Social media is now one of the most powerful communication tools you have in your arsenal. If you are making mistakes or not using it correctly, you could land your brand in a lot of trouble or simply, get no engagement from your audience.
There are lots of common social media mistakes
These can be avoided with a little bit of vigilance and some forward planning. Making sure you have great foundations in place means that as you grow your social media presence, you can scale your efforts with a lot less hassle.
Getting things right in the first instance is so important if you don’t want to have to re-work and re-learn everything in the long run. There are so many brands out there who do great work on social but by the same count, there are lots of people who are completely missing the point. This ranges from people being too self-promotional and product led through to people trying to be too controversial and ignoring their audience.
If I am honest, you will inevitably make some kind of faux pas on social media and that’s ok. I see professional advertising agencies get stuff wrong all the time, whether that be a badly thought out campaign or a simple spelling mistake. You are only human and mistakes will be made, but if you avoid these common social media mistakes, it will stand you in very good stead.
1 – Stop Jumping on the bandwagon
Not every hashtag and trending topic is meant for you. Just because a story or subject is popular, it doesn’t mean that you have to be involved. In fact, most of the time you probably shouldn’t be and in some cases, you will come out looking worse than you could possibly have imagined.
The other thing to consider here is, that when a topic is trending, it means there are thousands or people talking about it at the same time. That means that anything you post instantly has a huge competition to deal with and will likely drown in a sea of other people’s content and never be found.
There are a couple of simple questions you can ask yourself before you post content related to a trending topic:
- Does this directly relate to my business or brand
- Do I have a truly unique point of view
- Will this content offer value to my audience
If you answer “No” to any of the above, then leave it alone.
2 – Social Media ≠ Sales
The second social media mistake I often see is using platforms like Facebook and twitter as just another means of selling. Now obviously the statement “Social does not equal sales” is potentially a little misleading. I run many campaigns via social media platforms that do offer a significant return on investment (ROI) in terms of sales, however, this is through highly targetted paid advertising that is talking to people who are specifically in the mindset to make a purchase.
What I am talking about here is your social feeds. Your feed should (for the most part) be kept clean of sales pitches and product posts and instead be used to offer engaging, valuable content that your users are likely to engage with. If all a user gets from you is product and service posts that are clearly aiming to sell you something, they will very quickly switch off and if you are really unlucky they will unfollow you or hide all of your posts.
Instead of thinking of yet another way to sell to your users, think of more ways you can add value to their lives, entertain them or even educate them. All of these methods will get your much more engagement in the long term. If you want to see on social, the engagement you get will be a big factor in how well you can do that in the future.
3 – Listen to Your Audience
Not listening to your audience is one of the biggest social media mistakes you can make. Social platforms are often the first port of call for complaints with consumers now. Jumping on your phone or computer and typing out a hastily written complaint is much easier for people that picking up the phone. It is also much more public. In my experience, people who make complaints on social media expect a response much quicker than they would if they complained via other means such as email or even phone. As these complaints are often visible to everyone, it also means that resolving them as quickly as possible is vital.
Think of a social media complaint as the perfect way to turn a negative experience into a positive one, not only for the customer who is complaining, but all of the people watching. If you bury your head in the sand and ignore your customers, everyone will just assume that you don’t care about what your customers have to say and don’t deal with issues that they experience.
The other opportunity you have to listen to your audience is by using the data they provide you. Most social media platforms give you lots of information about what your customers are engaging with on your page, what they like and their general sentiment towards your brand. Use this information to inform what kind of content you will produce in the future and even what new products or services your audience might be interested in.
4 – Invest in the Long Term
Creating a social media account is so easy that you don’t think twice about doing it, but it should be thought of as a long term investment. You probably aren’t going to have success over night and getting it right can feel like a steep learning curve. There are many social media accounts that have big peaks and troughs in activity which creates an inconsistent experience for users. If you want success on social media then commit to being in it for the long haul and make sure you consistently work on improving your presence. It shouldn’t be a haphazard, last minute, back of the mind marketing strategy. It should be right up there with all of your other marketing.
5 – Plan God Damn It!
I honestly cannot describe how frustrating it is to meet a client who feels that social media is a fly by night operation. A good social media or content strategy requires planning. You need to think about what content you are going to be writing in advance and whenever possible schedule it in. Automating your posts not only saves you time, in the long run, it also frees you up to think about other things. There are occasions when you might do the odd live posts or live stream but even those should be planned in advance to make sure you get the most out of it.
If you want to have success with social media and avoid simple mistakes, then plan your posts in advance, check everything for errors and then schedule it all to go out at times when your audience is most likely to see it. You shouldn’t be coming up with a post last minute because you have just realised that you haven’t posted in a couple of days and you feel like you should be. My client’s posts are usually planned around a month in advance and the time we would usually be posting to think about our overall strategy or refine our targeting.
If you are looking to start getting success on social, make sure you are committed to it and start planning straight away. Think about who your audience is going to be and what kind of things they might want to engage with. Plan and schedule your posts in advance and keep a consistent tone of voice throughout. Use the data provided to you by social platforms to keep improving your content and targeting and always communicate with your audience regardless to keep the conversation active and positive.