Most businesses today recognize the potential of social media. Popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest draw millions of users every day. However, a large majority of organizations don’t perform well on these sites.
Popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest draw millions of users every day. However, a large majority of organizations don’t perform well on these sites – social networking takes effort and many businesses fail to invest sufficient amount of time and energy.
This article points out some common mistakes businesses makes on social media, as well as some ways to avoid them. The last thing you want to do is to embarrass your company and put off your customers. So let us see what you shouldn’t do.
So let us see what you shouldn’t do.
1. Pushy sales tactics.
Don’t assume that social media only serves as an advertising medium. No matter what you’re offering, endless sales pitches and hype about your product or service will only irritate people and send them elsewhere.
People may follow you to learn about the products or benefits you provide, but you have to give them reasons to stay and to keep coming back. Failure to appreciate that social media is about relationships will only cause followers to drift away. Who wouldn´t be annoyed by a company that keeps bragging, forcing people to buy and bombarding them with annoying messages? Steer clear of such a practice.
2. Posting too much.
OK, you might be posting interesting content, which is great – you are on the right track. But be careful – no matter how much appealing content you can come up with, posting too much is a mistake. Churning out excessive content is flooding your audience with more information than they want. If you overdo it, audiences will feel overwhelmed and annoyed.
What to do about it? Give useful information in measured doses. Don’t exaggerate your claims, and try to be innovative. Posting the same kind of content repeatedly, or stale content they can find anywhere, is boring and of little value. To keep things interesting, post a variety of content on different subjects. Play with jokes and visuals. Share interesting videos. Just keep it diverse.
3. No activity.
The other end of the spectrum is a low activity or no activity at all. Some businesses start a Facebook page and post a few articles or videos expecting that will be enough to sustain interest. But if there’s no further input, the followers you do gain will become bored with it.
Keep in mind that people won’t talk about your company unless you properly engage them. Larger companies may hire social media managers, but small companies should set aside enough time to devote to social media marketing. This is a precondition of success in today’s digital world – you can no longer be a successful marketer without utilizing social media.
Some things you can do to attract customers include finding popular hashtags and joining the conversation on Instagram. Another example entails making your own videos, and coming up with insights to add to Twitter conversations. Whatever you do, you should always focus on what your audience enjoys, whether it be jokes, memes, or photos. Again – play with the content and amuse your customers.
4. Lousy customer service.
Posting comments on Facebook or pinning photos on Pinterest is all necessary, but not enough to really be appreciated in your peoples´ minds. If your customers try to reach you by asking a question or posting a comment and you fail to respond, you might be in big trouble.
Such behavior indicates to your audience that they’re being ignored or devalued, and they’ll abandon you. And not only that – they may be so dissatisfied with your service that they write a bad review on their profile. Remember – it only takes one viral post to seriously damage your reputation.
Social media is a great opportunity to provide brilliant customer service, so make it a point to be sympathetic, responsive, and helpful to people. Answer their inquiries and resolve their issues. When customers see that they matter to you, they feel more involved and are more likely to recommend you.
5. Neglecting followers.
Besides poor customers service, you can also fail by ignoring your followers altogether. A failure to respond to people’s comments, suggestions, and other feedback – even if they don’t ask you anything directly – is not a way to build relationships. It’s important to remember that all communication is a two-way street. If you are not interacting with followers, their interest will soon dissipate.
So be communicative! When dialog about your brand is taking place, keep the conversation going. Like and share other people’s posts, retweet comments, repin pins, talk to your fans, seek feedback… – do anything your audiences expect in social platforms. Social media benefits you by allowing you to communicate with fans and followers, so always to your best to keep the communication alive.
6. Being too formal.
Audiences want to interact with real people, not with machines – if you communicate in an overly dry and formal way, you will only turn people off. So don’t sound like a robot, be a person. Don’t address people with formal phrases such as dear sir/madam – write their names instead. They will appreciate it and feel comfortable if you show them how approachable you are.
Of course, you should remain professional, but write in an upbeat tone and add a personal touch. Use casual vocabulary and a little humor, as if you were speaking with friends. To succeed on social media, your brand must be easy to relate to.
7. Poor grammar and bad taste.
Always double-check your posts for spelling and grammar errors before you launch them online. If you have too many errors, it shows that you are not professional. If audiences see that you don’t care enough to even proofread your own content, they might mock you. Avoid that at all costs.
Furthermore, sometimes emotions or strong opinions can lead you to abandon courtesy, but remember that you’re crafting the public image of your company. Crude jokes and offensive statements aren’t what people want when they do business.
Sometimes this happens unintentionally. For instance, DiGiorno began using the hashtag “#WhyIStayed YouHadPizza.”, not realizing that “#WhyIStayed” originated with football star Ray Rice’s wife after the footage of Rice punching her went viral. In another epic fail, American Apparel posted a fireworks photo that was actually the 1986 explosion of the Challenger space shuttle. Both companies could only apologize and confess ignorance. Don’t let that happen to you, so be careful.
In sum, success in social media is not easy to achieve and if you aren’t dedicated enough, you can easily make one of these mistakes. However, if you make enough effort, it is not so difficult to avoid them.
Avoiding such mistakes helps you build relationships, engage customers, and promote your brand in a good way. Proper use of social media will grow your business, while poor use will embarrass your brand and drive audiences away. It is up to you which path you will choose.
To have a better picture of how your audience perceives your brand, you can start using a social listening tool like Brand24. It also allows you to shape your image online. It collects in real time mentions of keywords relevant to your business. You can see all the mentions in a dashboard and you can filter them according to the influencer score, sentiment or source.
If you feel like that’s what you need, start a Brand24 trial. It’s absolutely free.
Jill Phillips is a freelance writer hailing from Buffalo, NY. She is an aspiring entrepreneur, writer, and tech enthusiast, who loves to share her insight on digital and social media topics. When she is not writing, Jill enjoys taking photos and going on long walks with her dog. Connect with Jill via Twitter @jillphlps.