Common (easily fixed) social media mistakes made by businesses

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Common (easily fixed) social media mistakes made by businesses

It’s easy to make mistakes on social media when you don’t have the time to learn what’s new.

Here’s this weeks topic: common (easily fixed) social media mistakes businesses make.

Asking random people to like your business page.
We’ve noticed that there’s an uptick in the number of friend requests via individuals who really just want you to like their page. Here’s the bottom line: when you’re asking people to ‘like’ a business page, what is the goal? Vanity? Awareness? Revenue? Now perhaps you’ve asked your {real} friends and family to like your business page (not going to fib, I have as well – that was the only way to secure a unique URL!) But with that said, it is lame to ‘friend request’ people only to immediately invite them to like your business page. For one: what is the value to them? For two: what is the value to you? It isn’t a good look and it likely won’t positively impact your business objectives.

Using the term “I” in posts whilst representing a company.
Admittedly, this is something that I’ve done because I’m out on my own here, all by myself – except for contractors. I go back-and-forth between “I” and “we” because “I” sounds selfish… “we” is more inclusive. With that said, many businesses will sign social posts with the initials of the community managers. When I used to manage corporate accounts, I’d sign them with ‘K.M’ or ‘Kat’ – it gave a more human component.

Sharing updates/posts that your company is going to make a ‘HUGE’ announcement, then falling short.
Company news is important to you, but remember the context when you’re sharing it online. When your audience is hyped and set up, expecting HUGE company news make sure it matches those expectations and hype. For example, I recently saw a company promote ‘HUGE’ news for a couple of weeks then the day they were making the announcement it was unclear as to what the HUGE news was. As it turned out, it was just a contest. Little bit of a let down.

Instead of finding out how to get in touch with unhappy customers, you put the onus back on them.
The number of times I see this in the run of a day actually surprises me – but if you just take a minute to ask the unhappy client/customer the best way to reach them, you could potentially reverse the damage. Instead, many will either ignore the client/customer or give them a 1-800 number to call.

Not responding to comments on posts
Social media is a place to engage with your audience, it’s not a one-way broadcast. Many businesses ‘set it and forget it.’ Meaning that they schedule or post a bunch of stuff but never respond to any questions or comments on those posts. You want engagement on your stuff and you want to encourage it through responding, especially now that the reach of Facebook business pages organically has dramatically dropped.

Combative with reviewers and commentators
There’s a difference between constructive criticism and trolling. When a client or customer takes the time to reach out via social media, they’re usually already annoyed. The good news is that studies have shown that you still have time to win them back based on how you respond. Instead of going down the rabbit hole of ‘we’re right, you’re wrong’ and fighting back, address the comments, acknowledge their feelings and take the conversation offline as quickly as you can so you can find a solution. With that said, we’ve all had clients or customers that just seem to want to complain (even when you bend over backwards) – follow the same steps and do what you can.

Selling too much.
Another mistake is just selling, selling, selling. Yes. Social Media is a place to generate awareness and leads for your products or services, but in order for people to take an interest, they first have to ‘know, like, trust!’ I did a quick audit of a few pages and learned that nearly 90% of messages are sales related. The other messages are about the business or organization. While it is important to share this type of information, try to be a bit more strategic. First, consider how you like to engage with businesses. When you walk into a store (online or offline) do you like to be bombarded with sales pitches? Didn’t think so. Social media is no different. Consider your audience and what they expect from you. If you’re a car dealership, share valuable information they can’t just google and fine elsewhere; same goes for every other industry – offer value! A good ratio is the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time is all about giving information away and 20% is when you get to be selfish and talk about what’s important to you as a business.

No cohesiveness in profile.
Your pages and profiles – whether Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn – are potentially your first introduction to others. Make sure that they match your brand. Often I’ll see that businesses completely ignore powerful real estate like their cover and profile pictures. This is where you can really add your personality and brand to your page. They also fail to optimize – meaning that the information on their profile doesn’t match the other assets. Being consistent is a big part of creating awareness.

Messages aren’t consistent.
What I mean is that your company may be specialists in one area, but you’re sharing lots of stuff that isn’t related. Or perhaps you’re not consistently sharing anything at all. Or you’re just sharing the same stuff over and over again and there’s no real value. To test and track your program, there should be method to the madness but many times we see no rhyme or reason to posts. Not in brand voice. Not consistent.

Confusing CTAs & mismatched links.
I’ve seen this a few times. A business will use the cover photo as a ‘Call-to-Action’ (which is great!) but they don’t link the buttons or URLs appropriately. One example happened recently when I saw that a local rec centre was putting on specialty camps for kids. One of the posts included a CTA for a specific camp. When I clicked the link, it just took me to the businesses homepage (not the specific camp.) After trying to navigate for some time (with no luck) I phoned but still didn’t get anywhere. Keep in mind that most people won’t bother calling, they’ll just give up and move on (quickly.) Therefore, it’s important to make the process as easy as you can for them. Make sure your CTAs and links match.

Offline campaign doesn’t match online.
You may be confused about using social media for business because you read somewhere that it’s all you need. The reality is that you really need an integrated approach; there should be consistency between online and offline messaging. This includes your visual assets and presence. When someone gets a flyer in the mail and visits your website, there should be consistency in terms of tone, colours and information; the look and feel should be similar. I’ve seen companies get really fancy online but their offline marketing collateral looks nothing like it – this makes it really confusing for consumers who go online to look for more information.

Too corporate.
I just pulled a fast-one on you there. Yes. Staying on brand is critical but you don’t have to be so ‘vanilla’ corporate on social. What I mean by that is… boring… As another arm of marketing/advertising/communication, Social media does require a plan and care but it’s also a more casual place to interact. I recently saw one large organization reply to posts on their page with the same canned response. In their defence, they may have had a corporate lawyer advising them to do so. But even still, is that sincere? Is that what two-way conversation looks like? What kind of message does that send their fans/followers?

Not following FB guidelines to like, share

The biggest mistake we see with regard to guidelines has to be around contests that break Facebooks rules. Every week we see contests that tell you that you must like the page to be entered, or that you must share the post with friends to get more entires. Facebook is really clear in their rules that this is a ‘no-no’ – the reality is, are you going to get caught? Not necessarily. However, last year Facebook started cracking down on this type of thing so it’s important to follow the rules as closely as you can so you don’t face setbacks (like pissing off Facebook so you don’t get shadow banned!)

Kat Macaulay, BA ADdPR BnC
Kat Macaulay, BA ADdPR BnC
Kat Macaulay is a Marketing Strategist, Writer + Speaker known for her no-nonsense approach to pretty much everything. Using data insights, she helps organizations market more effectively to get results that matter. She's also a high-scoring instructor at Mount Royal University, where she teaches Social Media Analytics and Google Analytics + Marketing Measurement. She holds certifications from Google, as well as Facebook and is currently working toward a specialization in Marketing Analytics and a certificate in Data Science from IBM. When she’s not busy juggling kids, volunteering + work, she’s busy planning her retirement to Cape Breton.