Five Common Social Media Mistakes in Business
By Cynthia Wright
Social media is the 21st-century version of the backyard fence, allowing people to connect with each other, nurture personal relationships and express their opinions. It also has become a powerful tool for business owners to gain customers and foster visibility.
While people might not mind when friends or family members rave about their perfect kids or rant about the political climate, they are less tolerant of companies that are overly self-promotional or express controversial opinions. When businesses make such social media blunders, the results can be impactful, ranging from lost followers to serious brand damage.
Here are the five most common social media mistakes that companies make and should avoid:
1) Ignoring followers
Your customers want to be heard, and they often turn to social media to engage with you. Don’t you get annoyed when you’re trying to talk to someone and they are clearly not listening? The same is true for your followers if you provide no response or a blanket response.
2) Being too self-promotional, political or polarizing
By focusing social media content on hard-sell promotions or product discounts, you’ll likely forfeit the opportunity to build relationships and you may even train your customers to shop with you only when they get a discount.
Instead, consider adding content that provides value. Always balance your site with content your followers are likely to find engaging and encourage their interaction by providing links to helpful information or appealing offers.
You should also avoid posting information that is too political or polarizing. That doesn’t mean ignoring your core values and beliefs, but you risk losing followers and upsetting audiences if your corporate social media posts take political stances for or against issues or political leaders.
3) Forgetting or misusing calls to action
Every post should have a call-to-action, but if you’re simply offering a link to your homepage URL, you’re missing the opportunity to collect leads, increase sales and measure results. Instead, put a link to your purchase offer, downloadable resource or coupon. Send them directly to what they are looking for and you’ll see a significant increase in conversion rates.
4) Being too trendy
One of the biggest mistakes a brand can make is not staying true to its core message. Although a little controversy or edginess might be okay to keep your stream from becoming boring, be careful not to go too far. Don’t attempt to capitalize on trending topics by creating “viral” content that does not relate to the company brand or mission.
Additionally, only use hashtags that are relevant and appropriate to your content, products/services and brand.
5) Having no social media strategy
Be realistic. Get started by focusing on the social media outlets that are a good fit for your business and invest in the long term with strategies to grow your impact.
Set goals and objectives that you can use to measure impact. By identifying your goals, you can monitor and evaluate how well you use your social media channels to distribute content that fosters engagement. Your objectives should also include how the company will respond to comments, questions and backlash.
Regularly monitor any negative feedback and respond authentically on a timely basis. Avoid creating costs or responses that might cause followers to “hide” your posts. Once they are gone, you will probably never see those followers again.
Most of all, remember social media was created to nurture relationships. So use it for that purpose. Develop and build a loyal community that will be connected to and energized by your brand.
Cynthia Wright is the Junior Partner of Carriage Trade Public Relations®, Inc. and Cecilia Russo Marketing, creating word-of-mouth in the community and online through reputation management strategies. For more information, contact Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org