Any smart business owner knows social media can build your company’s brand, increase networking, and sales. But many people don’t realize how fragile their business’s social media structure can be. If managed correctly, it can take your company to the next level. When mismanaged, however, one slip-up is all it takes to do irreparable damage to the reputation of even the biggest corporations. Fortunately for you, other companies have already made big mistakes from which we can learn from. Here are the four most common, preventable social media mistakes that could potentially destroy your business.
1) Not having a definite social media strategy
Posting content online at regular intervals is one thing and saturating your target audience with an overabundance of posts, tweets, status updates etc. can definitely put them off. This is where you need to define a social media strategy that works in-sync with your brand and business.
Get started on building a clear social media strategy by starting with the following pointers:
• Thorough research and knowledge about your target audience, their interests and needs.
• Find out which social media platforms are suitable for your business and which ones are frequented by your target audience the most? Don’t focus on just one channel.
• Know how to make the most of your social media platforms. What may work on Twitter won’t work for your target audience on Facebook. Again, the things that will get their attention on Instagram may not work in your favor on Pinterest and so on and so forth.
• Make sure that you know your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) as they will be vital in helping you inch towards your social media goals.
• Know when to schedule your posts. For this, create a comprehensive calendar and make it a point to post content when your target audience is most likely to view them and interact.
• Hire someone to handle your company’s social media accounts. No one likes to talk to a robot. They want to interact with your brand/business in real time, especially when they have a question and want a quick response.
• Analyze your strategy from time to time and make changes if the need arises.
All these pointers will lead you to have a social media strategy that will ultimately work in the favor of your business/brand.
2) Not responding to the target audience on time
The crux of having a social media presence is to engage with your target audience on a one-on-one basis. Whether it is handling their complaints, answering common questions, or even replying to comments posted to your business’s profile/page, you need to respond almost immediately.
A timely response to your target audience or customers will always help if you’re getting a lot of flak from them or when you need to negate rumors. A late response of any unacknowledged response can be taken as a negative response and could damage your business’s image in the long run.
Basically, your target audience should feel that they can easily reach out to you 24×7 and are not answered by a robot. This will open the channels of user-engagement and also lead to building a trusting relationship with your customers.
This takes us to the next point.
3) Not gaining the trust and confidence of your target audience
There is nothing wrong in thinking of social media platforms as tools to sell your business. But in the pursuit of increasing your business’s or brand’s visibility, you shouldn’t overlook the fact that it is after all, a platform, where you can directly interact and engage with the target audience. Therefore, it’s important to gain trust and build the confidence of your target audience before they start interacting and engaging with your business or brand. Here are some of the ways you can go about it:
• Nothing works better than content when you want to build trust on virtual platforms. Use the 80/20 rule, which is to ensure that about 80% of your content should consist of engaging and informative posts, which your target audience wants to need whereas 20% of the posts could be more promotional.
• With too much noise and information overload in the digital space, even the best of the marketing efforts can go in vain. This is where social media influencers enter the scene. These expert, well-connected individuals can help spread the word about your brand and business, leading to a win-win situation. They can be thought leaders, bloggers, industry experts, celebrities, social celebrities and brand advocates, who can help you link with and build relationships with a wider audience.
• Embrace transparency. We have already talked about handling customer complaints and queries. Apart from this, you can look forward to greater transparency by maybe uploading a video of ‘a day in your workspace’ or time lapse videos related to an interesting process or even interesting mockumentaries that make people laugh and at the same time, let them know what your business is all about.
4) Not making the most of trending topics
Breaking news headlines, pop culture or plain silly things that we think about, anything can become the trending topic on social media. Trending topics are searched by your existing and potential target audience worldwide and drive traffic to your social media profile(s). This step also leads to an increase in the number of views, shares, likes, clicks and even conversions.
Aligning yourself to trending topics is all about posting the right thing and at the right time to cash-in on the opportunities abundant on social media. Not doing so can inevitably lead to your brand or business lagging behind competition as it won’t get as much visibility on the social media space.
Here is how you can make the most of trending topics on social media platforms:
• Stepping up the trending topic game. It is true that trends are not easy to anticipate, at least in advance. However, it is not impossible either. Start by thinking of all upcoming events, special days, festivals on an international scale and work on creating the trending topic. For instance, around Valentine’s Day, you can work on topics that speak volumes about the day of love or for Easter you can get people talking about the most unique Easter egg they have made. Alternatively, you could create a topic on the much-discussed “death” of Jon Snow on HBO’s Game of Thrones.
• Using the trends to curate and create content. When you know the trending topics on social media channels, you can either jump in the conversations or use them to create and curate content to be posted on your business’s profile. When you create content that revolves around recent trends, you can definitely attract views and generate more engagement on the profile.
Make sure that the content you generate provides a fodder for thought for your target audience or simply entertains them. To make your task easier, you can take the help of a number of tools available especially for this purpose.
• Checking posts on sensitive topics. Never make the fatal mistake of capitalizing on sensitive topics just to draw attention to a Tweet or Facebook post. You never know when things can spiral out of order and lead to a controversy. Things like this tends to give your business a bad reputation and once it goes viral, there is nothing you can do about it and many a times, even public apology can’t undo the damage to your business’s repute.
Focusing on these essential social media mistakes will work in your favor when you want to take your business to new heights. Learn from them and create a stellar social media plan, which will definitely give your business or brand the required push.
What is your take on social media faux pas committed by businesses? Have a first-hand experience you want to share with us? We are all ears!