Today’s post is from Alastair Kane, and looks at potential faux pas for companies in social media.
Social media. The contemporary consumers’ communications channel of choice. Addictive, all-knowing and all-important for maintaining a business’s reputation, social media knows what you’ve done, where you’ve been, and dictates where you’re going – the last thing companies want to do is sabotage their social standing.
But strategised corporate social media is entirely different to social for pleasure. So to avoid social suicide, here are 5 social media sins companies need to avoid.
- Wrong activity in all the wrong places.
Knowing where (or not) to post, and how frequently is the first hurdle. Don’t stretch yourself over the wrong networks, then wonder why engagement is poor! The sites you’re active on (you don’t need to be on all of them!) relate to brand, product type and target audience; different consumers populate different networks, and different products must be marketed differently. To get it right, evaluate available networks for suitability, see where engagement lies, and know how to post appropriately (e.g. don’t hashtag on Facebook, and post more frequently on Twitter than say, LinkedIn).
- Not having a strategy.
It’s important to strike a strategic balance when it comes to social media. Outlining a good campaign strategy with clearly defined short-term goals (reach 2000 Twitter followers over three months), and long-term goals (develop social relationships with key industry thought leaders, or attract a more relevant target audience) is as necessary for progression as for any other marketing technique. But while defining campaigns is important, don’t focus too much on exact stats and scores. A common corporate social error is to have unrealistic social expectations. And while it’s a relevant part of analysis, comparing social’s correlation with sales (as you would for paid search), just won’t be as clear-cut as other marketing results – it’s an entirely new approach. Instead, focus on social’s abilities to boost brand impressions and awareness, or measure long-term benefit to customer relationships to see your success.
- Poor response management.
Just having a social account isn’t enough. As well as regular posting, companies need to personally engage with followers and online consumers by personally replying (never automate!) to comments and queries, especially negative ones. Social media is your community customer service platform, helping to develop trust and retain customers. Without interaction social pages will be ignored, and become one-sided, boring company social graveyards – it’s social media for a reason!
- Lack of, or boring, content.
For best effect and interest, content should differ across networks, and be regular – tweets, blogs, replies, posts – around 4-5 times a day. But don’t tip too far and over-post (or at the very worst, spam!) or you’re likely to be ignored. Balance is key! Equally, don’t make it all about you, all the time. Your audience visits social media to be entertained and engage with things which interest them – they don’t want a tirade of advertising. To be successful, use content to humanise your brand and engage with consumers as a trusted friend, not a corporation. And when creating content, consider the audience’s perspective. If you don’t find your company content interesting, your audience won’t either!
- Neglecting social teams.
Securing social success is a full-time job. To see a real return on social, companies must actually invest time and resources in the first place; hiring knowledgeable, responsible experts who’ll avoid amateur mistakes, develop profitable campaigns, monitor audience interaction and source and post engaging content. But be prepared for slow results – at least initially. It takes a good few months to establish a presence and prove meaningful ROI. Unfortunately this causes many companies to neglect social; damaging revenue potential and reputations; companies without a social presence risk appearing outdated. Just remember it’s a long-term investment!
Follow this and your company will look socially competent, professional, and be on track to achieve great things. But there are always mistakes to be made, so keep track of the changing social landscape. Corporate social errors will change as social media evolves – which social media mistakes to avoid would you add?
Alastair Kane writes for Communicaid, a culture and business communication skills consultancy offering business communication skills training.