Social media has re-written the media landscape, opened up new business opportunities and connected firms to previously untapped markets. It has given PR consultancies valuable measurable insights and can humanise a brand, doing wonders for your reputation – at least, in an ideal world. In reality a lot of companies are still nervous about fully committing to social media, or jump in all guns blazing without a second thought to strategy. Clear objectives, plans and metrics are essential to successful social media, but you also need to know what to avoid. Here are our 5 social media pitfalls:
- Quantity over quality
Many businesses get hung up on the idea that they need to have thousands of followers on social media to make it worthwhile, but what you should really be going for is quality over quantity. Target your profiles to your audience, advertise your platforms through pre-established communication channels and collect data to find out who, when and why customers are interacting with you online.
- Letting staff run wild
A lot of companies often dump the responsibility of social media on the youngest person in the office and assume that they’ll know what to do, what you should do is take the time to set out rules, guidelines, procedures and plans to protect both your brand and employees.
- Hashtags, hashtags, hashtags
Incorrectly using hashtags or jumping on a hashtag bandwagon with the hope that it will lead to a couple of extra followers are two rookie mistakes for businesses. To hone your hashtag usage, try a site like www.hashtags.org to see what words are already being used by your audience. The last thing you want to do is inadvertently advertise your product around a negative hashtag.
- Wasting money
There are many tempting offers online that allow you to buy followers or likes, but these are best avoided. Another financial mistake is using sponsored ads but ignoring your key demographics – if your business only works with customers in Gloucestershire, there’s no point in advertising to people in Scotland! Many social networks will let you target paid adverts according to people’s age, gender, location and interests, so take advantage of this.
- The world according to ME.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: social media is not the place for sales pitches. Social media is quintessentially a new and easy way to have conversations with your clients and nurture relationships that keep them coming back to you, generating leads and increasing sales in the long run. So don’t be pushy and instead gear your content around education, value-added and share-worthy material if you want to be socially successful. Being a personable human is probably the best way to make sales, online or offline.