Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, yeah, you’re there but are you following a social media strategy for your brand’s communication approach? If not, you’re likely to fall into one of the pitfalls we like to call “Social Media Missteps.” Here are a few things we’ve identified as common mistakes brands sometimes make in social media communication.
Shannon Blair—Stop social media blasting us, please
Yay! You found/have great content that makes you want to run to the top of the nearest mountain and shout it to the world!! While we all appreciate a good Julie Andrews – Sound of Music opening scene moment – please… please… stop blasting it on every social media platform you have. There is nothing worse than going to Twitter and seeing a great tweet, then Facebook and seeing the same post, then LinkedIn and seeing the same post, and Google+ and seeing the same… oh, I’m sorry, are you seeing a repeat here? So are we. Stop it.
Luke Pierce—Not using your brand voice
It’s really simple; if you sell couches don’t post about fried chicken. Unless you’re having a fried chicken couch party, then post away. If you aren’t however, then stick to posting about subjects that accurately reflect what your brand is all about. People seem to mess this one up all the time. I get it, there are all these social media platforms to share information across, and it can be a struggle to generate content for each, but that shouldn’t be an excuse to start posting things that don’t relate to your brand. If you don’t have fresh content that you’ve generated yourself, spend a little time doing industry research about a subject you’re excited to tell people about. If you are constantly trying to educate yourself and share what you learn, you will never run out of content to post. Oh, and if you need a little help trying to clarify your company’s voice, check out this article.
Nathaniel Seevers—Anti-social media
Social media is meant to be just that – social. Too many companies approach social platforms as their own personal broadcast channel, a chance to feed an audience a spoonful full of a sales pitch. There are brands all over Twitter who log in only long enough to toss out their own blog post or press release.
As much as we can blame the rise of social media for bouts of online envy, lower productivity and a flood of cat videos, social media has also bred a culture of transparency and helpfulness. If your brand is more concerned with how to delete bad Yelp reviews than engaging with folks and sharing useful content you may as well not be on social media at all.
Gretchen Ardizzone—Confusing activity for engagement
You tweet, post updates, share photos, create content and videos, but are you really engaging with your audience? If you’re just regurgitating others’ content, pushing out the self-promotional material or your interactions sound more automated than conversational, chances are your followers will die off or be less inclined to pay attention to what you have to say. Just being there isn’t enough; the interaction should be meaningful. Each piece of content should have a clearly defined purpose: to inform, instruct, inspire, entertain or simply start a conversation.
How can you engage? Give your audience exclusive access, let them see a sneak peek behind the scenes, ask for their input, reward them for following, share their stories and make sure you’re listening!
Whether you’re B2B or B2C, a big business or small business, social media is a powerful tool when used correctly. Engage your followers and let them do some marketing for you.
Marsh Williams—Self-serving social
So you’re at a party and someone comes up to you and starts telling you what a great product they have and just will not stop. In fact, as they’re telling you about it they’re getting louder and louder, and finally, start telling you that you should buy from them. You walk away and they chase you and keep telling you that you should buy their product: what’s your reaction?
So now compare that egotistical, self-serving style of communication to what a lot of companies are doing on social media… are you going to follow/like/listen to that?
The key to social media is building an audience, and the key to building an audience is providing solid information that people want to know about not constantly throwing Social Media Sales Grenades. It really is that simple. Every company has expertise and knowledge that is of interest to someone. Use social media to spread/share what you know and develop a reputation for expertise in your particular area. Help people by finding and sharing information that they can use, and while they will not use all of it, every-once-in-a-while there will be a “nugget” that they’ll find and hang onto. They will remember you for that and that is a great use of social media.
Remember social media is just one part of a marketing and communications program.
Photo Credit: B Rosen