Category Archives: social media mistakes

8 Bad Social Media Mistakes Every Business Should Avoid

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Failed Stamp Showing Social Media Marketing FailureOne of our favorite sayings is, “You don’t learn how to do things right if you don’t do them wrong” meaning that the learning process involves quite a bit of wrong to find out what is ‘right.’  While the road to social media success is not immune from the testing theory, one very big mistake (or mistakes) on social media can land you in very hot water—or not get you the results you’re on social media to achieve.  To save you from the embarrassment of a business social media post or comment gone wrong, the backlash (not to mention jeopardizing your job security), and the inevitable “FAIL” stamp on your social media efforts, we’ve listed some very bad social media mistakes made—and being made—by businesses on social media.

Making light of a horrible situation

Everyone appreciates a bit of humor, but make sure you don’t apply that levity to a situation that doesn’t warrant it (i.e. death, bombing, violence, etc.).  The internet is full of articles about brands that made humorous comments about a crisis, and it didn’t bode well for their brand.  Treat the situation with the sympathy it requires—not the misplaced joke that repels customers.

Lesson: Think twice, post once. Be cautious about using humor—especially related to a current event.

Ignoring comments from customers

A neglected angry customer is a ticking time bomb.  An ignored potential customer is not going to become a paying customer.  We have personally seen the effects of a ticking time bomb: a floor company’s Facebook page filled with angry rants from the same customer under EVERY post.  Worse yet, it took days (and many posts) for the company to realize what was going on.  Learn from their mistake: pay attention to your social media pages and respond to every customer that tries to interact with you on social media (for other tips on how to deal with the angry online customer, click here).

Lesson: Monitor your social media channels regularly, and have a process in place for responding to negative comments.

Responding to every comment with a canned response

You can picture this if you haven’t witnessed it in person: a food company that produces children’s products receives a complaint from a customer on social media.  In the blink of an eye, the company’s page is full of customers with the same complaint.  The company responds to every post (to their credit), but with the same (obviously copy and pasted) response.  This irritates the customers even more, and soon the crisis is spreading like wildfire.

Lesson: Respond to each customer with a personal, real human voice.

Overselling

Let’s get something straight: social media is not a billboard.  It’s a conversation.  If you want to be part of the conversation with your customers, don’t beat them over the head with posts that sell, sell, sell.  One of the top social media mistakes we see is businesses that look at social media only as a form of advertising.  It’s also one of the key ways we educate our clients when they hire us for online marketing expertise.  Instead follow the 80/20 rule so you are building trust with your customers (and potential customers).  Eighty percent of your posts should be relevant information.  The other 20% should focus on your products and brand.

Lesson: It’s okay to sell on social media, but social media marketing is a more subtle form of marketing.  Create a schedule that follows the 80/20 rule.

Posting personal comments to your business account

This sounds like common sense, but it’s incredibly easy to do.  One wrong click can leave your business social media followers snickering about your wild and crazy night; we guarantee your boss won’t take it quite as well.  That’s doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a personal voice; it does mean you should post your dinner and stories for your friends, not your customers. Trust us, your friends will respect you in the morning (hopefully)—your customers and employer, not so much.

Lesson: Check, check, and double check before posting so that your personal opinions and comments stay off of your business social media account.

Classic social media feast-or-famine approach

It’s a cycle that just keeps repeating on social media pages: business posts, posts again, posts again, and then…days pass.  Weeks pass. No tweets or posts.  Suddenly, the business starts posting again.  Then nothing.  Social media results come from a schedule of regular and relevant posts.

Lesson: Create a schedule of relevant posts, and stick to your schedule. If you can’t, hire a company who can keep up a regular social media schedule with relatable information.

Not knowing who you’re talking to

What good is talking to a room full of people who don’t care about what you’re saying?  How is that room full of people supposed to care about what you’re saying if it doesn’t apply to them?  Apply that same concept to social media: know who you’re talking to, so your proverbial “room” or social media followers doesn’t fall asleep by your social media posts.

Lesson: Know who your social media audience is, and choose content that is relevant to their lives.

Spamming other businesses

Posting to another business’ website without their permission is a sure-fire recipe to get you in trouble.  Use this trouble-free theory in your social media marketing: ask first, post second.  Don’t post on other business social media sites trying to reach their fans without their permission.  It’s that simple.

Lesson: Establishing relationships with other businesses is good practice, but don’t betray that trust by posting without asking permission.

4 Ways Everyone Can Tell You’re a Social Media Rookie

social media roookie mistakesThis post comes with a disclaimer: we’re all still learning about social media. Everyone is; social media is constantly evolving, and new strategies are being developed every day. That being said, you don’t have to look like you’re new to the social media “game,” even if you are a rookie to social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. So how do you avoid walking around with a metaphorical “I’m new here” sign on your back? Avoid these common rookie social media faux pas:

You only share content about you

Don’t confuse social media marketing with traditional advertising. This is more than just a space that says, “buy, buy, buy!” Creating a valuable social media presence is all about giving value to your customers, and not just on selling. That means sharing content, graphics and information that your customers find valuable, including but not limited to information about your company. Use the 80/20 rule: 80% of your posts, tweets, etc. should be valuable (even fun depending on your company’s voice), and 20% should be about you.

Don’t be afraid to share content from other sources. If you are a pet store, share tips, articles, and memes that your customers find interesting. Add in pictures of pets that come into your store, fun pictures of your employees (with their permission), sales happening at your store, and notification of community events you’re involved in. The result is a social media presence that your customers find relevant and interesting, building their trust and bringing them in the door.

You have a million different social media pages, BUT…

The BUT is that you’re not good at any of them. A tell-tale sign of a rookie business is a mishmash of social media pages that don’t have relatable, regular and relevant posts specific to the social media site, the key to a solid social media presence. They’ve jumped in with good intentions, but 1) don’t have the knowledge of what to post to that specific social media channel or 2) tons of social media pages but no time to post to those pages.

What’s almost worse is when a business links two social media pages and automatically cross posts. The result is a long Facebook post that Twitter users can’t even read because it’s too long; a LinkedIn page with short Tweets that obviously weren’t intended for LinkedIn and don’t give LinkedIn users value. It’s disastrous. Every social media site is different; create posts and tweets for each platform, even if you’re sharing the same content.

How do you avoid this particular social media black eye? Plan ahead. Choose your social media channels strategically, and focus on those channels. Knowing what social media site fits your brand (check out this infographic to match your customer demographic with the right social media platform) is almost as important as what you put on those social media channels. Are you a bridal shop? Consider Pinterest, which is a visual social media channel with a strong female user demographic. A business focused on B2B marketing? Consider LinkedIn, one of the leading social media platforms among professionals.

You don’t have to confine your social media presence to one social media site, of course. But if you do have a presence on several sites, know your social media site and their audience or hire a social media marketing company that does. Finding your niche in the social media world is as wonderful as a compatible marriage. It’s a match made in heaven, where your business achieves results—and your audience gets the content they want.

Feast or famine social media presence

Ah, the famous “your eyes are bigger than your stomach” error. Or, in this case the “your intentions are bigger than the amount of time you have.” These rookie businesses post when they have time, post a lot, and then….post nothing. You’re not going to keep your audience’s interest with this fast or famine approach to social media. Be regular; the definition of regular is different on each social media platform. If you can’t give regular social media updates and blog posts, outsource to marketing experts. It’s better to have updated social media channels than irregular posts and dated information. We’ve said it before: there’s no shame or blame in outsourcing.

You don’t respond

This is one of the worst mistakes a business can make on social media: not responding to their customers in a timely fashion. Remember, social media is a two-way forum. If your customers ask a question, or leave a review, you need to respond quickly. Studies have shown that your customers’ expect a response on social media, and that they are responding a response within an hour (or two at the most). That doesn’t mean you need to stay awake all night responding to customers, especially if you put your business hours on Facebook. It does mean that you need to reply as quickly as possible, even if the review or inquiry has a negative tone.

If you get a negative review or comment, don’t ignore it. Instead, use this as a chance to listen and provide excellent customer service. Deleting a negative comment only angers your already angry customer and makes it look like you have something to hide. Your customers are taking the time to engage with you, now it’s your turn to return the favor. If you don’t have time to post and respond to your social media inquiries, hire help to make sure that you meet your customers’ (and potential customers’) expectations.

Remember, not to treat social media marketing like it’s an isolated effort. Integrate your social media marketing into your marketing plan so you have a clear, consistent voice in all your marketing efforts—and the excellent results of a well thought-out, strategic marketing plan. Don’t be afraid to ask if you have any questions about digital marketing; watching and learning are two sure ways to lose that rookie label.