Social Media is a powerful tool and most companies have at least dipped their toes into the pool of these new platforms, however some of them are making avoidable mistakes. Here are 5 common mistakes that I see a lot of businesses making with social media…
- Overuse of Automated Responses– setting up an auto-response to appear for any comment made on your platforms can be a mistake because it shows a lack of engagement on the part of the business. People quickly become aware that the same canned response is being given to every comment and it demonstrates to them that nobody is really paying attention. Also in the case of a grievance or a complaint, that canned auto-response may net you a VERY unfavorable reaction from a client or customer.
- Mixed Messaging/ Going OFF Brand– the brand strategy and overall messaging can get thrown off course when there are too many people with their hand in the social media accounts. Postings from different people can result in a campaign that appears “all over the place” to your audience. A business is best served by having a dedicated social media manager or hiring an outside firm that is clear on the strategy to be executed. Too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the meal, as the saying goes…
- Failure to Engage– the nature of social media is to create relationships with your target audience, failing to respond and engage with your audience will produce unsuccessful results. You have to be ready and willing to take the time to reply to comments and offer new opportunities for people to interact with you. Simply posting things will not make the most of your efforts—driving engagement is key to creating an interactive experience for your audience which makes them want more of what you have to offer.
- Poor Use of Hashtags– let us start with the actual definition of a ‘hashtag’ for those of you that may be in the dark. “Hashtag”- A word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#), used within a message or post to identify a keyword or topic of interest and facilitate a search for it. Whenever a user adds a hashtag to their post, it’s able to be indexed by the social network and becomes searchable/discoverable by other user”. That being said 59 hashtags accompanying your post is just, quite simply, annoying to the reader. A few relevant hashtags for the sake of making your post searchable is acceptable. Be advised to investigate trending hashtags prior to attaching them to your posts, make sure that what comes up in a search for that tag is exactly what you expected. There have been cases of people using a trending hashtag that ends up highlighting them in searches for subject matter that they did not intend to be a part of. Do your homework before attaching things to your content.
- Using Trending NEWS to Promote Yourself– be careful what you associate your business with, the best example of a misstep with this one is when GAP used the news stories of Hurricane Sandy to tell people that they should stay inside and shop online at GAP. It backfired terribly on them and they ended up having to apologize profusely to the public for being insensitive. So make sure that if you are associating yourself with a news story, it comes across to the public the way that you intend.
All of the mistakes listed above can easily be avoided by paying attention to your audience and having a clear direction for strategy complete with a working understanding of the brand and messaging that is to be communicated.
If your company has not yet jumped into the world of social media platforms it needs to, this is the new media and it’s going to have to be dealt with, like it or not. I know many companies that have their ‘head in the sand’ when it comes to getting involved in all the different platforms, however if they continue to ignore it, they will fail. Social Media is here to stay and if you want to stay relevant you better get on board.