6 top social media mistakes to avoid!

Social media is a fantastic way for businesses to increase their reach, traffic and sales leads. However when it’s not used properly, it can actually damage your brand’s reputation. As the public face of your company online, using social media inappropriately can quickly lead to customer alienation. To make sure that you’re getting the most out of social media, try to avoid the following mistakes.

1. Being too personal

Sharing your brand’s personality is essential; it can help you stand out from other brands and give followers an idea of the people behind the logo. However, you don’t want to get too personal with your social media profiles. Sharing sensitive topics like politics and religion can harm you brand’s reputation and turn off your followers.

2. Not responding well to negative feedback

Negative feedback is more than likely going to happen at some stage. You can choose to ignore it, fight back or take it in your stride. How you respond says a lot about your brand.
Don’t simply delete negative comments; there will probably be even more of a backlash if you do! Respond thoughtfully and promptly to negative comments, and use them as an opportunity to show your commitment to customer service.

3. Pushing the sales message too much

You use social media to get new business and interact with current customers. People are used to corporate and professional accounts posting promotional items. The problem comes when all you ever post is pushy sales messages. It’s the equivalent of email spam, and adds little or no value for your followers and fans. Think about the kinds of content your customers are likely to be interested in. Then post about those topics, with useful links and/ or images.

4. Being on every platform for the sake of it

Trying to be active on every social media platform is a big mistake. Make a plan or sit down with someone who can help you make a plan about what social-media channels align with your goals as an organisation.

Here is a quick guide to who should be using what platforms:

Facebook:
Who should use it: Everyone!

What to share: All types of online content, events, ads

Twitter:
Who should use it: Everyone – from individuals to the largest multinational corporations

What to share: Start, join, and lead conversations; interact directly with brands and customers

Instagram:
Who should use it: Lifestyle, food, fashion, personalities and luxury brands

What to share: Share visual content, including short videos (less than 15 seconds)

Linked In:
Who should use it: Businesses (especially B2B service providers), Recruiters and Job-Seekers

What to share: Job-postings, company descriptions, employer/employee research

Google +:
Who should use it: Brands already on the other major social networks, B2B networking, bloggers

What to share: More formal and professional than Facebook; Hashtags have major search value

You Tube:
Who should use it: Brands with video content and ads, anyone giving explanations or sharing expertise

What to share: Short (less than 1.5 minutes) video content

Pinterest:
Who should use it: Fashion, food, art, design, travel and anything DIY

What to share: Creative, visual content

5. Spamming your followers

Sharing content on a frequent basis is an absolute must, but you don’t want to overdo it. Your followers will get tired of you flooding their social media accounts. How often you should post to Facebook, Twitter, etc. is going to vary based on your following size, the networks own algorithms, and how active your followers are.

A good guide to go by from Buffer is:

Twitter – 14 times per day, from midnight to 10 p.m. Never more than once per hour. On weekends, 7 times per day, from 3 a.m. to 9 p.m., roughly every three hours.

Facebook – 2 times per day, 7 days a week, at 10:08 a.m. and 3:04 p.m.

LinkedIn – 1 time per day, 8:14 a.m., no weekends

Google+ – 2 times per day, 9:03 a.m. and 7:04 p.m., no weekends

However, it is best to use this as a guide and find out what works best for your audience.

6. Thinking that having a social media account means you are doing social media marketing

Thinking that simply having a Facebook page and a Twitter account means you are doing social-media marketing is a big no –no to us marketers. A successful social-media campaign requires engagement and dialogue with your audience, and that doesn’t mean one or two “updates” a week. It means participating in discussions, engaging with your audience and humanising your brand. This is what builds brand loyalty, authority and credibility.

Too many people think that they can start a Facebook and Twitter page and get free marketing. To be effective, social media requires strategic planning and dedicated resources. Unless you have the time and effort to put into it, it may be best to outsource or get a professional in.