We’ve talked a lot in previous articles about the various ways to ensure the success of your social media marketing campaign. But what about the things you should actively avoid? Both as a business, and even personally?
Look around the web and there are plenty examples of social media marketing mistakes. These can be simple goofs or major faux pas that can compromise the success of your social strategy, or at worst, harm your business and your brand.
First impressions count, so you need to get it right the first time. Once you have made a great first social impression, you then need to maintain that image. Image is everything on social media.
Here are some of the biggest social media marketing mistakes to be avoided:
- Failing to plan
An effective social media campaign is well thought out and planned ahead. It takes commitment and time, and is a long-term strategy. If you don’t have the time and inclination to be active and to have a regular presence on social media, this marketing channel will not work for you. You need, before you even create a profile, to determine your time investment, your goals and strategy to achieve them.
- Having multiple profiles
Some companies choose to have more than one profile on platforms like Twitter and Facebook. These all link back to their main website. This is not only annoying and a waste of time and effort; it’s not 100 per cent legal. Make one profile per platform you use, and make it count.
- Failing to interact
You need to not only post and publish updates; you also need to interact with your followers’. Like and reply to their comments. Answer their questions, and ask for feedback. Social media is not meant to equate with a loudspeaker so you can talk at your audience – you need to be conversing with them.
MUST READ: The dos and don’ts of social media
This will annoy your followers faster than anything else you might do. Only post relevant links and make your presence valuable, each and every time you post.
- Having fake followers
Still a huge no-no. Without real followers, your profile has no virtual support, you will generate no leads for your business and there is no point to your social presence. It’s much better to have a smaller base of real followers who are supportive, and which builds into a steadily growing network over time.
- Automated linking
Automated posting can be valuable if it’s done in a considered and strategic way. It must be structured and without any randomness. Automating the posting of back links to your website, on the other hand, is akin to spam – just don’t do it.
- Failing to target effectively
You MUST identify your target audience prior to creating a social profile. This is part of the branding of your business, so it should have already been done. A targeted social media campaign will be much more successful for your business than flying blind.
- Posting inappropriate material
It might seem like the most basic of common sense, but there are plenty of businesses that post inappropriate content at times and this can be extremely damaging to a brand and to the success of a social media strategy. Never post anything that could be perceived as offensive by anyone. Always check content and links before publishing a post. Never post while angry, upset, overtired or intoxicated.
- Trend misinterpretation
Trending topics, as well as hashtags, can provide a valuable opportunity for brand visibility on social platforms. If you use the right hashtag at the right time, it can be a boon for your brand. Yet inappropriate use of a hashtag and entry into a trending topic can compromise your brand’s reputation instantly. You can even cause offense. Always check exactly what a hashtag is being used for before using it yourself. And only enter the conversation if you have something of high value to contribute – not to simply be seen.
You have a profile but have not posted for a week – or even longer. Are you still there? Silence online is one sure way to lose followers – and have them move on to other more active brands (that is, your competitors).This is where a post scheduling tool like Symphony can be useful – set up posts for the next week; this way you need only commit to posting once a week, yet your posts can be published once or twice a day, or as often as you choose.
SIDE NOTE: Take a look at some of the world’s cleverest social campaigns and find inspiration for your own
Personal social media fails
This might be an appropriate time to address one’s personal use of social media. While your personal social profile is just that – personal – there are some things you should be very aware of when using social media personally. When you have a social presence, a poorly-considered post can be detrimental to your reputation – and this can potentially be harmful to your career.
Avoid these personal social media fails at all costs:
- Posting to social media when you are “sick”: If you don’t want your boss or co-workers knowing you are taking a fake sickie, don’t be on social media – especially if you are in actual fact, out and about and enjoying your day. People have been terminated for doing just this.
- Tweeting or posting about a job offer or interview: This information should be kept private until the job has been offered and signed off on.
- Criticising your boss or workplace: Another sure way to be fired. Would you tell your boss to their face that you hate them, or that they are incompetent; you hate your job, etc? Then never say any of this on social media. Once it’s out there, it can’t be taken back. And others can always pass the message on. (Beware the screenshot facility).
- Posting sensitive social, political, or religious opinions: One person’s funny is another person’s offensive. Avoid talking about religion, race, politics or social issues. Don’t post anything that could be perceived as insensitive or profane.
- Making negative comments about clients/customers/patients: Your client or customer is your bread and butter. Without them, you don’t exist – you don’t have a job. If you need to vent, do it face to face at an appropriate time and place with a co-worker or superior. Or face to face with your friends in private. Never mention names!
- Breaking confidentiality: This is grounds for instant dismissal – and there may even be legal consequences. Never break confidentiality in an arena – but especially not on social media.
- Participating in a social media argument: Hello Taylor Swift/Kim Kardashian. While it may be quite entertaining to be on the outside of some such social arguments, do we have any more respect for either of these women for their participation in their latest Twitter feud? You might not be famous, but even so, if you take part in an online argument, it’s not a good look. You may appear to be aggressive, oversensitive, rude, or even a troll. Just don’t do it.
- Friending the wrong people: If you are a teacher, don’t Facebook friend your students or their parents. If you are a health professional, don’t connect with your patients. A manager needs to keep a social distance between themself and employees (if only to avoid accusations by other employees of favouritism), and an employee should think twice before friending their boss on social media.
Any effective digital marketing strategy will include a social media component. Done right, your social media marketing campaign can propel your brand and business in a way like no other entity. A great post can go viral and launch your online presence to the stratosphere. A bad post can also go viral, and damage your reputation beyond repair. It is therefore crucial that you avoid making any kind of faux pas or social media marketing mistakes, large or small. It can be very difficult or even impossible to effectively bounce back from a mistake; prevention is better than cure.
Would you like to know how to make your social media really work for you? Have a look around this blog for some super social tips. There are plenty.
If you are professional who uses LinkedIn, our free LinkedIn Course is a great place to start for you so you get the most out of the platform. It will form the basis of awareness and building a connection so you can start and maintain a solid relationship with your target market. When they know, like and trust you, they will eventually buy from you.
MUST READ WHILE YOU ARE HERE: Have you read our blog on how to persuade and influence for success it comes to your social media marketing? If not, it’s worth the few minutes you’ll spend reading it.