Social Media can be one of the greatest marketing tools a company has at its disposal, but it can also create nightmares if used incorrectly.
In 2014, American Apparel came under fire for their July 4th Tumblr posts meant to celebrate the holiday. What the company thought was an image of a firework exploding across the sky in a patriotic plume was actually a press photo of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986, which took the lives of all 7 astronauts onboard. Although the company removed the post and apologized, American Apparel continues to suffer long-standing backlash from the flub.
But not all social media nightmares are as easy to spot as that news-maker. Failures on Social Media outlets can be a headache for companies in ways they may not have expected. Small details can mean the difference between a successful social presence and a negative image being presented to your target consumers.
Avoiding these costly mistakes and pitfalls is crucial when launching a successful social media marketing campaign. Be sure to be wary of the top 5 mistakes companies make when managing their social media pages, and help avoid welcoming the wrong kind of attention to your company.
- Failure to Continue Posting
The biggest mistake a company can make after establishing Social Media pages is to stop updating these pages regularly. For customers and potential customers, this makes a page look empty and uninviting. The page then becomes a billboard shouting “We Aren’t Here” rather than an way to invite new customers to your storefront.
Not staying current suggests that not only your pages, but your company, may not be up-to-date. Why would a customer think that you are accessible, current and the best place to take their business if their Facebook page hasn’t been updated in 6 months? The customer may assume you are lackadaisical or lazy and it’s likely they may think you are no longer in business.
- Posting Too Often and On Too Tight a Schedule
While posting too infrequently can cause a page to look barren, posting too often can cause content engagement to drop dramatically. An important post, such as a new sale or product, can get lost in a sea of less important content. Likewise, creating too much content can flood customers’ News Feeds, leading them to tune out the excess noise by unfollowing your page.
Once you discover what constitutes a healthy number of posts for each of your Social Media platforms, it is necessary to ensure that these posts go out in regular, yet organic intervals. Social Media is unique in that it allows individuals to present information in real-time. Publishing content at the same time on the same day and at the same interval will dispel this image. A customer should feel they are looking at a page managed by a human, not a robot. Mix it up.
- Not Responding to Questions
Social media outlets can be excellent places to present new products and information to a targeted audience, but your responsibility to the pages does not end with posting content. These pages also create a 24-hour hotline for customers to interact with your company. For example, midnight owls and early risers can ask direct questions to your company without the constraints of “Open” hours.
Problems arise when these questions go unanswered. Missed questions leave a customer feeling as if they are not being heard. It also removes the appearance of an active and engaged company. Social media pages are a unique way to present a personalized, accessible image of your company and ignoring customers on your pages dispels this image in a very public way.
- Not Responding to Feedback
Social Media is an extension of your customer service abilities, so failing to respond to customer feedback including comments, can give consumers the impression of an apathetic company. Just as your customer service professionals wouldn’t simply ignore a customer’s call, your pages shouldn’t ignore customer feedback either.
Companies who reply to customer comments, both good and bad, appear engaged. They appear to not only care about their customers, but their brand as well. They seem trustworthy. A customer knows if they chose to purchase a product from that company that they will have somewhere to turn if they need further assistance, such as returns or repairs.
Negative feedback left unanswered on a page creates another problem. It can distract potential customers from all other content. One negative review can dissuade customers from further engagement with your company, but a well thought-out response to negative feedback can both re-engage the dissatisfied customer and promote trust that when consumers do have a problem, you are prepared to take care of it.
- Using the Wrong Medium/Platform to Drive Business
Just because a social media platform is available doesn’t mean that it is the right fit for your company. Using the wrong content on the wrong social media platform can not only make you look desperate, but cause disengagement and a bad taste in consumers’ mouths.
In a recent study, researchers revealed that nearly 71% of adult internet users are on Facebook, which suggests that’s a great place to start promoting your company. But not every company lends itself to Facebook. A funeral home, for example, may appear less professional if offering sales and specials on Facebook, and garner the wrong kind of attention when such posts show up on customer’s News Feeds. It’s not to say this cannot be done, but posts should keep in mind the audience and be appropriate for the industry and platform.
Each company is an individual, and not every social page is going to work. Finding the right fit for you is integral to ensuring your reaching your target audience. Remember, a post can only be impressionable and drive sales if your customer sees it. Make sure it’s going where it needs to go.
At the end of the day, Social Media is a great way to engage with your customers and potential customers, but managing your social media pages is time-consuming. Be prepared to take a little time everyday (or sometimes many times a day) to ensure you are paying attention to those customers who are engaging with you, and that you are reciprocating. Social media works both ways — make sure it’s working for you.