Social media is a great way for your brand to connect with your audience in real time. Before you go all in, however, it’s important to define a strategy — including do’s and don’ts — so that your company uses these channels wisely and doesn’t end up in hot water.
For example, perhaps it doesn’t make sense to be active on every platform — maybe your customers prefer to use LinkedIn over Snapchat. Be sure to also have a strong focus on the type of content you’re posting, as spamming your followers with irrelevant or repetitive messaging could make them want to unfollow your channels for good.
Below, nine agency executives from Forbes Agency Council discuss what social media pitfalls to avoid when having an active presence on these platforms.
1. Having A Presence On Every Platform
Not every social media platform is the right fit for every brand or company. Instead of trying to be everywhere at all times, focus on the platforms that make the most sense for you. Is Instagram really necessary for your B2B business? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe Medium is more worth your time because your data proves that long-form content generates more leads for you than anything else. –Rebekah Iliff, AirPR
2. Jumping Into A Trending Conversation Without Doing Your Homework
There have been so many mistakes made with real-time response. Brands try to capture share of voice during a major event or cultural moment (like the Oscars or Grammys) without having all the information, which has resulted in dozens of cases of mistaken identity, jokes in poor taste and misinterpretation of historical facts. In order to make real-time response work, you still need to do your planning and research. – Erin Allsman, Brownstein Group
3. Auto-Posting During Times Of Crisis
Brands that auto-post to Twitter, Facebook, etc. when tragedy strikes look at best, slightly inept, and at worst, completely insensitive and out of touch. This will completely undermine the brand’s efforts to appear transparent, engaging and human. – Evan Shumeyko, OgilvyOne Worldwide
4. Getting Defensive Or Argumentative
Social media is not a place to be defensive, regardless of how nasty, rude or unfair a customer may seem. Unfortunately, too many brands get defensive in response to a critical review or when someone posts something that could be read by others as disparaging. The problem is that being defensive can quickly exacerbate an issue, while the goal should be to quickly diffuse an unhappy customer. –Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com
5. Posting Irrelevant Content
Stop posting content for the sake of posting content. Make sure that your social content is relevant to your audience. If posts don’t contain valuable and engaging content, then it’s not social. “Social” media should encourage conversation with people. If it’s not relevant to your brand and valuable to your audience, don’t post it. – Michael Mogill, Crisp Video Group
6. Buying Your Social Community
A high follower count or a lot of Facebook likes may seem like a great first impression, but just as most things are, the quality of your followers should always take priority. Rather than trying to inflate your numbers, it’s always in your best interest to attract a community of followers that will actively engage with your brand and become valuable marketing influencers. – Phil Laboon, Eyeflow LLC
7. Lacking Authenticity
The best brands in the world are authentic in their tone and presence. This extends to their social media channels. They stay aligned to their mission and what makes them unique. A big social media “no no” today is when brands try to be everything to everyone: they lose their voice, identity and purpose, simply to drive more revenue and convert. Lead by connection and you’ll always win. – Michael Gaizutis, RNO1
8. Shamelessly Self-Promoting
Campaigns cannot rest on touting benefits or sharing sale and special event information only. Consumers like pages with useful and entertaining content. Engage your audience in a way that is naturally aligned with your brand: celebrate special days, provide tips, share funny memes, etc., then occasionally drop a promo. – Bernadette Coleman, Advice Local
9. Not Focusing
Have a social media marketing strategy in place to effectively deliver messages. Without one in place, communications appear disjointed and confused. Have a distinct voice, measurable goals and a publication calendar. A clear, delineated strategy puts you on the path to offering useful, engaging content that is sticky and memorable without posting blindly and curtailing your brand capital. – Jenna Gross, Moving Targets