Social media as we know it now has come a long way in the last few years. What started out as the shiny new object for communicators has evolved into a fully respected form of digital media with a set of rules all its own. Yet even now, too many professionals just see it as free advertising and don’t take it seriously. If you are one of these people, a budding community manager or even an executive who doesn’t understand “that Twitter thing,” here are 11 sure fire ways to ruin your social media strategy.
- Skip the planning: Who needs a plan? I’ll tell you like I tell the students I speak to – unless you’ve ever used Facebook (or any social media) for a business then you don’t know jack about it. No matter what platform you are using, you need to take the time to learn how it functions on the business side and then create a strategy that is tailored to the wants and needs of your audience.
- Overplan: Part of the draw of social media is that is supposed to feel authentic and spontaneous. What better way to convey those feelings then to write and schedule your posts weeks, or even months, in advance? Don’t get me wrong. Planning is good and you should definitely have a social media calendar in place. It also can’t hurt to be prepared a few weeks ahead. However, trying to write every single post months ahead of time without ever creating spontaneous posts ensures that your strategy will fail to resonate with your audience.
- The more the merrier: Go ahead, get as many people involved as possible – especially lawyers because they are always fun! You’ve already got the interns researching and writing the initial drafts, but then you have to pass it on to your boss who critiques it before sending to her boss who makes more changes before sending it to his boss before sending it to the legal department who then scratches half the posts and images and comes back with a laundry lists of all the ways they think we might get sued. That’s just the first round. Try doing that every month or every week and add in the dozens of “reply all” emails and pretty soon you’ll be pulling your hair out by the fistful or jabbing a pencil in your eye. If possible, keep the circle small and filled with competent people who understand social media.
- Talk only about your business or product: We’ve all had that friend who gets involved in a new business venture and never wants to talk about anything else. Annoying isn’t it? Some brands are the same way. They use social media as if it’s free advertising rather than a way to humanize their brand and connect with audience. Just like your friends, if you want people to stay engaged and interested, you have to stop hard selling your brand and talk about other things that may interest people.
- Spam the hell out of everyone: Since you are always making the hard sell, go ahead and take it up a notch by posting the same crap over and over. You wouldn’t want anyone to miss your sales pitch, right? It’s even better if you post the exact same message across platforms, regardless of formatting.
- Newsjacking is awesome: Said no one, ever. Whether it’s using a story in the news to get more likes or using the wrong hashtag, newsjacking is generally a horrible idea. Just look to Kenneth Cole’s repeated use of international tragedies to promote his brand, or Celeb Boutique who failed to pay attention to trending hashtags during the Aurora shooting, or Urban Outfitters and American Apparel for using super storm Sandy as a promotion, and many others. Some were stupid while others were just outright distasteful. This is not the way to get noticed.
- Don’t respond to anyone’s comments or questions: Instead of being pushy, some managers are just plain neglectful. Failing to respond to questions or comments is a sure fire way to piss off and push away your audience. The best-case scenario is that they will just ignore you, but the worst case is that they may blow up your news feed.
- Delete everything negative: Or argue back with them! Don’t forget to take everything personally while you are at it. Do you really think that insulting people online will win you any love? Some people get nasty with the Internet trolls while others think they can just delete everything and nobody will notice. Neither one is a good course of action. Just ask the owners of Amy’s Baking Company.
- Hire people to post positive comments: Or better yet, do it all yourself under fake names! That worked out really well for Mike Snyder. It isn’t worth the effort. Once your audience finds out that you had to fake your own positive reviews, your credibility is shot.
- Don’t measure anything: But I majored in PR to get away from math! Well, it might just be time to dust off that old statistics book because guessing what works just doesn’t work. Most major platforms now offer built-in metric systems, so there is no excuse for not looking at the data to see what strategies work or don’t work.
- Don’t spend a dime: Social media is free, right? This is the most common misconception of all. While it is true that you don’t have to pay to use Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, none of them are really free. Preparing and implementing a successful social media strategy takes time – a LOT more than most people realize. Time means manpower and that means money. On top of that, most of the major platforms now offer a host of advertising and promotional options guaranteed to get more traction for your brand. Paying for the occasional promoted tweet, pin or ad is usually worth it to boost your presence and ensure that your brand gets noticed. Budget carefully to make sure your dollars are well spent.
Social media isn’t rocket science, but don’t take it for granted either. It requires planning, research, data analysis, time, energy, heart and a little money to make it work.
What other ways have you seen brands, or brand managers, ruin a social media strategy?
- Anatomy of a Successful Social Media Strategy (business2community.com)
- Different Type of Organizations, Different Social Media Strategies (lauradongca.wordpress.com)
- 10 Must-Know Advantages & Disadvantages of Social Media – Knowing Disadvantage is Equally Important (voyagegroupin.wordpress.com)