocratic.com & EpidemicSound.com, Pixel Film Studios plugins & Noam Kroll LUTs.

- Apple MacBook Pro - https://amzn.to/2Sukulx

- Blackmagic eGPU - https://www.apple.com/shop/product/HM8Y2VC/A/blackmagic-egpu

- LG 34UC80-B 34-Inch 21:9 Curved UltraWide Monitor - https://amzn.to/2EEdDjv

- Samsung T5 2TB External SSD - https://amzn.to/2SAh5Sc

DISCLAIMER: My videos & descriptions contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.