Just to clarify one important point, there is technically no such thing as spending too much money on social media marketing. Assuming that every penny you invest is put to valuable and strategic use, investing heavily in social can be highly beneficial.
That said, there is definitely such a thing as spending too much money on social media marketing efforts that bring you little to nothing in return.
Which is precisely why not every social media marketing budget delivers the same results – even if the initial budget limitations are the same. Five different companies may all decide to invest £10,000 in social media marketing for any given period of time, but chances are that all five will produce entirely different results.
Why is this the case? It’s simple really – while some common social media expenses are essential and advisable, others are quite the opposite. Which is why we’ve decided to dedicate two posts to a few of the common bad habits that could lead to unnecessary overspending.
So if any of the following rings a bell with you or your business, you might want to take a step back and consider investing your money elsewhere:
1. Buying fake followers
First and foremost, the fact that social media is essentially a popularity contest leads many to focus on nothing but the numbers. Quite a lot of businesses believe that the secret to success lies in the numbers – the size of their audience, the number of ‘likes’ they earn and so on. But in reality, quantity is nothing without quality. Which is precisely why it can be so dangerous to buy fake followers to bump up the numbers. Along with bringing little to no actual value to your profile, purchased followers give entirely the wrong impression to your target audience and can also land you in hot water with the platform itself. A prime example of an investment that rarely delivers any kind of returns.
2. Hiring low-grade social media companies
When two competing social media marketing agencies offer the same package for two very different prices, it’s usually for a very good reason. Now, it’s not to say that overspending is necessary, in order to access outstanding social media services. But at the same time, when you come across companies giving their services away for practically nothing, guaranteeing “instant results” or in any way making promises they clearly cannot keep, you’d be better off hanging on to your money.
3. Spending without setting goals
In order to make any kind of headway with social media marketing, you first need to have an established set of goals and targets. If not, you are essentially grasping for proverbial straws in the dark with one or both of your hands tied behind your back. Social media can be used for just about anything – increasing sales, expanding your audience, building your reputation and so on. But in order to achieve any of these kinds of things, you first need to decide what exactly it is you intend to target. If not, you could essentially be wasting money on a social media campaign that has you going around in circles.
4. Unpopular contests and competitions
Contests in general can be a great way of promoting your business and generate engagement. After all, comparatively few people can resist the prospect of taking something home free of charge. But at the same time, contests and competitions can prove costly if what you get out of them is less than you are forced to invest. Always be strategic, realistic and as frugal as necessary when it comes to social media contests and competitions.
5. Hiring in-house staff
Given that it’s not as if your own in-house staff will happily handle your social media accounts free of charge, you’ll still be paying for the required manpower. In which case, wouldn’t it make sense to spend the same social media staffing budget on the kinds of experienced and qualified professionals who can get the job done quicker, better and perhaps even for a lower price? Paying for the services of under-qualified or inexperienced social media staff is never advisable.
6. Paying for reviews and ratings
While it may be a strategy followed by businesses all over the world at all levels, there technically should be no reason why you should have to pay for reviews and ratings. The reason being that given the social nature of the platform – the clue being in the title – you can simply ask your fans, followers and customers directly to provide you with their own independent feedback. And if it turns out that your rating leaves a lot to be desired, you should probably focus on overhauling whatever it is you do, before investing any further in social media marketing.
7. Paying for ads that have poor performance
There’s absolutely nothing to gain by shelling out good money for social media ads that perform poorly. The problem being that far too many businesses simply throw together ad campaigns with the presumption that they essentially cannot fail to deliver a decent ROI. Without extensive planning, careful execution and ongoing analysis/optimisation, any investment in social media ads can end up being a wasted investment.
8. Failing to incorporate wider SEO
Your social media marketing campaign can be an immensely powerful tool for boosting your overall SEO profile. Rather than seeing your social campaign as something of a separate entity, you should be working to incorporate it into your wider SEO and marketing efforts in general. If not, you are throwing money down the drain.
9. Focusing on the wrong platforms
When it comes to platform selection, there are two important things to remember. One being that you don’t have to use every social media platform in the world, the other being that certain platforms will suit your business, your audience and your goals better than others. While Twitter and Facebook will always be the first options that spring to mind, some businesses get far better value for money from their investments in Instagram or LinkedIn.
10. Automating updates and duplicating content
Last but not least, while it’s true to say that automation of updates and duplication of content can technically save time and money, the damage you do to your profiles and professional image could prove costly. Every penny and second invested in these kinds of efforts represents time and money wasted, which could have been used to actively engage with and nurture your audience. You’ll simply be interpreted as lazy and disingenuous – a heavy price to pay.