Social media has massive potential to boost your business profile.
But if it’s not planned and executed properly there’s a real risk it could threaten your reputation and potentially damage your business.
The last thing you want to do is to embarrass yourself, your business and make others doubt your credibility. It’s crucial that you know how to avoid simple mistakes and get the most out of social media.
To be fair it’s mainly common sense, and my rule of thumb is always: would I do or say this face-to-face?
After around 15 years of using social media for me, for previous employers in the corporate and public sector worlds, for a whole raft of projects and initiatives, and for colleagues and clients, I’ve learned a few things along the way.
Here are my recommendations on what NOT to do.
Push or be arrogant. No matter what you’re offering or what you’re passionate about, endless repetition will just irritate people and drive them elsewhere.
Social media is just that – social. Don’t sell all the time.
Instead, find reasons for your followers to stay with you and to return and to engage with you. Share interesting and fun content that will encourage conversations.
Above all, for goodness sake, don’t be arrogant, don’t troll others and don’t say anything you wouldn’t say in a face-to-face situation.
Ignore people. Failing to respond to people’s comments, questions and suggestions is just rude. All communication, including social media, is a two-way street and if you don’t interact with your followers their interest will wane, and they’ll go elsewhere. Keep the conversation going. Like and share other people’s posts. Talk to your followers. Seek feedback. Say thank you. This is especially important to remember if you use scheduling tools.
Be stuffy. Us humans love talking with other humans. Not robots or faceless corporate brands. Stay professional and write in a pleasant tone, use casual vocabulary, and add little humour where you can. To succeed on social media, you must be easy to relate with.
Post too much. No matter how much appealing content you create, churning out excessive content will flood your audience’s social media timelines with more information than they like, or can probably cope with.
If you fall into this trap, you’ll end up with an audience that is overwhelmed and annoyed with you. They’ll most likely unfollow you, or even complain about you. Think about your timings and look at your analytics to suss out the best times to post.
Be quiet. Equally, low activity or no activity at all won’t work. Don’t set up social media accounts and post once or twice and expect that to be enough. People won’t talk about your business unless they know you’re there, so focus on what they enjoy, plan and play with your content, and engage your customers. Work out a balance and stick to it.
Be offensive. Always remember that you’re crafting the professional public image of you and your business when using social media so crude jokes and offensive statements, intentionally or otherwise, don’t have a place here. Ever.
Be sloppy. Spelling matters. Always double-check your posts for spelling and grammar errors before pressing the publish button. The odd error will be overlooked; you are human after all. But too many will just make you look unprofessional and ditzy.
If audiences see that you don’t care enough to even proofread your own content, they’ll question if you care about them. Proofing your own words is tricky, here’s why.
Avoiding these mistakes will help you promote your brand and business positively. Poor use of social media can end up embarrassing you, your brand, and your business. And it may drive your followers away and even offend them.
So think it through carefully and use it properly. Read how to avoid digital marketing blunders here.
And remember, it’s all common sense really.