Social media has become a necessary part of doing business online, but companies need to plan ahead and properly maintain these accounts to ensure that they are taking steps forward rather than backward. Certain errors have become increasingly frequent, but many of these can fortunately be avoided with simple maintenance, basic planning and a little bit of creativity. Here are five common social media mistakes that can negatively affect businesses of all sizes:
- Lack of personality — The consumers you are trying to reach often use platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram as an entertaining diversion. Thus, it is important for companies to make sure that posts have an element of fun that compels people to share. Your business is not likely to become too popular if you use social media accounts simply as another avenue for hard sells.
- Failing to post — If a consumer wants to know more about your company, one of the first places they may visit after your official website will be your Facebook or Twitter page. If your last post on these accounts was months, or even years ago, they not only question your commitment to social media, they might also conclude that you’re probably not in business anymore.
- Careless automation — Some automated tools have become antiquated SEO techniques that consumers can instantly identify as insincere interactions. Worse yet, a series of blog posts that suddenly appear in a span of minutes can cause many people to hide, unfollow or unlike your page. There are certain web tools out there that can help you manage automated posts more effectively, but mindlessly posting excess material feels like spam and ultimately loses more customers than it gains.
- Signing up for too many platforms — Just because there are accounts available for Google+, Instagram and Pinterest does not mean your company needs to sign up for every one. Again, creating an account that goes unused or underused can be even worse than not having the account at all. Identify the social media platform that best fits your brand and master that before creating more than you can handle. If you need help, do not be afraid to consider hiring a social media management service.
- Mishandling comments or questions — Mismanagement of interactions with users causes all sorts of problems for businesses. There are issues with questions going unanswered, complaints not being responded to and or appearance of a company being selective with which posts it chooses to address. It is important to be consistent in all of these respects, and businesses also need to understand that there are negative consequences to removing or ignoring public complaints. When a consumer takes the time to articulate a concern or negative experience on your company’s page, you want to avoid the standard coupons or discounts with an apology that looks like a bribe.
While there have been many businesses immortalized for social media disasters, there have also been just as many social media accounts that have created thousands of new and loyal fans who regularly interact with the companies. Finding the right combination of planning and pleasure can go a long way in helping make your social media accounts succeed.