Social media marketing is a really great way to build the profile of your business and engage with your customers and potential customers. When you get it right, that is. Like most things in life though, there are some general rules to observe. Here are a few (surprisingly common) pitfalls to avoid:
1. Slag off the competition. Even if your competition is having a bad time, commenting on it will only make you look worse, not them. Resist it at all costs.
2. Insult your customers and potential customers. Directly or indirectly. Last year, Ragu (the sauce people) famously launched a misguided social media campaign around the premise that Dads couldn’t cook. It quickly went viral in the wrong way, instantly alienating half their audience – a recipe for PR disaster!
3. Wander off subject. Remember that your followers are following you for a reason. Keeping on-subject when publishing social media updates is vital to encourage engagement and grow a relevant base of followers. Every time you go off topic, it makes your account less valuable.
4. Attempt to resolve complicated customer service complaints. Using social media to solve customer service issues can be extremely helpful, but not all queries have a one line answer. Unless it’s a question that applies to all your customers and followers, take it offline. It’ll just confuse and cause concern otherwise.
5. Surprise pictures and tagging. Remember that your staff and customers may not be comfortable being in the public eye. Don’t publish photographs of them without their permission. Respect their privacy.
6. Divulge confidential information. Leaking private customer information, such as pricing, business changes or personnel changes can harm relationships and even end up in legal action.
7. Post inaccurate updates. One of the worst things you can do is post an update without first getting all the facts. It makes you look confused, ill prepared and even untrustworthy.
8. Post apathetic updates. Everyone has one of those off days now and then, but you can’t let it show in your social media updates. Don’t just publish for the sake of it. If you’re not excited about your brand, how can you expect anyone else to be?
9. Divulge proprietary company information. This is aimed at social media managers out there. Leaking proprietary information may not upset your network, but it will upset your boss. if in doubt, leave it out.
10. Personal rants. Your social media account is not a personal soapbox on which to rant and rave. You’ll soon turn your audience off.
I hope that’s helpful! Do you have any examples of social media horror stories?
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