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Aug 20

Digital marketing don’ts: what to avoid when dabbling in digital

20 August 2019

It’s 2019, and the reality is that your business needs to be online in some shape or form. You’re probably accustomed to using social media to stay connected with friends and family, and the Internet is a button away to answer any question you could possibly conjure up. Still, digital marketing from a business perspective can feel intimidating and confusing. By no means do you have to be a pro, but there are some best practices we recommend following to effectively market your business online. Here are some bad habits we recommend avoiding:


1)    Autopost

Automating and isolating can go hand in hand. Social media automation tools are a very valuable resource, but you can’t simply plan a bunch of content, schedule it, and then go on vacation. Similar to the quote, “Don’t like the weather? Wait five minutes,” social media and its trending topics move so quickly that what may have been relevant an hour ago could be a touchy subject now. The famous Live Nation example demonstrates this well.

When some of the staging collapsed at a Radiohead concert seven years ago, with one person dead and three others hurt, an auto-scheduled tweet from Live Nation went out half an hour after they had announced the show had been cancelled:

This tweet remained up for 45 minutes before someone took it down.

The goal of social media conversations is to interact with your audience in a genuine way. By “setting and forgetting”, your followers can tell that there’s a lack of authenticity behind your posts, and their relationship with your brand can suffer as a result.


2)    Haphazard Hashtags

Hashtags can be a great resource if used properly and strategically. They’re used to group streams of content, making it easier to search using keywords in communities and conversations. Hashtags seem easy enough, but they aren’t exactly intuitive. Try to avoid the following faux pas:

#notdoingyourresearch: This is twofold. Firstly, look up your hashtags beforehand to get an idea of their context and popularity. The sweet spot for a hashtag is specific enough to generate good activity for a wide audience, and not overly vague that it ends up being a black hole of content (e.g. use #yegbike instead of #bicycle).

Secondly, make sure to get a good idea of what your hashtag actually means so that you’re not accidentally contributing to something inappropriate!

#spamminghashtags: Keep your hashtags relevant to your content. It might be tempting to use a multitude of popular hashtags to display your posts in as many areas as possible, but this makes your social campaigns feel more like spam than a contribution to the conversation. Feel free to use multiple hashtags, just ensure they align with the communities in which your business is actually a part of.

3)    Not Targeting an Audience

The goal of digital marketing isn’t reaching an audience, it’s reaching the right audience. Defined target markets delve into the idea of demographics and psychographics getting narrower and narrower. The more specific your market, the more relevant your content, and the easier you can convert.  

4)    Ignoring Analytics

There’s a great quote that says “Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed.” -Dan Zarrella

Which is all too applicable to digital marketing. All platforms provide numerous analytics and insights for you to optimize your strategy, automatically! Some success metrics we recommend tracking are:

Audience Growth Rate in the form of new followers across all platforms.

Average Engagement Rate in the form of the number of engagement actions (e.g., likes, shares, comments) a post receives relative to your total number of followers.

Conversion Rate in the form of contact forms completed, newsletter sign-ups, purchases made, downloads of content, etc.

Don’t get too caught up in the numbers, but do let them guide your strategy on an ongoing basis. Having a good idea of your audiences’ behaviour will help drive your digital marketing success while ensuring all your efforts aren’t put to waste!

It’s not easy, but it is absolutely worthwhile to champion the online presence of your brand. Our number one suggestion? Create content that makes you happy before you hit post.


Blog submitted by Chamber member Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE)

Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enabling women to build successful businesses. AWE provides unique programs and services to women at all stages of business through advising, financing, mentoring, and skills and network development.

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