Social media is one of the greatest new tools to emerge for marketing in decades. Used correctly, businesses and marketing agencies can harness its power to engage with millions of potential customers. But if you get it wrong, even accidentally, you’d better believe that you’ll hear about it, and so will millions of others—potentially causing irreparable harm to your brand. Here are four key social media blunders to avoid.
- Never get drawn into trading insults with a customer. This is the big one for any small or big brand. If a customer disparages your business – especially if it’s a small or family-run business – then it’s easy to take it personally. If your version of events differs from that of an unhappy customer then you might want to set the record straight with a public post, but it’s almost always a mistake to take it any further than that. A protracted and heated exchange with a customer on social media never reflects well on the company, even if they’re initially in the right.
- Avoid clickbait posts. There’s a good reason why clickbait posts go viral: it’s because they work. But that doesn’t make them a good way to appeal to potential customers or encourage good engagement. Common responses to clickbait social media posts that lead to pointless or misleading content range from mild annoyance to seething rage. Don’t let your brand become identified with those emotions by association! Only link to content that’s genuinely likely to be of interest to your customers.
- Tread warily when it comes to politics and religion. Discussions of that ilk on social media can get very ugly and very heated, very quickly. If you are comfortable that your brand and company ethics put you in a position where you want to take a public stand on certain moral or political issues, then, by all means, be vocal about it; consistency in living up to your brand values is admirable. But always be aware that by associating your brand with a particular stripe of political thinking, you risk alienating a sizeable base of potential customers who may think differently.
- Don’t be a pushy salesman. The ultimate aim of a corporate social media presence is to sell your goods or services to your consumer. But know this, repeatedly shouting “BUY OUR NEW PRODUCT NOW!” will not be your key to success. Good marketing agencies and teams will adopt strategies that mix appropriate levels of traditional marketing and salesmanship with other types of content designed to interest, engage and persuade your followers.
So there you have it. Marketing on social media isn’t necessarily always easy – and there’s certainly no one-size-fits-all rules for social media success – but avoiding some of these simple mistakes can help keep your business, and more importantly your brand image, out of hot water.