Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. Google+. They’re all sites that the masses flock to in order to keep up with friends, their favourite celebrities and family. By family, we mean your Aunt Mavis who likes every status you post, asking how your Mom is and stating how big you’ve gotten since she last saw you. Yes, everybody seems to be on social media these days, so it’s no surprise that companies have dusted off their keyboards and took up the social media plight that controls modern society. Let’s be honest, it’s a clever move. Being able to monitor what your customers are saying about you, seeing and resolving complaints. Whilst being able to push out offers and deals (all for free might we add) is too good of an offer to turn down.
No matter the company, they will always need to be careful about how they’re using the social media platforms as it can lead to losing valuable resources down the drain. Companies are under much more pressure than an average Facebook/Twitter user and making one little mistake could lead to the untimely demise of customer engagement.
Here are the 10 biggest mistakes to avoid:
1. Multi-platforming should take time: If you’re only just starting in the world of social media, you’ll most likely want to get your company as ‘out there’ as possible. Jumping into multi-platforms at once can do more harm than good. Too many companies in the past have tried to do a massive jump onto all platforms, only to find that they’ve stretched themselves too thin. Ultimately leading to losing interest in a world of possibilities.
To begin with, choose one platform and stick with it. Get comfortable, familiarise yourself with all aspects of the site and get to know the ins and outs. Find out the platform that your customers use most and use it as your starting block. For example, if you’re mostly B2B, then more chance than not you’re platform will be LinkedIn, likewise, if you’re B2C, chance are it’s Facebook/Twitter. Also, don’t be afraid to jump ship from platforms that aren’t working for you, it’s just a waste of time and resources to reach out to the 5 customers that pay attention to your content.
2. Remember to have personality: There’s a reason that people like Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Amanda Bynes (controversial) have so many followers: They all offer a strong personality. No one wants to deal with a cold, flat company who offer nothing but a chance to clog their feed. They want to deal with things that hold beliefs and opinions. For someone to be a “fan” of you, there has to be a level of reliability. We’re all different and your fans will feel connected with you through mutual interests. Tell customers what’s important to you – besides growing your business.
3. Don’t keep driving a sale: As you try to develop your personality, one type to skip is the role of aggressive salesman. Many have been there and were pushed away as a result. Social media users don’t take kindly to a hard sale, so don’t force them upon your audience. Social media is made to be social. It can’t be a one-way street. Start conversations with your audience. Get talking and from there, the only thing you have to sell your customers on is that you’re going to include them in the conversation.
4. Not developing ‘authenticity’: The word “authenticity” may confuse some with the true meaning. But it’s this simple! Customers need to feel and agree that what you’re asking of them to do is something that you’d actually do yourself. For example: saying your company is environmentally friendly is all well and good, but you must back it up with proof. Show your customers and followers what you’re doing to protect the environment. Backing words with evidence is always a sure way to gain the respect of others. It’s not going to bide well with others when they find that you’ve been dumping toxic waste into nature. Especially whilst saying how important the environment is until you’re blue in the face.
5. Hiding complaints and controversy: Come on, this is a huge benefit of social media and you’re trying to brush it under the carpet like it doesn’t exist. Take responsibility for your company and be an adult! Mistakes happen, everybody knows that and choosing to ignore them in place of being outright honest with your customers is the wrong way to deal with it. Owning up to problems may gain you more customers, as weird as that may seem. People value honesty, so being upfront about problems and assuring customers you’re doing your best to make these avoidable will gain you respect. Customers expect bad things to happen and they embrace companies who are willing to learn from such things. Ignoring complaints isn’t tactical – on social media, a customer can air their grievances with you in all of 10 seconds. Don’t let that happen.
6. Don’t pick admins because they’re tech-savvy: What’s more important than having someone who knows the ins and outs of the social media world? Someone knows how to communicate with your audience. Placing your accounts in the hands of a marketing or communications professional is probably your best bet; anybody can learn how to operate Twitter but not everyone can communicate with customers at a high standard.
7. Failing to create incentives: Why should your customers keep coming back to your page? Free items aren’t necessary but interesting, engaging content is. Offer your audience things like:
- Sneak peeks at new products or projects
- Faster responses to their questions
- Info to help improve their lives/jobs or funny content.
8. Typing is enough: Social Media is becoming more than that of simple text. Visual media is the thing, hence the ever growing popularity of apps like Instagram, Pinterest and Vine. Make sure that you’re posting some form of visual content – whether it’s videos or photos, it doesn’t matter. Facebook says that “posts with images generate 120% more engagement than text-only posts”. Make sure your social presence is more than just you posting stuff. Be sure to check other accounts and sites for content and be sure to hit the “Like” and share buttons.
9. You can’t hit a rhythm: A post here and there just isn’t going to cut it. To be successful, you really must establish a rhythm to your posts. This is both in terms of content you post and time it’s posted. You don’t have to post every day, but then again choosing to have long stretches of inactivity will just result in a loss of followers.
10. Relying on one person to post content: Establishing a strong and successful social media presence can take a lot of time and effort – often more than just one person can handle. You really don’t want your pages going stale all because your one and only administrator finally took a holiday. It’s always good to develop a social media team that can handle the strains of growing profiles.
What do you think are big blunders you should not do on your social media?