The best things about marketing on social media can also be the things that trip you up. Immediacy and informality mean you can react quickly and connect with your customers, but they also mean it’s easy to make embarrassing mistakes.
Failing to create a coherent strategy, jumping on an inappropriate bandwagon, getting the tone wrong or ignoring the differences between platforms – there are plenty of ways to go wrong on social media.
Here are six common mistakes companies make – so you can avoid them.
Social media management can seem simpler than it really is. Because the mechanics of posting content are straightforward, business owners often just start without a plan in place. This means you’re unlikely to be reaching the right people, posting the right type of content, or bringing in any new business.
That’s why your first step should be defining your audience, setting marketing goals, and finding ways to measure your results. These simple steps should help guide all your marketing and give it purpose – even if the odd post still falls flat. And make sure that you keep a healthy mix of different types of content: don't just stick to competitions (please!)
Creating an authentic, consistent tone of voice is an essential part of your social strategy. If you’re all over the place in terms of tone, or if your tone doesn’t fit your business, you risk striking a false note and coming across as insincere. Think of a young, hip brand using stuffy, formal language in their social posts, or worse, an established business trying way too hard to be casual and hip.
Social media platforms let you respond to big events and jump in with your take on trending topics. Staying current can be a great way to be relevant and grab attention, but it’s also risky. If you jump on a bandwagon without researching the background, use a social movement to promote your product or respond to a news story with inappropriate humour, you could be in trouble.
Reduce the risk by having several layers of approval for social posts – don’t just hand the job over to a tech-savvy junior employee and hope for the best.
Some companies think consistency means posting in the same format every time – a pale pink box with teal text, or a beautifully shot product photo. But social media is all about fun and engagement, and if your content looks the same every time, it’s far too easy to scroll on past.
Keep it interesting by posting different types of content – some product pics, some text, some customer reviews or candid shots of your staff. It’s about covering different facets of your business and giving your customers a well-rounded picture of your brand.
It should go without saying, but somehow, even in 2020, companies still manage to post rude, offensive or disrespectful content on social media. Anything that insults or excludes people based on gender, race, disability or sexuality is a no-go – another reason to build-in several layers of approval before you post. Fashion brand Benetton learned this the hard way when they posted a product shot to Instagram with the caption ‘No girls allowed’. It didn’t go down well.
It’s also important to be respectful in your engagement with customers – it’s not a good look to use sarcasm or get angry and defensive in reaction to negative comments.
Every social platform has its focus. Instagram has eye-catching images and minimal text. Facebook is more general, with a mix of articles, video, and photos. LinkedIn has more long-form articles and in-depth content. Twitter is for pithy comments and links to other platforms.
Although you may not need to have a presence on every platform, it’s important to tailor your posts to the setting. Don’t share the same block of text on every platform. Don’t share your slick Insta pics on LinkedIn. And keep it short and succinct on Twitter.
Doing your best to avoid social media mistakes doesn’t mean giving up on personality or humour altogether. As brands all over the world have shown, it is possible to do social well without going viral for the wrong reasons. Just know your audience, focus on your brand strategy, keep it interesting and most importantly, think before you post.
If you’re still unsure, Zavy can help you stay on track. Our social media analytics tools let you see how people react to your posts online, and gives you insight into how your business is performing compared with the competition. You can even find out how people feel about current issues – helping you avoid those awkwardly inappropriate jokes.
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