Social media provides brands with a unique opportunity to communicate with their audience. Anyone who works in social media is aware of the enormous array of benefits that can be gained from utilising social channels. However, managers and content creators must also remain vigilant to the numerous mistakes which can undermine a brand. Many brands are making the same errors when it comes to social media marketing – are you one of them?
To help you avoid these pitfalls we’ve compiled this list of what we think are the 5 most common mistakes brands are making in social media:
1. Not Having a Plan
Social media, along with any marketing activity, needs to have a plan. Your social media plan needs to be aligned with your wider marketing strategy in order to create a fully integrated campaign. This aligns your brand communications, allowing you to measure the success and performance of each channel in regard to your overall objectives.
Keeping up with the constant increase in social platforms whilst staying active in your existing profiles can be a time consuming and difficult task. But consistency across your social channels is key, from how regularly you Tweet to how you address your customers on Facebook. This is what solidifies your social presence, conveys your personality and communicates your core values to your audience. To this end, it’s important not to vary too much across the platforms you choose to engage in or be inactive in one whilst you post daily in another. This can lead to alienating a section of your audience and reducing your social influence.
The idea of brands being transparent and authentic is not new or innovative. Social media doesn’t just make it easier for customers to see when brands are being dishonest – it gives them the power to say something back. If a customer isn’t satisfied or if your brand doesn’t meet their expectations, customers can complain and you are expected to respond. Unlike traditional channels, by using social media, both the complaint and response can spread one-to-one or one-to-many in an immediate and far reaching way. The immediacy and reach makes it the perfect channel to expose brands which are not being honest. This allows one dissatisfied customer to communicate with a network of potential customers, letting them know that you’re doing something wrong and you’re not doing anything to remedy it.
Treating social media like any other media channel is a dangerous mistake to make. Rather than joining and engaging in direct and personal conversation, a huge number of brands use social media as a broadcasting tool in the same way that they use traditional media. Yes, social media is a conversation starter, but acting in this way denies the essential component of social media – feedback and dialogue. Using it in this way is effectively shouting at your audience rather than aiming to interact with them through relevant hashtags and seeking out conversations which are meaningful to them. Acting in this way can make your audience lose interest and prevents you from creating a meaningful and lasting relationship which ultimately enables you to gain priceless consumer insight into their behaviours and preferences.
The value of social media lies in relationship creation rather than product promotion. Your audience is aware that any brand entering into social media has an ulterior motive and they expect to be rewarded for entering into a dialogue with them. Competitions, giveaways and discounts have become the trend as a way of moving away from direct promotion whilst providing the audience with a benefit that involves the brand. However, this overt method is becoming too common and less appealing. To truly engage your audience you need to focus on interesting content, as people need to be engaging with you for a reason – because of the experience not just because you’re bombarding them with a sales message or because they want a 10% discount.
There are hundreds of examples of social media gone wrong, and whilst these mistakes aren’t necessarily large scale ‘fails’, they devalue your social presence and weaken your brand. What mistakes have you seen trending?