This is a guest post by Brad Shorr.
Many businesses use social media to promote brand awareness, and it can be quite effective. Because social media is largely personality-driven, a savvy entrepreneur can level the playing field against much larger competitors and establish his company as a widely recognized, credible source.
Unfortunately, for every social marketer who succeeds in driving brand awareness, there are ten more who drive people away from their brands.
Here are 20 social media marketing errors that send people running, that make them tune you and your company out. Alert: This list is not exhaustive. Your additions are welcome!
- Overfeeding. Nobody likes stream cloggers. Publishing updates in concentrated clusters or unremittingly all day long inspires connections to disconnect.
- Underfeeding. One or two tweets a day, one or two Facebook posts a week, are not frequent enough to put you on anyone’s radar. (Underfeeding is often a symptom of under budgeting.)
- Over repetition. Sending out the same sales message over and over becomes tiresome in a hurry. People gravitate to social media precisely to escape this kind of in-your-face marketing.
- Over diversity. This is one of my bad tendencies. If your topics and tone change like the wind, people won’t be able to figure out you or your brand. Eventually they will stop trying.
- Used car sales pitches. Even if you push product only occasionally, it’s the soft sell that suits social. Here’s how not to do it. (Warning: off-color language in this 2-minute video.)
- Every day is a new deal. Yet another deal related issue: if you hit your community with a different offer every day, you run not only the risk of annoying them, but also of confusing them. Both are clearly damaging to your brand.
- Disappointing offers. Example: Offering a free white paper download to someone likes you on Facebook, and the download consists of 200 words of common knowledge. This will inspire a quick unlike.
- Company-centric content. Paradoxically, the best way to promote your brand is to not talk about it. In social media – and perhaps in most other places – people will value you more for what you bring to the table beyond your products and services.
- No engagement. If you don’t respond to comments on your blog or Facebook posts, it’s like walking away from a person in mid-sentence when he is asking you a question.
- Exhorting people to connect for no reason. There’s a big difference between saying, “Join us on Twitter,” and saying, “Join us on Twitter and receive up to 50% exclusive savings.”
- No platform differentiation. People get a strong impression of your brand when they have a clear picture of what your brand does on a particular social platform. This ties back to #10: you want people to follow you on Twitter for deals, like you on Google+ for industry insight, etc.
- Never sharing other people’s content. It’s good manners as well as good marketing to retweet other people’s posts and otherwise share them. In social media, most good deeds go rewarded.
- Sending auto-DMs on Twitter. Automated direct messages to new followers on Twitter will immediately mark you as a spammer. Fairly or unfairly.
- Frivolous posting. Talking about the weather is good. Talking about the weather from dawn to dusk is bad.
- No human face. It’s hard to have a conversation with a logo. Bigger firms need to personalize their social media presence to effectively promote their brands.
- Jargon. Unless you’re marketing to a very specialized niche, using plain English will make more people more inclined to share your content.
- Overpromising, not following through. If you offer to plug someone in a blog post, do it. If you tell your Facebook fans you’ll host weekly Q&A sessions on your page, don’t stop after one week.
- No way for fans to publish content. This can be problematic, but as a general rule you’ll draw more people to your brand by allowing them to post on your Facebook page and comment on your blog. When people want to talk and can’t, it’s frustrating. (Plus, they might have something valuable to say.)
- Not publishing negative comments. Trying to control information can backfire. People complain about their unpublished comments elsewhere, word spreads, and people stop trying to engage with you at all.
- No thanks for sharing. It’s good form to thank someone for a retweet or a Google+ share, etc. Use email or direct messages to avoid overdoing it publicly, or perhaps send a “blanket thank you” email to those invaluable brand loyalists who can’t share enough of your stuff.
Over to You
- What can you add to the list?
- What drives you away from brands on social media?
Brad Shorr is Director of Content & Social Media for Straight North, a search engine marketing firm in Chicago. The agency works with small and midsized firms in a wide variety of businesses, including a site for booking online tee times and a distributor of electrical gloves.