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6 Common Mistakes Brands Make on Social Media

Thursday - January 16th, 2014

Written by: Tristan Pelligrino

6 Common Mistakes Brands Make on Social Media

By now, social media marketing should be a critical component of your brand’s online marketing strategy. While social media is widely used by brands to connect with customers, many brands are still making a few common errors that can deter customers from continuing to follow them and can even seriously damage their reputation. To ensure the success of your social media marketing campaign, avoid these six common mistakes.

1. Selling Rather Than Engaging
One of the most common mistakes that brands make on social media is simply using this platform incorrectly. To properly use social media, your brand needs to engage with customers instead of trying to sell to them. This is because social media networks are primarily intended for connection, not marketing. If you only post about your products and services, your customers will see your brand as narcissistic and are likely to simply stop following you. Experts suggest sticking to the 80-20 rule, which means that 80% of your social media posts should deal with customer concerns and 20% should be about your brand and what it offers.

2. Failing to Humanize Your Brand
Another major problem for brands on social media is creating a personality. Failing to humanize your brand will alienate your audience and prevent you from creating a connection. Remember that the purpose of social media is interaction between humans. By imbuing your brand with personality and human qualities, you will be able to actually form relationships with customers via social media.

3. Using All Social Networks the Same Way
All social networks are not created equal. Each network has its own individual purpose and idiosyncrasies; for example, Twitter is designed for short and sweet messages, while Google+ offers the opportunity to post lengthier content. If your brand posts the same messages across social networks, not only are you failing to use each network properly, but you are also projecting a spammy, impersonal image.

4. Overdoing or Under-doing It
The key to proper social media use is to create a balance between overdoing it and under-doing it. If your brand posts too often, you will be faced with followers un-following and un-liking you. If your brand does not post often enough, you will get lost in the crowd. Experts suggest that posting several times per day is a happy medium. Remember to keep your messages concise; social media was designed for brevity.

5. Responding Insensitively to Sensitive Situations
Another mistake than many brands make on social media is making insensitive posts in light of very sensitive situations. For example, Kenneth Cole posted a tweet capitalizing on the 2011 protests in Egypt that was met with harsh criticism. Epicurious made a similar mistake during the Boston Marathon bombings, and they too faced a backlash.

6. Ignoring Customer Complaints
Finally, when you create social media profiles for your brand, you are inviting customers to voice their concerns and complaints. Whether or not you provide customer service through social media, customers have come to expect it. When customers complain through social channels, never ignore or delete the posts. Respond promptly to avoid a public outcry against your brand.

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