Over the years there have been plenty of examples illustrating tweets or status updates that should have been given a little more thought. Even if there is functionality in place to take a step back and remove tweets or other posts that were quickly identified as bad ideas, someone out there is always ready to take a screen capture of the evidence. If you’re in charge of posting for your company, it’s always a good idea to have a second set of eyes review any important posts prior to making them live.
Whether you’re a brand or an individual, a bad post can be damaging to your professional and personal image. Here are five things to avoid doing when using your social media accounts.
Society loves watching a metaphorical train wreck or car accident take place online, but engaging in a social media argument with a legitimate complainant, or falling prey to an internet troll, can be damaging to your brand. Arguing publicly with customers, whether they’re real or not, serves no one and diminishes your brand reputation.
The best resolution when situations like this arise is to always maintain composure, offer great customer service, and work to solve the issue. Other customers will recognize your efforts and place value on your brand, but engaging in a “fight” should be avoided at all costs.
Ignoring Your Followers
Social media is all about engaging your brand’s followers and community, so when you ignore them you’re essentially killing your social networking efforts. Whether your followers are happy or upset, it’s important to listen, and respond to them in constructive and helpful ways. Even if you aren’t able to respond to all requests, issues, or comments immediately, customers will appreciate your engagement and other followers will take note of your brand’s willingness to communicate. Not communicating, and ignoring feedback, can lead to damaging your brand and losing followers.
Failing to Proofread
It may seem like a no brainer, but proofreading your posts before they go live is never a bad idea. There are certain instances where intentional misspelling and short forms are accepted, such as a platform like Twitter where characters are limited, but building trust requires professional communication. If your posts have poor grammar and bad spelling, your online presence and brand image could take a hit, and your social community will definitely take note of your mistakes. You wouldn’t let a press release go out riddled with errors – why accept sub-par social media posts?
Keeping up with your social profiles and creating rich content is an important part of brand building, but how do you know when you’re over-posting? A good test is to put yourself in the shoes of your audience and consider how often you’d like to receive content from a brand that you engage with.
Scheduling posts to follow a regular interval is an industry best practice, but even if this isn’t part of your marketing plan, it’s important to realize when you’re overdoing it. Posting endlessly all day long or even every day, depending on your brand, can often be too much for your followers. There is a certain point where you risk taking on the role of a spammer and damaging your brand credibility and image, particularly if you’re posting unoriginal content, or content that is only loosely related to your brand.
Going Hashtag Crazy
Although it may be somewhat trendy, or an inside joke between friends to overuse hashtags, or create excessively long ones, it’s important to understand the effect inside jokes have on the general public. Essentially, they don’t translate well. There’s no denying that hashtags are an important part of social media and ad campaigns, but properly controlling their usage in your posts is just as important. Over using hashtags, using irrelevant hashtags, or #creatinghashtagsthatarefartoolong can be annoying to your followers and brand advocates. Limiting your hashtag usage to relevant campaign and brand hashtags makes it easy for your followers to decide which ones they’re going to use.
Communicating with your followers and brand advocates through social media should be viewed like any other medium through which professional communications are transmitted. Using common sense when reviewing and making posts to any social media outlet is essential to ensuring your brand’s health and reputation. Social media is a great venue to highlight your brand’s personality and foster it through responding to inquiries and addressing issues. Through social media, you have the chance to humanize your brand, and in doing so provide opportunities for your social media audience to connect with it. When people connect with your brand on a personal level, they essentially become brand advocates, which is the pinnacle of what marketers strive to accomplish with their target audience.
Has your company made any social media faux pas in the past, or have you seen any that have been unforgettable?
Let us know in the comments below.
About the Author: Dan Steiner is a technology entrepreneur, author, and marketing consultant. He is currently serves as CEO of security firm Online Virus Repair Inc., while also running Avila Web Firm, a web design and internet marketing agency based out of San Luis Obispo, California. Additionally, he is as an active mentor and volunteer at startup events throughout region. Get more from Dan on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.