You’ve been told time and time again, every company needs a social media presence. Social media is the most popular online activity, it’s free, and it’s here to stay. In fact, a recent survey found that 90 percent of businesses use social media in some form. With sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google Plus, businesses can build relationships with customers, increase sales, and improve their brand’s identity.
However, simply having a handful of social media accounts doesn’t guarantee success. Sending out a few tweets and sporadically posting on the company’s Facebook page isn’t going to make a company more profitable or help it stand out from the crowd, either. You don’t have to be a social guru, or spend chunks of your budget on your social strategy- all you have to do is avoid the classic pitfalls that many companies fall into. Below, we provide the 8 fatal pitfalls to avoid within your social media strategy:
Not Having a Plan
Only one in eight companies have a developed social media plan. Consumers are constantly flooded with disorganized information, promotions, and messages. A business may have impressive content, but without a plan, its posts may get lost in the clutter. In order to cut through the chaos and effectively deliver a message, a business needs to have measurable goals, a clear social media policy, a planned content calendar, and a defined company voice. Try using social media scheduling sites like Buffer or HootSuite to keep your content distribution consistent within both its messaging and its scheduling.
Not Linking Digital Marketing Efforts
Some businesses make the mistake of keeping their social media accounts separate from each other and from other online marketing efforts. This makes the sites harder to find and consumers aren’t going to spend much time searching. In order to have the maximum amount of reach, accounts should be tied together and linked to company websites and paid search advertising campaigns.
Not Putting Thought Into the Bio
On many social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, the description of the company is the first thing people see. Within your bio, it’s important to include a URL that links to your brand’s main site. Additionally, you should provide a creative and descriptive bio that explains what your brand does and gives a good reason to follow or like your page. You only have a few short lines to make an impression and encourage the consumer to take action.
Not Using Images
Consumers don’t want to spend their free time reading massive blocks of text. Even a short post without an image can easily go unnoticed. In fact, tweets including an image drive 200 percent more engagement than tweets without images. Similarly, on Facebook, posts with photos get more likes, comments, and 50 percent more impressions than plain text posts. Not only should a business use images, they should use colorful images that are visually stimulating. If a business is displaying a product, it should be shown in action. For example, if a company sells T-shirts, instead of showing a shirt on a table, they should show someone wearing it. If a company sells food, it should be shown ready to eat instead of behind the glass of a display case.
Not Leveraging Hashtags
Using hashtags can double engagement and help businesses to insert themselves into relevant conversations and trending topics. Finding a target audience or new followers can be as easy as choosing the right hashtag or creating a hashtag campaign.
Businesses can also piggyback on popular hashtags to have a larger reach and a more personal connection but it is important to avoid using unrelated hashtags simply to get noticed. Cramming into random conversations and using hashtags unrelated to the business can look like spam to consumers.
Home Depot posted a great image in this Instagram post but the 12 hashtags are a little much.
To practice healthy hashtagging, companies should limit the number of hashtags to one or two and come up with the most relevant tags that will help attract the right audience.
Not Using a Uniform Voice
Businesses should have a voice that reflects their brand. Your brand voice should be consistent for all of the brand’s marketing channels, and be definitively related to the message or product that you are looking to deliver. Is your brand sexy and cool, family-friendly and fun, affordable and basic, or upscale and smart? Are you snarky or neutral in your industry analyses? Whatever the voice is, a company’s words and visuals should be the tone of their brand.
Not Interacting with Fans or Followers
According to LiveOps, 85 percent of consumers feel that how a brand handles issues on its website or social media channels is a good indicator of its quality of support. However, data from evolve24 shows that only 29 percent out of 1,298 consumers who publicly complained to a company via Twitter received a response back. This data would imply that many brands are falling into this pitfall, and not taking consumer complaints seriously on social media. Social media has quickly become one of the most popular ways to reach a company or business, and yet at the same time, tweets and posts are going unanswered.
The quality of a company’s customer service across all of its social platforms is vital for a positive brand reputation. Satisfaction rates will be low if customers’ concerns are ignored. Papa Johns does a great job at responding to customer’s questions and complaints and is recognized for their customer service.
Treating All Social Media Platforms the Same
Every social media website has its own audience, customs, and language, and it’s important to know how people communicate on a certain network. If a company blasts the same message across all platforms, it comes across as fake and spam-like. Additionally, your message may not be optimized on one social network if it was intended for another: Facebook has been known to punish posts that include hashtags, as a direct strategy of detracting people from posting the same message to its platform as on its competitor Twitter’s (Facebook has a whole list of “posting don’ts” that you can browse through here). Businesses need to make an effort to understand the ins and outs of each individual channel in order to adapt their message to each platform and make a more personal connection.
Maintaining a strong social media practice is essential for a company’s success. By avoiding these social media pitfalls, there will be less need for damage control and more time for reaching out to potential customers, interacting with current fans, and increasing sales.