Building a loyal social media following is something that takes time, patience, commitment and a fair bit of trial and error. But there are some definite rules to follow, which if broken, could prove fatal to your social media marketing strategy. So follow this ultimate list of things to avoid doing on social media.
1. Posting offensive material
This one should be obvious, however, too often businesses post things in poor taste or by accident that leave them with a PR mess to clean up. Highly controversial topics such as religion and politics are best avoided on social media, as is anything that involves nudity. When in doubt, run your scheduled post past several members of your team before publishing.
2. Paying for leads and followers
This may sound like a quick fix but most paid leads or followers are generated by spammers who create fake accounts. This is a strategy which will always backfire. Even if the followers were real, if they aren’t interested in your product it won’t improve your engagement metrics no matter how many thousands of followers you have.
3. Taking a posting holiday
Just as bad as posting something offensive is not posting anything at all. It is imperative to avoid going “missing in action”. Your audience will come to expect consistent posting, and if you don’t provide that, their attention will be diverted by your competitors who are posting regularly. So if you don’t have the time and energy to maintain a social media account you’re probably better off not having one at all.
4. Piggybacking on an irrelevant trend
Trending topics and hashtags can be a goldmine for gaining new followers if you use them correctly. But if you are simply piggybacking on a trend without posting content that is actually relevant to the topic or hashtag you can do yourself a grave disservice. For example, last year, DiGiorno Pizza famously used the #WhyIStayed hashtag to promote its pizza without doing its research. The #WhyIStayed hashtag was all about raising awareness of domestic violence, and so survivors of domestic violence were less than impressed at DiGiorno’s mockery of the situation.
5. Not replying to comments
Social media is a great tool for gathering customer’s opinions as followers will often volunteer them without you asking. Show your audience that communication on social media is a two-way street and that you value their input. So do yourself a favour and respond to their comments.
6. Self-promoting too much
Facebook, Twitter and the like are not meant to be just another place to put ads. They are a forum to show your human side and interact with customers. That's why, majority of your posts need to informative, conversational, humorous or otherwise enriching, with a few pieces of self-promotion tucked in occasionally. If your audience feels like they’re being advertised to they will disconnect. Fast.
7. Lack of network integration strategy
Do you understand the differences between each social network? Do you use them together to complement one another, or is your social media strategy just to make it up as you go? Does your social strategy tie in with your SEO, content marketing and digital advertising campaigns? If you can’t answer this question easily you need to sit down and formulate a proper plan.
8. Sub-standard content
Digital marketing is all about content. Your success depends on producing content that is interesting and compelling. Your content should tell a story. People respond to stories and human emotions. Your content should have attention-grabbing headlines that draw people in. If you’re currently making any of these mistakes, it’s not the end of the world. It’s simply a wake-up call to plan, execute and revise your social media strategy.
All of the above mistakes tend to revolve around one of two themes: either not doing adequate research or failing to prioritise your audience’s needs. So let these two principles be a litmus test that you judge all your social media actions by.