The growing number of “social media” experts providing advice on social media can make this marketing channel a landmine and major accident waiting to happen for many companies. Many organisations have made really bad mistakes on social media channels that have cost them their credibility and worst, their customers and followers. Through research done by Hubspot Marketing, I have complied a list of some of the best advice that I have received about how not to use social media.
1) You need to be on every single social network.
If you have limited time and resources, don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to maintain an active presence on every single social media site. Research and learn about the makeup of the audience that populates each social network so you can figure out where you should focus. If your audience isn’t there, don’t waste your time.
2) Focus on Facebook …
… or LinkedIn … or Twitter … or social network XYZ. Yes, you should want to focus your social media marketing efforts, but at the same time, no single social media site is the Holy Grail. Experiment with a few sites, determine where your audience hangs out, and focus on the few that are the best fit for your company.
3) You don’t need email.
The day Oprah signed up for Twitter and user registration skyrocketed, we didn’t all cancel our email accounts. Social media didn’t make email marketing extinct; it just added another integrated channel to make email even stronger.
4) You can automate all of your updates.
Social media can be time consuming, so the automation of your updates is, of course, appealing. But the tough reality of social media is that it’s all about people talking with people. Automating all your updates (and believe me, people can tell) screams “I don’t care about actually talking to you.”
5) Your customers aren’t using social media, so you don’t need to be there.
Research shows that 69% of adults use social media in developed countries and the number is growing in developing countries. On top of that, there are reasons to get involved in social media aside from communicating with potential or current customers or expanding the reach of your content.
6) The more you publish, and the more sites you’re on, the better.
Simply having a presence on multiple sites and spraying your content as much as possible won’t work. Yes, more content is better because it gives you more valuable social media fodder, but you need to make sure all that content is high quality; otherwise, people will see straight through you.
7) You can outsource your social media.
Social media is a way for you to communicate with your audience, which means it not only needs to be your voice, but the content of the conversations you’re having needs to also be based on your expertise in the industry. Not just anyone can talk about the challenges and trends your customers face.
8) An intern can manage it all for you.
The point is social media is not just some throw-away marketing strategy; it’s a public face of the company. Would you let a college student do an interview on behalf of your company for a TV program? I think not!
9) Don’t get personal.
Social media gives you the opportunity to share a bit more personality than your website may allow. In fact, personality is often what gets you noticed in social media. After all, “People don’t fall in love with colours and logos — they fall in love with people,”
10) Don’t let your employees use social media.
First of all, it’s useless to try to keep your employees from using social media. Even if you block social media sites on their computers, they’ve got their smartphones. Move your office to a dungeon with terrible cell reception, and your employees can still go home and get on those sites in their spare time. Forbid any use of your company name in social media and it shows you don’t trust your staff.
11) Don’t respond to negative comments to protect your brand.
If someone has said something negative about your brand, it’s out there — visible to that person’s network or anyone searching for information about your company. And by not responding to negative comments, a small comment can spiral out of control for lack of attention. Admit mistakes when you need to, and share how you’re going to address any issues.
12) Respond to every negative comment.
Appropriately, “pick your battles wisely.” Beware of people simply trying to capitalize on your visibility by getting you to respond to their comment, or trolls who just want to cause trouble. Know when it’s appropriate to step back instead of adding fuel to the fire.
13) Disable comments altogether to avoid negative comments … or delete negative comments.
Disabling comments is both anti-social and unwise. People will say what they’re going to say, whether you let them do it on your Facebook Page or they have to use their own Facebook Timeline as their platform. And by allowing people to comment on your own turf, you can manage the conversation, monitor comments, and respond to people appropriately.
14) Social media is completely free.
While, yes, there is usually no cost to sign up for a social network. You can’t stop there if you want to achieve true social media marketing success. You need to actually use the site, publish content, and engage with your followers. All of that takes people’s time, which isn’t free. So to be effective in social media, you’ll need to invest in human resources.
15) You can’t measure social media.
When you approach social media — just as when you approach any channel or tactic — you should know what your goal is. Is it new leads? Is it to increase the reach of your content? Is it to reduce customer support calls and complaints? Whatever your goal, measure the progress toward that goal.
16) Fan/follower growth is the most important metric.
Sure, fans and followers are nice, but they don’t actually pay you money or keep you in business. Instead, think about what matters most to your business — leads, customers, etc. — and focus on that as your top priority metric.
17) You should only publish messages about your company.
Here’s the thing….. If you’re only publishing messages about your company — your recent awards, upcoming events, latest product releases — I really don’t care to listen to you. What I do care about are my problems, my challenges, and my interests, so that’s what you should write about.
18) Once you get your Facebook/Twitter/Blog account set up, social media is super easy!
Setting up an account is like buying the ticket to a networking event. You still have to go and talk to people to get any value out of it. You’ll never get results from social media marketing if you won’t put in the time and effort needed to make it successful.
19) You don’t need a strategy for social media.
While you do need to be an agile social media marketer to be prepared for the unexpected, it’s also important to go in with a strategy. More specifically, you should know your goals in regard to your social media efforts — and how you’re going to work to achieve them.
20) You can’t simply ask people to comment, follow, or retweet you.
It may seem too forward to come out and ask someone to take an action in social media, but it actually works. And you don’t get a terrible reaction because what you’re doing is taking someone who already is reading your content, tweets, blog articles, etc. and saying, “Hey, if you like this, why not share it with someone else?”
Adapted from article written by Ellie Mirman in Hubspot Marketing
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