It is our nature to share our thoughts, feelings, and actions. With digital communication at our fingertips, it’s easy for people to spread their ideas and comments around the globe in seconds. Social media is like electricity. Carefully controlled, it can power marketing campaigns, and become a marketer’s dream. But, one mistake can fry a company’s image almost instantly.
It has expanded reach, leads, and increased traffic for thousands of brands in ways traditional advertising can’t. But, when there is an error in judgment, misuse, or mistakes, it can quickly damage the reputation of your brand.
One thing to remember about social media blunders is that most are avoidable. Here are some of the most common errors you need to recognize so that you can prevent them altogether.
Five Common Social Media Mistakes to Avoid
Social media has become a powerful and effective marketing tool.
40% of the global population is using social media. Mobile users make up a large chunk of the base, with 2.78 billion active users.
And… that’s a lot of people, a 34% market penetration. Without a proper social media interaction plan in place, your business and brand reputation could be jeopardized.Here are some of the common mistakes to avoid:
1. Preaching to The Wrong Audience
Social media is like any other marketing channel. There needs to be clear goals and strategies to gain the maximum ROI. The approach will depend on what you want to achieve such as increased traffic, sales, leads or as a source of customer support.
A strategy will help you determine the best social media platforms for your company. For example, lifestyle and fashion businesses will do well on Instagram and Pinterest because of the photography associated with those verticals. However, they also tie into Facebook and Twitter for engaging followers. Business-related and industrial companies will do well on LinkedIn. Communicating on the wrong social media platform is like barking up the wrong tree.
Creating a social media strategy that targets your demographic, will help you focus on using platforms that are relevant to your existing and new customers. It will help you outline your goals, set up plans, posting calendars, and measurable objectives.
2. Ignoring Your Followers, Their Comments, and Your Posts
Think of social media as a living flower. It needs regular care. Ignore it, and it will wither. Give it too much water or fertilizer, and you’ll kill it. The same goes for social media. Monitor every conversation and respond when appropriate. Post content in moderation. Display understanding and professionalism at all times.Building a strong social media presence and then failing to interact with prospects defeats the purpose. It’s the same as not attending to a customer who walks into your store. Ignoring customers who are asking questions, not only frustrates them but creates negative comments, and will drive them to your competitors.
3. Disregarding or Mishandling Negative Comments
Negative remarks can tarnish your business, they need to be addressed immediately. Allowing negative comments to build into a firestorm will damage your brand image and reputation. Right or wrong, they must be acknowledged right away. False claims and fake news can go viral, causing irreparable harm.
Avoid getting into a heated debate with anybody, losing your cool or blurting out statements without all the facts. There is no cramming the genie back in the bottle once your comments hit the social media sites.
The best defense against negative comments is a good offense. Keep abreast of what is being said on all your channels by monitoring a.k.a. “social listening.” Respond as soon as possible and refer the matter to the appropriate department. Demonstrate responsiveness by posting the solutions on the same media channels for other customers to view.
Always check facts before posting anything, especially if you are refuting a claim. Whatever you say can and will be held against you in the public court of social media.
4. Over Promoting Without Engaging Followers
One big mistake marketers make, is stepping over the “social” in social media. You don’t want to be the guy at the party who talks only about himself all night long. You’ll find yourself standing in a corner alone talking to the dog.
Social media is a two-way street that requires interaction. It’s not an endless infomercial. Engage your customers by asking what they like or what they would improve. Continuously involve them by offering something of value, such as coupons, promotions or tips.
One way to promote and engage is with user-generated content (UGC). Find a creative way to get customers to share their experience using your products. An excellent example of this is the GoPro camera on Instagram. People continually post pictures of themselves doing incredible stunts without actually showing the camera.
5. Failing to Monitor Reactions Once Your Ads are Live
Like the famous adage of Murphy’s law, “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong," so be prepared. Even with proper processes of internal proofreading and editing in place, you can’t just launch and “set and forget” an ad. Carefully monitor them for reactions, both positive and negative. It will provide you a sense of whether your post is a hit or a miss.
If there is blowback for some reason, you can always retract the ads and start immediate damage control before the social media gets out of hand. Not monitoring the progress of any campaign creates the potential for loss of time, money, confidence, and customers.
Social Media Done Right
Overcoming the mistakes mentioned above takes skills, creativity and time.
Much of the work can be delegated or outsourced. There are many options for apps and companies to manage all the social media activities including listening and responding.
Some of the tips for creating a positive social media image are:
- Your conversational tone should always be positive.
- Stay professional even when dealing with negative criticism.
- Use appropriate emotion when communicating.
- Engage with your audience by asking questions.
- Provide useful information, ideas, and suggestions pertaining to your brand.
The key to winning in social media is engagement. It requires a commitment of time and talent to respond to your audience. The long-term benefits outweigh the short-term work.
Online stores that have a social presence have 32% more sales on average than stores that don’t.
Keeping Social Media Civilized
Navigating the treacherous waters of social media takes skill, planning, and vigilance. A unique campaign can grow your brand exponentially when a text or video goes viral. But one mistake and the whole mob can turn against you in an instant, with torches in hand, calling for boycotts.
With much of the heavy lifting automated and outsourced, there is no excuse for an eCommerce company not to leverage the potential of multiple social media platforms.
Mistakes happen, but most are easily avoidable. Proofreading and fact checking are two of the best ways to eliminate most errors. You can hire social media experts who perform several checks before tweeting or posting and continuously monitoring your social media campaigns. You might save yourself from a social media lynch mob.