Social media is nearly ubiquitous for brands nowadays. Businesses realize that by utilizing social media, they can have access to their market in a way that was never available before. With 72 percent of all Internet users active on social media (including 60 percent of 50 to 60 year olds!), brands cannot ignore the opportunity to reach people in this cost-effective and engaging way.
But while the barriers to entry are minimal for engaging audiences on social media, brands sometimes forget that there are mistakes to avoid in order to optimize customer experience. So, as you plan out your social media marketing strategy, be sure to avoid the following errors. Your customers will thank you for it. And so will your bottom line.
1. Having Inactive Accounts
Sometimes in their haste to claim their brand name on a particular social media platform, or in an attempt to jump on the most recent trend, brands open an account and publish a profile on a social media network before they’re really ready to invest in it. As a result, the profile becomes inactive and stale. Prospective customers might discover the brand’s account when searching online and, upon seeing the inactivity, they’ll be left with a feeling that the company isn’t really equipped to manage everything on its plate. If the company can’t keep a social media profile updated, how will it handle new business?
How can brands avoid this mistake? Set manageable goals and only get involved when you’re able to follow through. It can be important to claim your brand name on a social media platform, but ideally you won’t publish the account until you’re ready to invest the time and energy into maintaining it well.
2. Having No Social Media Policy
Another mistake brands make is allowing employees to manage social media accounts on behalf of the brand without any guidelines. While customers expect to experience brands on social media in a personal and engaging way, you don’t want your brand to be perceived as unprofessional at best or offensive at worst. Plus, if multiple employees are managing company profiles with no guidance, then the brand messaging will likely be inconsistent.
It’s best to establish a social media policy from the get-go so that employees working on social media profiles have guidelines on what to post, when, and how to respond to customer questions and concerns. Clearly identify the tone your brand messaging will have as well as your target audience. Also have a standard set of logos for use in profile images. Setting these parameters from the beginning will save a lot of headache down the road.
3. Removing Negative Comments
Social media is a place for individuals to engage and express their opinions. Sometimes this means complaining about customer service experiences. Brands sometimes become concerned that public expressions of discontent related to their brand will tarnish their reputation. But removing negative feedback from customers will only hurt the brand more. The customers who left the feedback on a company profile will likely realize that their feedback was removed. They may then voice their complaints more publicly and in a space where the brand cannot remove it. For instance, a public tweet referencing a company cannot be removed by anyone other than the person who sent the original tweet.
Also, if prospective customers go to visit a company’s social media profile and see only positive comments, they might get suspicious as to whether negative comments are removed. This could make prospective customers less likely to trust the brand, fearing that the company doesn’t value customer concerns or try to remedy the situation.
Instead of hiding negative comments, it’s better for brands to have a policy for responding respectfully and graciously to unhappy customers. Responses that are apologetic and oriented toward resolving the problem will encourage current and prospective customers to perceive the brand as one that cares and will do the utmost to retain business.
4. Ignoring Customers
Perhaps a business doesn’t hide negative comments, but instead, it doesn’t respond at all. Or perhaps the business ignores even positive comments. Basically, the business posts content to its social media profiles and never engages with individuals seeking to interact with the brand. Ultimately, customers will feel neglected and ignored by the brand and may choose to move their business elsewhere.
If you have customers who are seeking to engage with your business online, that’s good! Start with simple responses by thanking people for their feedback. Eventually you should move beyond basic interaction and really seek to build brand ambassadors, equipping the most enthusiastic and connected people with tools to promote your brand to a wider audience.
5. Not Considering Social Media Advertising
While brands used to be able to get away with completely organic social media exposure, allowing their reach to grow through pure digital word-of-mouth, this is no longer the case. With social media platforms moving their business models more toward developing advertising revenue, business’ organic exposure is being minimized through algorithmic manipulation. Brands on Facebook now only reach 7 percent or less of their opted-in audiences. Other social media platforms are moving in a similar direction.
Social media allows for incredible targeting opportunities, allowing brands to reach audiences with less expense than many traditional marketing tactics. But ignoring social media advertising completely will significantly limit a brand’s reach. If you are already investing staff time and other expenses toward social media, it’s best to take the next step and promote your social media content through the advertising options available on each individual platform.
If you’re not sure how to truly utilize social media for your business, give us a call! We’d be happy to help.