Used correctly, social media can help you engage with your customers and win over new ones. When misused, however, it can wreck your reputation and keep potential clients away from you. If you are marketing on social media, you may be making costly errors without even realizing it. Check out this article for useful advice on what mistakes to avoid.
Social media can be invaluable: it can bring a company closer to its customers and raise brand awareness. Nonetheless, if it’s not used correctly, it can do quite the opposite: keep potential clients away and wreck the company’s reputation. After all, plenty of respected corporations suffered serious backlashes on social networks for offensive tweets, questionable campaigns or controversial company statements.
Wondering how to create a positive impression of your business on social media without compromising your reputation? There is no perfect recipe, but you can start by avoiding the common mistakes listed below.
Talking at People, Not to Them
Social media is interactive, hence the social part. You shouldn’t use it solely to promote your products/ services, but to engage with your clients. Despite this, many companies use social media to post nothing but information about their own business. You should interact with your fans/followers, answer their questions and ask for feedback on your product/service.
Don’t use social media as a megaphone. If you are serious about creating a social media strategy for your company, you should dedicate personnel to monitor engagement and come up with ideas to generate conversations around your products or promotions.
Not Adapting Your Advertising Strategy
Marketers are on social media to sell, there’s no doubt about it. But how you choose to sell is extremely important. Your clients join social media to socialize, not to be persuaded into buying stuff. That’s why you have to adapt your advertising strategy accordingly.
For instance, let’s say your company decided to join Instagram. People on Instagram are there mainly because of the pretty pictures. You shouldn’t interrupt their experience by posting a boring photo of your product. However, you could share a picture of your product in a beautiful setting.
Treating all Social Media Sites the Same
The way you decide to address your clients should differ depending on the medium you choose to use. On Twitter, your messages should be short and catchy, while on Facebook you should focus on creating shareable photos and videos. While it’s OK to be funny on some social networks, it may not be well-perceived on others, like LinkedIn.
This is exactly why linking your Facebook profile to Twitter isn’t such a good idea – it looks sloppy and it’s unauthentic. Not to mention that Facebook posts that are over 140 characters don’t show up very nicely on Twitter.
Being Inappropriate or Insensitive
Many brands have suffered along the way for trying to take advantage of others’ torment in order to sell their products. Kenneth Cole once posted an insensitive tweet about the situation in Egypt, CelebBoutique used the #Aurora hashtag without checking what it’s actually about and American Apparel angered its followers with a Hurricane Sandy sale. The lesson to be learned here? Never make light of other’s suffering – your fans or followers won’t respond well.
Also, be careful when newsjacking. It may bring you more exposure, but be cautious before inserting yourself into the conversation. Without researching exactly what the conversation is about, your company risks looking insensitive or ignorant.
Not Responding Quickly Enough
The beauty of social media is that it allows you to interact with your clients in real-time. Consequently, if they ask you a question, you should be prompt to answer. When you decide to establish a social media presence, your customers may take the opportunity come to you for their for customer service.
If you can’t afford to monitor social media 24/7, inform your clients that you will only be available on the channel between certain hours. In that window of time, be present and make sure to answer all their inquiries.
Ignoring Negative Comments
A company that is serious about its social media presence can’t afford to ignore negative comments or, even worse, delete them. Instead, a good strategy is to apologize and assure the person that you are going to do your best to solve their complaint. Furthermore, whatever you do, never insult your customers, even if they leave mean comments on Facebook and Twitter; it can ruin your brand and business in a matter of minutes.
Dealing with negative comments can be challenging. Nonetheless, as long as you don’t panic and take the time to come up with a good response instead of impulsively sending out the first thing that pops into your mind, you can increase your chances of handling the situation professionally.
We’re going to say this again: social media is all about interacting with your customers. When your messages sound automated, you won’t make a good impression. Be human and create a voice for your brand. Otherwise, you risk appearing like a robot. Domino’s Pizza and Bank of America both had unpleasant experiences in this department, so learn from their mistakes.
It’s true that online marketing can boost your sales, as long as you have a good strategy in place. While social media can be every marketer’s dream, it can instantly turn into a company’s worst nightmare. If you have the ability, hire someone reliable and experienced to handle your social media presence. If you decide to handle it yourself, be careful with what you decide to share with your fans or followers. Avoid the mistakes above and focus on creating compelling content your customers will truly appreciate.