With Halloween still in the air, and with the air turning chillier and the leaves falling, thoughts, of course, turn to all things scary. Nothing leaves the hearts of CEO and Managers quite as cold as the thought of making a ‘grave’ social media mistake!
All joking aside, mistakes in social media are common, and without a specific social media plan, prioritizing and having some customer communication savvy, you might run into some cringe-worthy moments that can be deadly for your bottom line.
It’s definitely no treat, and probably not a trick either; when things go wrong with social media it’s often due to mismanagement, poor planning or a lack of foresight. Unfortunately, dealing with the fallout from these mistakes can be akin to Frankenstein’s monster, which once it’s awakened, there’s not much you can do to ‘undo’ the past.
So what are some common mistakes you can make before they come back to haunt you?
When a business pulls a disappearing act on social media, customers can think you’ve gone downhill. They assume the worst, or simply forget you even existed in the first place. Often what actually happens is someone tried to tackle social media without a plan to keep up with it, and other things got in the way.
Don’t ghost your customers and followers. Make it a goal to post at least a few times a week until you get back on track. Rather than stretching yourself too thin, you can cross post to make sure your social media goes further, and you are hitting all of your targets. Set posts on Facebook to automatically share on Instagram, or Twitter. Share your blog posts on LinkedIn, and break down the features of your newsletter into content for posts.
Schedule your posts automatically, and watch your analytics to see what is working and what is speaking to your customers. Remember your customers can be some of your best advocates. Engage with them by re-sharing some of their posts, liking it when they say something about your company (or tag you in a positive post) and address what they’re saying quickly and politely. Let them know you’re still alive and get reanimated!
So, that political joke didn’t go over so well, or asking your customers to tweet a limerick with your business name in it went awry? Eek! This is probably the scariest of social media scenarios, simply because it is not something with a quick fix.
First of all, if there is something riding off the rails, don’t be afraid to delete or take the conversation offline, quickly. Under the anonymity of the Internet, customers can say things more aggressively, and your response might not come across as diplomatically as it could in person.
Avoid social media mistakes by making sure employees have clear guidelines about what, when and how to post. Their own social media should be private, and not accessed at work. You may want to have a policy on what institutional information can and should be shared and what is expected. While you don’t have to micromanage all of your content, keep in mind a disgruntled employee or rogue intern can do quite a bit of damage before you are able to revoke their posting privileges. Always keep the administrative rights to all of your social media.
Lastly, if you didn not listen to your mummy, and talked about something controversial like religion, politics or football teams, change the conversation quickly. Apologize, taking ownership for the mistake, and take the necessary steps to resolve it as fast as possible. Continue to post other engaging items and move on from the fray.
Many companies fall victim to this social media mistake. They take on too much at once, go for quantity over quality and suddenly they can’t manage it or keep up. They lose their audience and engagement.
If you have a robust social media team, then great, post away! If you have to make the most of your limited social media time, however, then try to handpick the options that will give you the most bang for your buck. This might mean sticking with simply Facebook or LinkedIn. You might want to cross-post on one other site, but avoid feeling like you have to post to each and every site. Some may not even make sense for your industry. Writers might not have much to share on Instagram and YouTube. Visual design firms might do great on Instagram, but struggle to come up with witty Tweets.
Instead of driving yourself and your team ‘batty’ trying to tackle every option, limit yourself to one or two. Do them well for a few months, see if you’re managing them properly, and then add another. Go slowly so you don’t get zombie indigestion.
Do you suck the blood or content from others in your industry all the time? Is your social media unique, or is it just constant reposting and shares? Are you draining your customers?
Social media vampires can be a bit compulsive. They share content that is not their own, content that is not very relevant to their industry or audience and post so frequently that readers start to wish they would go back into their coffins. Since they only come out at night, they group their posts together in bursts of ‘too much’ content, spamming the feeds of their followers. Unfortunately, this makes customers run-away and hide.
Pace yourself when it comes to sharing content on social media. You do not have to share everything or post just to post. After 2-3 engaging posts per day, more can seem like overkill. You aren’t reaching any more audience members, and in fact you might be alienating them or wearing them out.
Perhaps your writing ‘voice’ on your posts is inconsistent. One minute you’re all fluffy bunnies and rainbows and the next you are all doom and gloom. Cultivating an image and brand requires consistency, with a steady voice and persona. You want your audience to identify you, relate to your brand and know what to expect. If you change tone or have no consistency with your posts, you might be making your audience feel uncomfortable, or even make them avoid you.
Having strong guidelines and a social media plan will help everyone in your office be sure they adopt the proper tone and ideology whenever they post for the company. Just like you have a greeting when you answer the phone, a signature tagline in your email and a logo for your correspondence and letterhead, you want your medium to convey your message.
Keep your posts and tone consistent and audience focused. Get to know your audience, specifically what they like, and respond to that. Focus on your goals, and get creative.
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