Social media gives any business the opportunity to interact with customers, promote products and increase audience engagement. But it only takes one hasty status update or an ill-advised image to tarnish your brand’s reputation online.
Therefore, make sure you never make the following mistakes on your preferred networks or you could be facing a social media backlash.
1. Posting in a hurry and not thinking twice
Time is of the essence on social media and if you don’t post an important update or some breaking news before your rivals, you could easily fall behind. However, you need to sure that any update is appropriate, lawful and reliable, so avoid posting anything in a hurry.
Take a moment and think twice before posting anything. After all, once you’ve put something out there, it usually stays there forever. You can always delete it, but these things have a habit of showing up again.
2. Using bad grammar and posting spelling mistakes
Certain brands might be able to get away with slang words, abbreviations, and acronyms, but the majority of businesses will need to post updates in a professional and proficient way. For that reason, there is no excuse for bad grammar or spelling mistakes.
Whether it is human error or pesky autocorrect, people love to point out errors and blunders, so always double-check your grammar and spelling. Minor inaccuracies might not change your message, but they can seriously affect your reputation.
3. Not listening or responding to interactions
The whole point of social media is to communicate with others and establish long-lasting relationships. Don’t ignore what people are saying about your brand and respond to those who have taken the time to connect with you.
Negative or critical comments can be a bit disheartening and upsetting, but these still need to be answered in a professional and timely way. However, you’re bound to get some positive feedback too, which also requires a response.
4. Using an inappropriate tone of voice or an impersonal style
It is incredibly easy to get into arguments on social media, as certain gratuitous and unfair comments are purposely written to cause a reaction. But you have to rise above these users by always acting in a polite and respectful manner.
At the same time, your fans or followers still want to know there is a human being behind the brand’s posts. Cold and emotionless updates from a corporate entity won’t go down well, so try to be personable and light-hearted with your posts, responses and comments.
5. Focusing on just one network
Considering that 71 per cent of adults online use Facebook, it is easy to focus your efforts on this particular network. Furthermore, you might have found engagement success on Twitter or huge amounts of referral traffic from Pinterest.
However, concentrating on just one social media site is a dangerous policy, as scores of other potential customers or clients might be being ignored. A more professional crowd can be found on LinkedIn while the younger generation are using Vine and Snapchat. Identify where your target market are and adjust social media activity accordingly.
6. Focusing on too many networks
Creating an account for each and every social network at your disposal might be more damaging than beneficial. Nobody will be too encouraged if they discover a Twitter or Instagram account that hasn’t posted anything for weeks on end.
Instead, find out where your audience are spending their time and concentrate on these channels. A lot will depend on your company and industry, as visual-based networks like Pinterest might not be appropriate, but the in-depth discussions on LinkedIn could be perfect.
7. Talking about yourself or the company too much
There is a time and a place for giving your best sales pitch, but social media isn’t one of them. You can still promote and publicise your goods or services, but don’t talk about the brand all the time.
People visit their favourite social spheres to be entertained, interact with others, participate in conversations and gain valuable insights. Therefore, you should ask your fans and followers questions, request feedback about products or strike up a discussion.
8. Forgetting about images, videos or hashtags
Visual content is easier for us to process and receives higher levels of engagement than text-based updates. So if your social media profiles have a distinct lack of images or videos, then it is time to change your posting habits and activity.
It is easy to mock the use of hashtags, but this handy technique has been proven to increase engagement and expand reach. Make sure your hashtags are relevant and searchable, as overdoing it can look messy and desperate.
9. Not paying for promotion
In the good old days of social media, you could reach scores of customers organically and there was no real need to pay for promotion. However, times change and it is now somewhat necessary to make the occasional investment in order to maintain high levels of exposure and engagement.
The decline of organic reach on Facebook has been widely publicised recently and if you have 1,000 likes on your page, only 10 to 20 per cent of fans will see your posts. Purchasing a sponsored post or some on-site advertising isn’t always that expensive and can have far-reaching benefits too.
10. Bad timing and inconsistency
Along with scheduling content at the most appropriate times, you’ll also need to make sure that posts don’t conflict with trending topics or current affairs. There is a chance you could be publishing an update about a celebrity or event that is in the news for all the wrong reasons.
Then again, you need to be consistent with your updates in terms of style and frequency. Every social media employee needs to use the same tone of voice and publish content at certain times throughout the day.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic formula or ‘one size fits all’ solution to succeeding on social media, but you can be sure that the above mistakes should be avoided at all costs.