With over 2 billion users across the likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, engaging with customers on social media requires a good strategy and more than a little personality. Sharing news about events or products is important, but making sure people want to see the message is crucial.
However, it’s easy to misstep and drive away customers. Flooding users with messages, regularly begging for shares and likes, or simply going too far off brand can all damage your audience’s interest, possibly permanently.
So what should you do? And, more importantly, what should you avoid doing? Below, 15 members from YEC talk about the common social media mistakes they see companies making, as well as why they matter.
1. Sending Out Too Much Content
Social media users don’t mind hearing from brands they follow. But many brands push followers’ patience too far by bombarding social media streams with way too many posts each day. Attention is valuable, and you shouldn’t waste it. Share a small number of posts every day, and focus your efforts on ensuring that each post is high-value, sharable and unlikely to be considered spammy.
2. Not Addressing Complaints
Consumers turn to social media when they have a problem, and it’s a bad look to avoid complaints that come in via this channel. When you address an issue right away, it can turn a previously upset customer into a raving fan of your brand. Also, it shows other prospective customers that you truly care and will be there in the event that they have a question or issue. It builds customer confidence.
3. Trying to Grow Too Many Social Media Platforms at Once
It takes considerable knowledge and consistency to grow a rabid, profitable audience with social media. Too often, companies decide that they want to dominate multiple platforms at once. This is overload, and it’s highly unlikely — unless your company is experienced and resource-laden — that you’ll do well on any of them. Pick one, hit it hard for a year and then reassess others.
4. Jumping Into the Political Arena
Brands have tried to appeal to online activists and jump on trends by becoming more engaged politically. Why a brand would want to potentially alienate 50% of their customers with a political opinion is mind-blowingly shortsighted. If you are selling a quality product or service, it should be able to sell just fine on its own — keep your political opinions to yourself.
5. Not Reviewing Automated Status Updates Before Posting
It’s tempting for brands without the internal resources to turn to automation to help manage their social media presence. Unfortunately, automating status updates sometimes results in a presence that looks and feels automated. Followers can sniff out an automated account fairly well, and when they do, they tune out. As a general rule, review all status updates before sharing on a social channel.
6. Repeating Content, Word for Word, Across All Channels
Consistency is important, but it does help to make small changes to the content or repurpose it in a way that makes it fresh for every channel. Otherwise your audience will just think you are lazy and have nothing different to offer.
7. Being Overly Promotional
Naturally, you want to use social media for branding and promotion. But if all or most of your posts are simply ads or links to product pages, people will tire of this quickly. Remember that people go on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social sites to socialize and be entertained, or maybe to learn something new. So provide value as well as promoting your business!
8. Begging for Likes and Shares
Begging for likes and shares is something most teenagers have learned not to do, so it’s always a little awkward when a company is doing it with content that hasn’t found a voice yet. Don’t ask for engagement. Earn it by producing good content and interacting with the people who are willing to engage.
9. Getting Stuck in a Long Back-and-Forth
When there’s a lot of back-and-forth or detailed information that needs to be shared to resolve an issue, take it to email to keep it from cluttering up your pages and to help the customer more effectively. Some issues just aren’t handled well in a long thread of 140-character messages. This will also help you avoid futile comment wars and decrease the risk of third-party topic derailing.
10. Ignoring the Public Relations Options
Social media is a great tool for brands to communicate concise messages and interact with customers, but the opportunity of utilizing PR is often ignored. If you ever have a PR issue, social media is very effective for managing the situation, taking responsibility, reacting immediately and responding to feedback.
11. Lacking Community Management
A high engagement rate is every brand’s goal. You can have amazing content, but if you don’t manage your online community by responding to comments, answering inquiries and facilitating conversation, then your engagement will fall flat. Have a community manager who will be the voice of your brand and create an inviting and welcoming online environment for your online community.
12. Posting Meaningless Content
As tempting as it is to fill your timeline, stop posting meaningless content. All of your posts need to be focused on your core message or in response to a customer’s problem. Anything else is pointless.
13. Being Boring
What interests brands — particularly executives — is rarely what interests customers. The best social media pros think about who customers are and what they’re interested in. It can be hard for entrepreneurs to step back and realize that their obsessions aren’t likely to produce a compelling social media presence for the average consumer, which is why social media professionals are in great demand.
14. Not Having a Schedule
Your audience should know when to expect new content from you, and having a schedule helps you remain focused. A brand with a social media presence that only posts intermittently can confuse current customers and it’ll be tough to build trust with new ones. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
15. Straying Too far Off Brand
In the pursuit of likes, comments and views, some brands create social media content that strays too far off brand, making it difficult for consumers to associate their business with the right ideas and themes. Companies should instead craft posts and stories that demonstrate their interests, values and mission to ensure their social media strategy is coherent and effective.
Social Media is Your Gateway to the World
If you aren’t currently using social media to its full potential, you are likely missing out big time. While most brands and bloggers have a preferred platform for growing their following and sharing content, if you are using each of them separately, you are going to be missing out on a big chunk of traffic. Be sure to implement each of the social media tips above to get the most out of your online marketing and branding efforts.
We hope you enjoyed this latest expert round-up full of actionable tips and advice from industry experts around the world. Be sure to read through our how to start a blog article, with advice and tips from over 82 different experts who have already found success in the world of blogging.