19 Jun 2017

WHAT 'NOT' TO DO WHEN MARKETING ON SOCIAL MEDIA


by Rachel Goodchild

It is all very well learning a few good marketing tips that one can put into practice. Indeed, I don’t think a day goes by that I don't see a large number of useful marketing tips being posted online. I have also noticed, however, that although people can pick up a good tip here and there, they may also continue to make some basic errors in their use of social media platforms. For this reason, I thought it might be helpful to learn about some things that we should NOT be doing when marketing on social media for business. 


1). Don't…neglect your profile
This is the first stop for potential customers, and yet you would be surprised how many companies still get this wrong. Your profile will be viewed, as will your stream, as the first point of contact. How does it look? It is clear what you do? Is it clear what you are offering? How does your stream look? This is the one moment that someone will decide whether to join or leave your stream. Therefore, it is vital that your profile is enticing and clear, and that your stream has a good mix of interaction and interesting information. 

Think…this is my first chance to entice


2). Don't…ask people to follow you

Obsessing over how many followers you have on social media is a big mistake. Many companies think that follower numbers will translate into sales. If you were to focus on the followers you already have, value them, listen to them and converse with them, you will eventually gain the right followers, ones who are interested in what you have to offer. Therefore, making them far more valuable. 

Think…quality, not quantity with your followers


3). Don't…be ego driven

Just because you have a business this does not mean you are better than your followers. Always think of yourself as an equal to the people who follow you. You are not there just to dictate, but there to build friendship, trust and connections. 

Think…we are all equals on social media


4). Don't…forget to respond to your @mentions

I see so many companies neglecting to interact with people who mention them on social media. Always acknowledge people if they have taken the time to mention you.  It won’t take long just to say thank you, or retweet their mention. Kindness will go a long way. 

Think…take time to respond to @mentions


5). Don't…neglect to respond to negative comments

Never delete, ignore or block someone for commenting on your stream. They may well have a good point, but for you to block someone is a rather cowardly move in social media etiquette. You will be seen as someone that wants to remove anything you can’t control. An open discussion that is seen to be resolved publically can only do wonders for your business, gain trust from others and increase your reputation as an understanding company.   

Think…always resolve a negative comment


6). Don't…make your tweets too long

Many companies work hard to fill their posts on Twitter, making sure to fit in the allotted 140 characters per tweet. However, 140 characters in a post on Twitter are too long. If you can make it under 100 characters, you will get a much higher engagement rate, as people will be able to retweet, reply and mention to others. 

Think…keep tweets fewer than 100 characters


7). Don't…put medium before message

I often see pages on social media with companies pontificating information, such as  “come to our concert”  “buy our product”, etc. Remember that your medium is only the vehicle that you use, but your message is what you are going to say. Before you post, think to yourself, ‘what can I say to make this interesting’?  ‘What is in it for the audience’? And, ‘How can I make this into a story people will want to engage with?  

Think…think of an angle for each message


8). Don't…sit back and wait for followers

Some companies build their social media platforms, then sit back and wait for followers. This is an error I see almost everyday, and yet when people see they are not getting the responses they expect, they continue to post shout out tweets with no consideration for anyone else or what they are saying. If you are not interested in what anyone else is saying, why do you think they would be interested in you?   

Think…Listen to others


9). Don't…set up automated Direct Messages

My pet hate is the automated DMs that companies send after you follow them. If you can’t be bothered to respond personally, I wouldn’t bother at all. Getting a robot message from a company is just a way to show others that you treat everyone like a number. Why not try to respond personally, and watch your engagements rise. 
  
Think…I will not be a robot


10). Don't…pay for followers

If you think social media is all about follower numbers, you may well have considered paying for followers. You may find that paying for short cuts could end up costing you more time in the long run as you could end up with the wrong kind of followers. There are companies that will promise you a certain number of followers in a short space of time, but be forewarned, as they will often use spam-like tactics to get more traffic. These could be others who, just like you, are only interested in numbers with no intention of interacting. Followers like this will add no value to your social media streams and they won’t be interested in reading what you post. Many of your real followers, will however, be able to tell that the bulk of your followers are fake, and may decide to unfollow.  

Think…I will gain followers by creating interesting content


11). Don't…post too often

If you have followers it will be because they like what you offer, or what you make. But the one way to encourage followers to lose interest in you is to publish too many posts therefore creating spamming-like streams. Before you post a message, ask yourself: ‘is this interesting?’ ‘Is it worth posting?’ or ‘have I said this before?’  

Think…Quality not quantity when creating content


12). Don't…think of social media simply as free advertising

Many companies use social media as a free advertising channel. Although in many ways it is, you must remember not to approach it in the same way you would traditional advertising. If you do, you will just waste time and not gain results. Instead, you need to think more of winning people over by who you are and how you put your message across. When you do start to gain followers, you will know it will be because they are interested in what you have to offer, which will mean, they are far more likely to be potential customers in the future.   

Think…Create posts people want to engage with


13). Don't…send the same message through multiple channels

There is nothing worse than seeing a twitter message being shared on a Facebook page. Here the Twitter hash tags will look out of place and the shortness of the message will suddenly look strange on the Facebook platform that allows for longer posts. In the same respect, seeing endless posts on Twitter telling people you have just posted a photo onto Facebook is, quite frankly, boring. What people don't always appreciate is that each of the social media platforms will offer you something quite different. If you take the time to use each platform to its own strength you will, in the end, gain a much wider audience.   

Think…Create content for each platform depending on its strength


14). Don't…post at the wrong times

People forget that social media channels are fast moving, so if you are going to post content, your timing is critical. Even if you have created great content, if you post it at a time when your particular market may not be online, your post will pass by quickly unseen. This is why it is important that you know your target audience and when they are most likely to be online. For example, if you happen to be selling to mothers with young children, you would need to avoid times such as, school run, supper and bath time etc.  

Think…Post when my target audience is online


15). Don't…be too self-centered

I often see people whose content revolves entirely around themselves. They talk of how great they are, or their next event or latest product. This makes for a dull stream and is a great way to scare off your followers and guarantee no interaction. You need to make sure you are a giver, and not just a taker. If this is what you are doing, you are basically the person at a party that just stands in the corner and talks about themselves all evening. We all know how dull a person like this can be and we usually try to avoid them. The same thing will happen on social media.  

Think…I am here to build friendship, trust and connections


16). Don't…put selling before connecting

Another great way to lose followers whilst also prevent others from following you is to sell your product or your service through every single tweet, Facebook post or blog post. If you are doing this, you are completely misunderstanding how social media works. Always think of connections first. Successful sales will follow after trust has been gained via online connections. People do not join social media to be besieged with sales pitches and posts about how great you are.  

Think…Do not just sell


17). Don't…choose the wrong person to be your voice online

It is easy to spot a company that has given the job of running the social media accounts to a junior. Although a junior may well know how to use social media channels, they can sometimes lack the knowledge, communication skills or passion for the product or service they are meant to be promoting. They also need to have the skills and etiquette in order to nurture people and deal with complaints. All of these could be potentially damaging to your company if handled in the wrong way.  

Think…Who is the most knowledgeable person to be the voice of our company 


18). Don't…ignore your community

The omission to listen to, or connect with your followers could eventually harm your success. Social media is fast becoming the first port of call for a means of communication for brands and consumers. You can’t afford to ignore, but instead you must invest more time in this area. A fast response to a query and an open resolution to an unhappy customer will do your company wonders!   

Think…Always respond, never ignore


19). Don't…forget to interact

Companies will often publish new posts on social media and yet neglect to interact with any comments people then may make on those posts. When people take the time to comment on your posts, at least you can take time to respond. Interaction is the foundation of social media and will be a great way for you to show people you have interesting things to say and care about other people’s opinions.   

Think…Take time to respond to comments


20). Don’t…forget your call to action

If you feel disappointed by the lack of response or a very low amount of people visiting your website after a post on social media it may be because you just added a post without any call to action. A good call to action will invite the reader to take the next step after they have read your post or seen your image on Pinterest or Instagram. If the content is interesting, informative or funny, they will follow through to the next stage, which may well be to buy a product, a service or a concert ticket.   

Think…Do I have a call to action


Remember that social media is a platform that allows you to create, share and exchange information. Without interaction, people won’t be interested, but with passion, participation and interaction, you will attract people’s interest. You must not think that social media is just a way to let people know that you exist, but that it is also a way for you to get to know the them. It should be a two way process, and believe me, you will learn more than you think by getting to know others. If carried out correctly, you will also make good business contacts, which will lead to sales, plus you will also make some great friends along the way.

Rachel Goodchild runs a series of is a Design and Marketing workshops called 'The Art of' Workshops. For more information, please click here.

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