Social media marketing is one of the most effectual ways a brand can use to build awareness, interact with customers and find potential clients so it’s no wonder why many businesses are adapting to it. Besides, it does seem rather easy enough – Post, like, share, comment. Right?
Social media is a tool and like most tools, if used carelessly can do your business more harm than good. You wouldn’t want to chase your existing customers away and repel potential ones would you?
I think not.
Without further ado, below are lists of social media marketing faux pas that can ruin or are already ruining your brand.
1) Underestimating It’s Value
Never underestimate the power of social media. Many business owners view social media as a trend, something that’s in vogue so they just do it because everyone else is. They post sloppy images online, sometimes with content, sometimes without depending on how they’re feeling. Every business needs a community of niche consumers they can interact and create a close connection with and this is what social media provides. If you use social media effectively you will get good results. But first, you need to believe in it.
2) Forgetting To Be Human
What makes social media an effective tool for brand awareness is the real time relationship, closeness and oneness that it creates. Too many brands don’t know this and make it their modus operandi to have rigid profiles, using automated and overtly professional responses to communicate with potential opportunities. Treat each client as a breath of fresh air, and relate with everyone that interacts with your brand with a genuine human response. Personally, I don’t like relating with robots and when I get static replies to questions asked, I just never bother again. And I’m sure I’m not the only one.
3) Dealing With Negative Feedback Negatively
I can categorically say that there are certain people in the digital world that just log in to frustrate anyone and everyone. Oftentimes you want to give them a “clapback” that would most likely trend and make its way to instablog9ja (popular Nigerian Instagram handle). But as a business owner, it pays to realise that negative feedback is an inevitable outcome. You simply cannot please everyone try as you might. Social media has offered displeased customers an avenue to complain directly. Some business owners delete negative feedbacks or blatantly ignore them. This can cause the situation to escalate and give your brand a not so favourable image. Respond to every negative feedback and ensure you keep your customers happy. Yes, even the difficult ones.
4) Inconsistent Branding
The branding of your business is the first thing potential customers see. If you’re using red for Instagram, why use blue for twitter and green for LinkedIn? Your brand voice and posts must be harmonious across your various social media pages through and through. Otherwise you confuse customers, clients and even yourself sometimes. It creates a shoddy first impression and you definitely don’t want that. You also need to ensure you post good quality pictures.
5) You Don’t Do Your Research
In not so many words, if you are doing a factual post then make sure you get your facts right. Research, confirm and reconfirm. It’s not so hard. The digital world moves pretty fast and you don’t want a horrible mistake you’ve made to be screenshot… screenshotted (Oops! I should have researched that ahead of this post) before you’ve had the time to delete or edit it. It pays to always remember that the internet never forgets.
6) Buying Likes and Followers
You’d see an awesome post on a platform of over 1M followers but the post would have 10 likes and one random totally unrelated comment. “That’s so swell” even when you’re talking about a terrorist attack in the Himalayas. Many brands are desperate for followers but don’t want to grow organically so they hire the services of zombie accounts to follow people, wait for them to follow back then unfollow. It’s tempting, I get it but you don’t want mindless followers who have no business being on your network. Having 100 followers who engage and relate is way better than having 100,000 followers who have no clue as to what’s happening on your page. Also, sorry to burst your bubble, but people can usually tell when you’ve bought followers, so just do it.
7) Ill-timed Content
I always say, wasting a really awesome post is like singing in the shower when you should be on The Voice. Nobody hears you and you don’t get the reaction you need. Without your posts getting the required views, your overall online reputation would deteriorate. Go back to the basics, study your followers and have an idea of when they are most likely to be online and post then. Sometimes early morning works, other times it doesn’t. Do your research, try and optimise.
8) Joining a Trending Topic Without Having Anything Valuable To Add
This might come as a surprise to most business owners with an online presence, but hopping on every trending topic is not entirely necessary ESPECIALLY when you don’t have anything valuable to add. Don’t jump on political, religious or social trends except you really have to and there is a way your business identifies with the topic. Talking for the sake of it would annoy people in real life; think about what it does to brands online. You need to post content that shows you as a brand has an expert level of knowledge.
9) Poor Use of Humour
When used correctly, humour has a way of endearing people to your brand and engaging your followers. However, just because it’s funny to you doesn’t mean it would be funny to your followers. Humour on the internet is a sensitive thing so think twice before trying to be funny on there. Tasteless jokes are hard to take back.
10) Forgetting To Proofread
I have taken this lightly in the past and I am eternally thankful to the social media platforms that have the edit feature. But what if you don’t know you’ve made a slip in malapropism, misspelled something or constructed a sentence wrongly? Always proofread your content, otherwise you would be damaging your brands online reputation. Mistakes could make you seem silly and illegitimate to your followers. Why would they want to buy something from someone who doesn’t know the difference between there and their, were and where or am and I’m? This is major key. Your business wants to create an overall professional vibe regardless of what you’re selling, so get to proofreading or hire someone to do it for you.
11) Not Separating Business from Personal
Keep your personal accounts away from your business account. I cannot reiterate this enough. I don’t want to sift through cute pictures of your family, food et al when I’m looking for the shoes your business profile claims you sell. Not everyone has the time. Rule of thumb is, keep your personal life away from business. Using your business page to post personal comments and images can dampen the professional outlook of your company and make you seem unserious.
12) Unnecessary Boosts
Even though Facebook marketing is affordable and readily available, that doesn’t mean you should promote 95% of your posts. Engagement on social media is great but blindly spending AD money is just silly especially as it wouldn’t always translate to sales for you. Use a real strategy, understand your target audience, have a specific purpose and track the results of each ad you put out. Don’t be the brand that customers roll their eyes at and think “here we go again”. There is a thin line between being social and being a spam.
13) Posting Offensive Material
Having a social media page as a business owner requires that you know the difference between offensive and shareable content. Or at least your social media manager does. Posting offensive material can damage your brands reputation. Putting up material on nudity, racism, rants about your competition or customers etc would decrease your online popularity. Triple check content and have a third party look it over to be sure it’s not offensive before posting. If you’re unsure, stick to motivational posts. That’s always a winner.
14) Ignoring Followers, Comments and Questions
The whole point of social media is to interact and engage your followers, so to own a business page means you must be ready to do just that. Of course you may not have the time to always respond, but make the effort, otherwise you’d find that your company is losing followers and you don’t want that as they are very important. Try and let them know you acknowledge this fact. Respond to comments and feedbacks if necessary, answer questions asked and like their pictures too.
15) Wanting To Be Everywhere
There are benefits and value to being social but most brands open accounts on all platforms without considering the differences between them. Social media is a vast world; you can pick a couple of platforms and use them to your brands benefit. Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter… There are so many, but you don’t necessarily have to be on all of them. Stick to the networks that fit your brands identity and image. It’s okay to NOT be on all the networks. Trust me.
16) No Social Media Sharing Buttons
A major part of Googles search ranking algorithm is the traffic that comes from your social media accounts so linking your social media followers back to your website is a good idea and a necessity in building a successful online brand. If you are not sharing the articles published on your website on your social media accounts then you should start now. Give viewers a reason to go to your website; this makes your Search Engine Optimisation strong. Also, your website should have buttons to quickly share articles and posts back to social media. It increases traffic.
17) No Plan
Consistency is key and we hear this every day. In order to be successful and get the most out of your social media pages, you need a plan. You cannot be consistent without it. Posting randomly in a disorganised fashion on social media and praying for likes and shares would stress you out. Before diving in headfirst, create a social media plan and stick to it. Winging it will restrict the effectiveness of your efforts.
Even if you have 100,000 followers or more, understand that each of your followers is individually unique, don’t treat them as one. Mind your language, think twice before posting and while it’s okay to use cool slangs every now and then, your follower base would not consist of just youths. Keep your business tone professional. It’s okay to be hip and hop but try not to overdo it.
In all you do, always remember, the internet never forgets.