Being too salesy is the number one mistake that businesses make on social media. Sure, you can include product images on your pages and tell your followers about special deals or promotions, but that shouldn’t be the bulk of your posts. Following the 80-20 rule (where 80% of your posts are about other things and 20% of your posts are about your own business) is a great way to ensure that your social media pages don’t become overly sales-oriented.
2. Ignoring Followers
Social media is intended to be, well… social. Followers expect authentic interaction, which means that ignoring comments, messages, and reviews definitely won’t endear you to your followers. Don’t use social media as just another place to publish your own content without expecting to engage followers in conversations, whether good or bad. Remember that thanking a follower for saying something nice is just as important as addressing a complaint or concern.
3. Fake Reviews
People rely on the reviews posted on Facebook and the brand buzz on Twitter and other social platforms to get a sense of who a business is and how their products/services stack up to the competition. But faking these reviews is a serious social media sin (and potentially also illegal depending on where your business is located)! Never pay, persuade, or otherwise incentivize people to leave a positive review of your business online. Doing so will compromise the integrity of your brand and can result in a lot of lost sales.
4. Trying Too Hard
Some businesses are more hip and fun than others, and that’s okay! Don’t try to be something that you’re not on social media just to jazz up your brand. Be authentic and true to your own brand image in your communications on social media without worrying whether you’re going to sound cool enough.
5. Inconsistent Brand Voice
Regardless of what your brand identity is, just stick with it! Use one brand voice for all your posts and responses no matter who is responsible for posting it. This means that if you have an in-house team handling your social media or you’re outsourcing it to an agency, that you really need to have brand guidelines in place to shape your efforts. The goal is to provide a seamless brand experience between your website, social media pages, emails, and other marketing efforts. This unified front is reassuring to consumers, which means it helps to encourage brand loyalty and advocacy.
6. Taking Too Long to Respond
The nature of social media is that it’s fast-paced with real-time interactions. That means that you shouldn’t take too long to respond to people. Integrate a feedback loop that enables marketers or social media managers at your company or agency to respond on behalf of your business without requiring approval or response editing. In short, equip the people responsible for your social media to take full ownership to speed up response time.
7. Fame Piggybacking
Using trending hashtags or weighing in on popular topics on social media may seem like a good idea to get more publicity, but it’s not! Inserting your brand into a conversation where it doesn’t belong is viewed as intrusive and off-putting to social media users. Stick to the conversations where your business logically has a place and really focus on delighting followers with what you do and say there.
8. Taking Criticism Personally
Ideally, people would only say nice things about your business. However, this isn’t a realistic expectation. There will always be people that say unkind things about your products or services, but you can’t take them personally. Instead, respond professionally offering to right the wrong they’ve experienced or look into and address their concerns. Then just let go of it. You can’t please everyone, and internalizing everything that you see on social media about your business isn’t healthy.
9. Being Unprofessional
In the same vein as the last post, you should never attack anyone who posts anything negative about your business or give our personal information about customers who leave less than stellar reviews. While the details of their transaction or their experience at your business may be relevant and help you back up your case that someone is just being unfair or saying things that aren’t truthful, it’s not professional to share these specifics. Just apologize or address the situation objectively and then put it behind you. You can take solace in knowing that every business has detractors and your target audience can overlook a few negative comments (in fact, they may want to see them to ensure that the things people are saying about your business are actually real).
10. Posting Too Often
Posting too often annoys followers and can cause you to lose fans, which is why it’s so important to reign in your exuberance when it comes to posting.
11. Not Posting Often Enough
On the other end of the spectrum, not posting often enough is equally bad. Sometimes I work with business owners who justify their lack of commitment to social media by saying that there’s no one engaging with their pages, so they really don’t need to post very often. However, this is a self-fulfilling prophecy because if people see that your business hasn’t posted in months, then they’re much less likely to try to engage on social media. In essence, not posting enough drives people away because they assume that you don’t check the accounts very often or that they’ve been abandoned.
12. Unoriginal Content
Including links to other people’s articles, memes, etc. is great in moderation, but they shouldn’t make up all of your content. You need to include some original content as well to keep followers engaged and help to achieve your business goals.
13. Overusing Hashtags and Tags
Posts that are just all hashtags or that just tag a bunch of other pages come off as spammy and annoying. Use hashtags and link to other pages sparingly to create emphasis when you do use them.
14. Poor Quality Images
People love seeing visual content on social media, but simply including crummy looking pictures because you think you should have them doesn’t benefit anyone. Only use images where appropriate, and make sure that they render well when you upload them. Keep in mind that different platforms will support different specs, so a picture that looks great in one location may need to be altered to fit a different platform.
15. Not Understanding the Platform
Each social media platform attracts a slightly different audience, which means that what works well on one platform may not be very effective if you just migrate it to another platform. Experiment to figure out which strategy works best on which platform, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are plenty of marketing agencies that have lots of experience tailoring approaches for various social platforms.
Need help with your social media platforms? We’d love to chat about how social media can help you achieve your business goals! Contact us today for a free, no obligation, consult!
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Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Business Blogging and Web Copywriting. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and son and enjoys cooking, watching sports, and spending time together as a family. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about current marketing trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!