Social media mistakes for any business to avoid
Social media is a great way to engage with customers and build your brand. But if you don’t tread carefully it can also represent a PR minefield. Here are some common mistakes which businesses make when attempting to harness its full potential.
Not updating your social media channels regularly
An inactive social media profile is arguably worse than no profile at all. If your last update says “Happy Christmas to all our valued customers”, and it’s March, it just looks like you don’t really care about your brand. There are no hard and fast rules for how regularly you update, and it varies according to the platform, but make sure you devote a fixed amount of time a week to keeping your profile(s) looking fresh.
Updating social media too much
The above said, it is possible to overdo it. Oversharing, constantly retweeting praise for your business or live-blogging the minutiae of your working day is annoying and will lose you followers. Plus, it detracts from all the fun, interesting things you’re trying to say. Unless something really important is happening, try not to tweet more than four times a day, and make sure it’s relevant and engaging.
Talking at your customers
The point of social media is to engage with customers, rather than using it solely to broadcast information. Reply to queries and feedback, share or retweet others’ updates, and use relevant hashtags where appropriate – though not too frequently, or you’ll end up looking amateur.
When companies formulate their social media strategy, they often make the mistake of viewing it as just another way of marketing themselves to potential customers. In reality it’s more about raising awareness of your brand and building a relationship with existing and future customers. If this eventually leads to conversions, all the better, but try to avoid the hard sell, or people will quickly switch off.
Expecting too much
Companies frequently become frustrated by their inability to convert a high level of social media engagement into a similarly high spike in sales. But it’s a mistake to treat social media campaigns like regular forms of marketing. If people regularly engage with your brand, they like what you’re doing and they’re more likely to think of you when they’re out shopping for a product or service. Think of it as brand awareness building, rather than a sales tool, and you’ll finally ‘get’ the value.
Although a common misconception, the youngest person in the office doesn’t have better social media credentials than anyone else. In fact, handing over the reins of the social media accounts to the office intern is usually not a good idea. Facebook and Twitter aren’t just about entertaining people; they are fast becoming the frontline for dealing with customers, so you need to choose someone who can handle that with the professionalism required. Make sure only trusted people have the login details, and change it whenever someone leaves the company. In 2013, HMV learnt this lesson the hard way when employees facing redundancy “hijacked” the company’s official Twitter feed to vent their frustrations.
Ignoring negative feedback
Back in the days before social media, if you had a bad experience with a company, you’d mention it to your family, friends and maybe a few colleagues: probably around a dozen people in total. Social media has changed all that. Obviously things go wrong, and negative feedback will happen, but keeping an eye on tweets and dealing with issues swiftly and tactfully can frequently turn a negative experience into a positive one, generating good PR for your business. Social media is influential – ignore it at your peril!