The Biggest Mistakes Brands Make In Social Media Marketing
Getting the hang of social media can be understandably difficult. Building up a successful presence is one that takes time and effort and is not something that happens overnight. However, there are many businesses who don’t take the time to properly plan what they’re doing and what they hope to achieve.
This can result in a number of problems experienced by both the business and the people interacting with the company. Sometimes these mistakes can be obvious, but more often, they’re problems that might go unnoticed. Thankfully, there is always time to rectify them so here are nine of the most common problems.
Not Developing A Voice
Most small companies tend to be worried about how it will be perceived on social media and try not to do anything that might rock the boat in some way. While everyone should consider what they’re saying, it doesn’t mean you have to be dry and boring. Take Waterstones Oxford St for example. While there is an official Waterstones Twitter account, the Oxford St account is fun and its brand of humour has won it a lot of fans and subsequent retweets.
Developing a voice turns you from a faceless entity into something more human, and if you’re interesting, you find that the number of interactions you get will increase.
#bookfacts Cheetahs can type faster than any other land animal but, sadly, their works are often poorly plotted and/or emotionally naive.
â€” WaterstonesOxfordSt (@WstonesOxfordSt) November 20, 2012
Not Engaging In Conversation
Social media is a two-way street. Followers and fans aren’t there to listen to what you have to say, they are there to be listened to and for you to interact with. How many times do you see a company only post updates about what it’s doing, but never once comment or respond to queries or comments?
If that’s an accurate description of your social media strategy, then you’ll need to change. Look at what people are talking about. Even if they’re not mentioning your Twitter handle, that doesn’t mean you can’t join in with a comment. Be strategic about who you reply to though as you’re not going to have time to respond to everyone, but you should at least have your finger on the pulse. A good example is Smart Car USA from a few months ago. After noticing a joke being made at its expense, it turned the tweet on its head with this infographic.
Not Having A Strategy
Probably the worst thing you could do if you’re starting out is to not have a strategy. If you started a business without knowing what it is you want to achieve, you will run into problems very quickly. So why do some businesses not feel the same way when they start up a social media account?
A strategy is vital if you want to make progress. Know what you want to achieve from setting up your social media accounts, how you’re going to get there and how much time you can realistically dedicate to it.
Not Updating Regularly
You can’t be relevant to people if you’re not updating your profiles regularly, and if you’re not doing that, then you’re not giving people a good reason to follow you. Some might argue that not posting anything is better than posting bad content, but being negligent will make you look like you don’t care, a bad sign if someone is trying to contact you through these channels.
If you’re not updating your profiles, then you need to get into the habit. Developing such a habit is done by easing yourself into a routine so give yourself a manageable goal to start off with (one tweet a day for example) and build it up as you go along. It will become routine sooner than you would expect and then you can increase it if you so wish. Another good alternative is scheduling content, do this when you know you won’t be able to tweet or update your accounts.
Taking On Too Much
A problem that smaller companies usually face – usually because of a lack of planning – signing up to numerous social media sites with the expectation that it will work itself out. When they realise that these profiles need to be updated regularly, the problems begin to emerge as they struggle to keep up. Underestimating the time and resources needed to complete these tasks effectively happens all too often so make sure it doesn’t happen to you.
The best way to avoid this is to keep your efforts concentrated to one or two platforms when you’re starting out and only increase the number when it becomes habit. If it’s a case that you have numerous social media profiles set up, then prioritise what you think are the most important channels and then gradually increase it as time progresses.
Bad Spelling Or Grammar
This should be rather obvious. Anyone can forgive a random typo, but repeating them will make you look careless. The most common mistakes involve people confusing similar sounding words like ‘it’s’ and ‘its’, ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ and ‘their,’ ‘there’ and ‘they’re.’ However, there could be many other things like spelling or grammar that you could be getting wrong so if it is a problem, get someone to quickly proof your content first before you post anything. If you don’t have someone at hand, then using a spellcheck service can be useful, but don’t rely on them too much.
And if you ever do make a typo in a post and you spot it, just admit to it. It’s not as painful as you might think.
Publishing Offensive Or Inappropriate Post
Another obvious point, but one that can be quickly forgotten within the heat of the moment. When you’re dealing with complaints, maintain a neutral and professional tone at all times and don’t get angry under any circumstances. Every business gets complaints, but if you get annoyed by them, you don’t want to reply when your judgement is clouded.
If you do find yourself getting angry while communicating to someone through social media, take a moment away from your computer or smartphone and breathe. The great thing about social media is that while it’s replies are immediate, it doesn’t mean you should respond to everyone straight away. You can afford yourself a minute or two to cool down before you reply to someone
Also, common sense should tell you what jokes are acceptable or not. If you think you’re saying something risquÃ© and you’re unsure as to how it will be received, don’t post it. There are many ways to be humourous without having to go for shock value.
Not Having Realistic Goals
Social media is a rapidly developing space, but that doesn’t mean your business will develop that fast. Developing a presence takes a lot of time and effort before you will start seeing any tangible returns so if you’re impatient or expect to see results almost immediately, you’re going to be left disappointed.
Social media is a long-term project and if you’re starting from scratch, it will be a while before the results begin to show. However, what social media does provide is the opportunity to earn attention and in turn, new customers. It will require you to work on it every day to build up a rapport but if you have a strategy and a routine going, you will begin to see results.
Not Understanding The Platform
Treating each platform as the same manner and wondering why people aren’t engaging or liking your content is common, but most of the time it boils down to two main factors: not understanding that social media is all about relationships and not realising that the different social media platforms have different strengths.
The first one is crucial as social media gives you the opportunity to develop a connection with your customers and in turn, make them more likely to trust you and do business. People are more likely to purchase from a brand they trust and social media provides a golden opportunity.
The second part is more straightforward. Each platform has its own strengths so knowing where your target audience is based and which one serves your interests the best is crucial if you’re a smaller business. You’re not going to realistically update seven or eight different sites so limit it to the ones that benefit your business directly.