4 Social Media Mistakes That Can Spell Doom for Your Business
In the last 10 years, social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest, have seen an explosion of growth, both in terms of the number of users and popularity. Facebook, for instance, has 1.39 billion monthly active users and an average of 890 million daily active users while 89% of 18-29 year olds are on at least one social network. Clearly we live in an era where social media is a predominant way for people to interact and communicate online. For businesses, this rise in social media spells two things – opportunity and responsibility.
Indeed, social media is an opportunity and not only because of the audience on the different platforms but also the sheer amount of data that customers make readily available to marketers. The question is: Are you listening? After all, the magic of social media lies in its application in growing long lasting and scalable relationships with your customer base. Therein also lies the pitfall of the social networks. You have an online responsibility towards your customers. At the end of the day, social media can make or break your business.
Some social media practices that could hurt your business include:
1. You’re Publishing the Wrong Kinds of Content
Marketers often make the mistake of using the social networks for the sole purpose of pushing promotional content and updates. The problem with this lies in the fact that social media is all about building trust, engagement and community. There is a time and place for promotional messages but you also have to add value to the conversations and interactions you have online by sharing content meant to indulge or help your customers.
For instance, not every post you make on social media has to come from an original idea of yours. Sometimes responding to what others are saying and bouncing your ideas off them could be as plausible a way of getting yourself heard as any. Then there are other types of content such as non-promotional company information, for example if your employees are taking part in some volunteer work or if you have a job opening for job seekers.
2. You’re Publishing too Much Content too Often
How often should you post on the social networks? That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? Sadly though, there is no right answer to this. There is no best practice set in stone because the social networks, for example Twitter and Facebook are very different from one another. One thing that’s true for all the social media sites is that updates and posts don’t last long and users move on to more recent items quickly. The other consideration is the type of organization you are. A media publication, for instance, can get away with many updates a day whereas a online shoe store sending out updates at such a frequency will exhaust and consequently turn off users. One thing you absolutely don’t want to do is talk just for the sake of it. Content you post on social media should add value to the community around your brand or business.
3. Poor Consistency Across the Social Platforms
There are many elements that distinguish a brand from others, both visual and otherwise and how you portray yourself ultimately becomes your promise to your customers. In the light of that, no matter how many social networks you sign up on, topographical and structural elements of your branding including your logo, the fonts and colors you use and your brand description should demonstrate cohesiveness. Remember that your social media presence is an extension of your brand.
The other consideration is your brand voice and the integration of your marketing campaigns across your different social profiles. Providing a cohesive customer experience can solidify and amplify your marketing efforts and galvanize your community’s preference for your brand.
4. Poor Crisis Management
No business fancies having to face a crisis. Sadly, in social media, a simple situation can get amplified, complicated and out of control very quickly. For example, sending out a drunken tweet or Facebook status isn’t unheard of. And neither are customer service issues that sometimes smolder and the occasional hashtag hijacks.
If you use social media for marketing, you need to think about crisis management. The most important thing is if you want to fight chaos, your single most powerful weapon is clarity. In any crisis situation, the first thing is to understand level of severity and determine the potential risks. Equipped with the right data and information, you can then work though the situation by listening and showing empathy as well as transparency and a willingness to correct whatever has been done wrong.