Some people find social media marketing effortless – or at least they look like they do. These social media butterflies manage to flit around getting everything right the first time, but the rest of us aren’t quite so lucky.

It is more than likely that you will make more than a few mistakes when you are just starting out with your social media strategy. This is why so many businesses opt to let a professional marketing agency take the lead. If you are going it alone, here are some of the biggest mistakes you should watch out for when you get started…

1. Don’t break schedules or promises

Social media marketing involves engaging and drawing in customers with your social media content. You need to build a following, attract repeat views and come up with enticing and unique content that keeps people on your page long enough to achieve your goals.

It is essential, therefore, that you make a schedule and stick to it. If you want your potential customers to trust you, you need to show them you are trustworthy. Saying that you will publish content and then missing the deadline shows that you are unreliable, and not worth following in the future.

2. Don’t think of it as a part-time gig

Another mistake that many businesses make is to consider social media marketing a part-time job. It most certainly is not. Consumers today expect fantastic customer service, which includes a speedy if not instantaneous reply to their messages and queries. Influencers, for example, don’t become influencers because they reply once a day. It is a full time job.

If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, consider building a social media team within your company or hire a social media marketing agency to take care of the maintenance for you.

3. Don’t target the wrong people

Before you get started on your social media marketing, you need to know who it is that you are targeting and why. Too often, people think that going broad is better, and that appealing to more people must equal more conversions, but that often isn’t true.

Your strategy will do much better if you know exactly who you are trying to appeal to, and then craft your content and strategy around them.

4. Don’t go in without a goal

Similarly, and so importantly, you cannot succeed with your strategy if you don’t know what you were trying to achieve in the first place. Knowing your goal from the outset will allow you to carefully target your strategy to reach this goal. This could mean a change in content, method or even platform, so you really don’t want to have to come back and make changes later on.

5. Don’t ignore the data

Finally, the biggest mistake anyone can make with their social media marketing strategy is not to learn from it. We will all make mistakes from time to time. That is pretty much unavoidable. It is how we react that defines us – and our marketing strategies.

Analytics and the data you collect can tell you all kinds of valuable information about who you are engaging and how. You can learn what to do, and even more hints on what not to do, so make sure that you don’t ignore information when it is at your fingertips.