It seems like everywhere we turn there is advice on how to market our brands, with new digital marketing innovations promising to bring success beyond our wildest dreams.

And even though some of these new strategies will stand the test of time, there are also marketing pitfalls to avoid. Following are three to watch for.

Falling Prey to Influencer Fraud

In 2019, more than $1.4 billion was spent on influencer marketing campaigns. Unfortunately, $255 million of that was spent on influencers with fake Instagram followers. There is no doubt that this is a powerful strategy for increasing brand exposure and boosting revenue, but only if you’re vigilant when vetting your influencer partners.

Some signs of influencer fraud can easily be spotted, while others may take some digging to uncover. First, note how quickly your chosen influencers have risen to prominence. If their number of followers grew over several months or years, it’s likely that the growth is organic. But if a significant increase in followers took only days or a couple of weeks, then you may be dealing with some dishonesty.

One way to determine if an influencer’s followers are real is to compare the follower count to engagement rate. If there are hundreds of thousands of followers but only a handful of “likes” and comments, then something isn’t adding up. If there are comments, check to see if any don’t make sense or match the content. One or two confusing comments may not be anything to worry about, but more than that may signal the existence of a bot.

Wasting Precious Time with Social Media Marketing

There is no question that social media marketing is essential to your brand’s digital marketing success. However, there are also pitfalls here that you need to watch for.

First, do your research and understand where your target audience lives online. If you’re a B2B company, you may find some success with Facebook and Twitter, but your best bet to reach professionals who are already in a “work” frame of mind is through LinkedIn.

For B2C audiences, your Gen Z consumer probably isn’t spending a lot of time on Facebook, so those Facebook ads you’re running to generate awareness with this group probably aren’t going to be effective. Instead, investigate Snapchat, YouTube, and TikTok.

Here’s a look at the Instagram age-demographic breakdown among U.S. adults:

  • Ages 18–24: 75%
  • Ages 25–29: 57%
  • Ages 30–49: 47%
  • Ages 50–64: 23%
  • Ages 65+: 8%

When you create content on platforms where your audience is actually spending their time, then you’re not wasting yours.

Another pitfall we can fall prey to is forgetfulness. It’s easy to get wrapped up in day-to-day business and then suddenly realize you haven’t created social posts for several days. Use social media calendars to plan your posts weeks in advance.

Be sure to take holidays and other special content into account when creating your schedule so you don’t appear to be out of touch. And with the use of a scheduling tool like Loomly or HootSuite, you can automate your posts, freeing up precious time that can be used for other marketing activities.

Be sure you’re on top of pop culture and other world events as well. Nothing will bring a brand down faster than a tweet that appears to be in poor taste after a disaster or devastating event. If something newsworthy happens, check your social scheduler to make sure nothing you’ve planned to post for the next several days can be misinterpreted.

Be sure to post in between scheduled content as new information arises. Scheduled posts are great for sharing content, but they may not result in high engagement the way your spur-of-the-moment posts might.

Refusing to Budget Enough Money or Time for Success

Finally, and this may be the biggest pitfall of all, there is often a tendency to expect significant results in a very short period of time. And when those results don’t come instantly, marketers often decide to cut budgets for that particular strategy and pivot to something else.

Your marketing needs time to gain exposure and reach the right buyers at the right time. If you give up on a strategy too soon, you can miss out on big chances to convince and convert.

Instead of putting time limits on your campaigns, choose key performance goals instead. For instance, if you’re creating your very first social media ad, focus on exposure first. How many people do you hope to reach? How many impressions would you like to leave? How many clicks to the website would you like to see?

As you continue to market, you will see improvements—but only if you continue. If you cut the campaign short, you’ll never know, will you?

The same can be said for the digital marketing budget itself. Many marketers make the mistake of increasing their budgets during prosperous times and then slashing costs when times are lean. In reality, the opposite should occur. When you’re not selling, you should be increasing your investment in marketing to ensure you continue to inform, educate and build a relationship with your potential customers. If you don’t, you may never see those high times again.

Getting your marketing house in order requires avoiding as many pitfalls as possible to see more leads, sales and a better return on your investment.

This content was originally published here.

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