Many companies understand the value in social media engagement but far too many jump into it without a solid plan in place. This is a recipe for disaster. We’re talking pie exploding in the oven type of disaster. We see it time and time again; large companies approach social without a clear mission. They lack direction and wind up making numerous social media mistakes, like not understanding their audience or being entirely promotional. It’s unfortunate because making errors like this can cost you followers, your brand reputation, and even potential prospects.
That’s why today we’re going to discuss some of the most common social media mistakes and what your company can do to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Not Using Different Tactics for Each Social Site
The term “social media” covers a wide expanse of sites and platforms. Yet too many companies treat them all the same and post identical content across all of them. But this is a big mistake. It makes it appear as though you don’t have ample time to devote to your social efforts, which translates as a lack of care. Even if that’s not the case, posting the same thing on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ is a dated approach, looks unprofessional, and is just plain lazy.
Instead, find out who those fans and followers are and tailor the content you share to meet their interests. How can you figure this out? Well, actually looking at some individual followers should give you a good start. Check out their profiles, read what they’re saying, and then look for similarities and themes between followers. If you’re still not sure, it’s ok to try out different types of content and then check to see which generates the most engagement on which social media site.
Mistake #2: Not Developing and Implementing a Social Media Policy
Like we said earlier, you need a solid plan if you’re going to do social media right. A good plan is more than creating a schedule to keep track of all your tweets and status updates. It needs to include a social media policy that lays out all of the social media guidelines for those on your team who will be using it. This policy is key in helping to prevent employees from going rogue on social.
Think of it less as a rule book that must be followed (or else!) and more of guard rails that serve as a reference. Employees should feel empowered to use social media, but have the policy that outlines the basic requirements and things to keep in mind (e.g., not sharing confidential company information, always think about how your message could come across before posting, etc.).
One of the biggest social media mistakes individuals and companies make is treating their social channels as one sided conversations. Only sharing your own content and thoughts is a quick way to annoy your followers. To put it simply, sharing links to your own blog posts and nothing else over and over again makes you appear self-centered. And while it’s true you want people to find and read your content, you need to maintain the “social” part of social media by engaging in conversations.
Ask and answer questions, share other people’s content, and strike up conversations with your followers. Not only will this boost awareness for your brand and improve your reputation, but you’ll also get to know your followers better. And some of those followers could be potential prospects just waiting for you to engage them.
Mistake #4: Not Keeping Track of Social Conversations
Social media is a two-way street, yes, but you also need to take extra care to monitor social conversations that are specifically about your company or brand. You can do this by setting up alerts for related keywords and/or hashtags on your social media management platform. This way, you will instantly know the moment someone talks about your brand. Then, you and your team can leap into action by offering a response.
This is especially important when a customer complains on social about your brand. Customer complaints are time-sensitive. As soon as that tweet is sent, the clock starts ticking. With appropriate alerts in place, you can respond promptly. Learning about an issue quickly also gives you a little extra time to develop a thorough solution for the customer.
Mistake #5: Not Sticking to a Schedule
Another social media mistake many companies make is failing to be consistent.
You don’t have to post at the same time every day but you do need to post every day. When a company is only sporadically active on social sites, customers won’t think the brand is reliable. And one of the biggest things customers look for is reliability. So demonstrate that on a daily basis by making a social schedule and sticking to it.
That said, you also need to have some spontaneity. If you see an interesting, relevant article, feel free to share it right away. Also, you can’t schedule in conversations on social. Sure, you can set aside time each day to review your social channels and look for opportunities to jump in. But if someone is talking about your brand, or even a topic relevant to your industry, you don’t ignore it just because it’s not on the schedule. It’s called social media for a reason; you’re supposed to be social.
Social media is often viewed as an extra or add-on to a company’s marketing campaign but that simply isn’t the case. It’s a dedicated way to build a brand. By avoiding some of the most common social media mistakes companies make, you can set out on the right foot toward establishing your company as a trusted authority.
If you’d like to minimize the social media mishaps and increase the successes in your company, download our sample social media policy.
Feature image courtesy of mkhmarketing.