Industry news sources are bursting with articles telling brands how to ‘do’ social media. There are top tips on everything from social content creation, to social listening, to expanding your following. However, these are often quite generic, and can be tough to apply to common scenarios – and I see the same mistakes made by brands again and again. These 7 Deadly Sins to avoid should help you to steer clear of the most common social media pitfalls, and set you on the right path to building and managing a thriving social community.
Sin #1 – Lust
- Focus on your business KPIs. It can be tempting to post things that you personally find funny, or related to things that you want to be associated with. Before sharing anything, always consider your objective – e.g. is this post engaging, informative or a traffic driver? Also, don’t jump onto every new social platform just because you’ve heard it’s up and coming. Your audience probably won’t be there yet, and unless budget is astronomical, it would be better spent on your core platforms.
Sin #2 – Gluttony
- Don’t chew up and spit out everything and anything. Don’t try to relate your brand to irrelevant trending topics. Users are following your brand online for a specific purpose. They want to be informed, inspired and entertained by your specialist industry knowledge. You may also have a chance to sell your products along the way, but the main benefit of social is the opportunity to establish yourselves as industry influencers, build valuable customer relationships and set yourselves apart from your competitors. Which brings us to our next sin…
Sin #3 – Greed
- Don’t expect everyone to want to put their pennies into your pocket all day long. You wouldn’t constantly reel off product specs or promotional offers to a customer in person, so don’t do it on social. Remember: no one cares. Social media users are enjoying catching up with family, spying on their exes friends, and probably watching a few videos of people falling over whilst dancing. So, every post has to grab the attention of the viewer - whether it be a special offer, relatable image or a tip/hack etc. You have to give to receive, and there are hundreds of cool, funny, interesting brands out there on social who are getting great exposure, becoming influential and yes, generating conversions in between - as a result of providing value to their audience.
Sin #4 – Sloth
- Social is not a quick, free, easy fix. People often make the mistake of thinking that social platforms should give their brand a ‘free’ place to market their products and get their name in front of a wider audience. Keep in mind that people are not browsing social platforms with the intent of purchasing, and so when marketing there, you are interrupting their leisure time. To do so effectively takes time, empathy and creativity.
Sin #5 – Wrath
- The customer is always right. Well, as far as social media is concerned anyway ;). Customers are quick to take to social to vent their frustrations if they receive poor service – in fact some humans now create social accounts solely for the purpose of tweeting their least favourite companies (I know). However, this should be seen as an opportunity to demonstrate your superior customer service skills. By responding in a calm, empathetic and helpful manner, you can leave any especially venomous posters looking like crazed lunatics.
Remember - always take any contentious or data sensitive issues offline immediately. A common bone of contention to users is when brands suggest a phone call or email on social. The customer contacted you via social, so try to help them there first by asking them to send you a PM.
Sin #6 – Envy
- Don’t waste too much time comparing yourself to competitors. Many brands allocate budget solely towards vanity measures such as generating post likes and shares. If these are targeted well, with a key objective – great, but if not, it’s the equivalent of throwing your precious spend into the wind. Success will also be relative to audience size, so measure the popularity of your content by engagement rate - aka the percentage of people who saw your content that engaged with it. Check current industry benchmarks from reliable sources such as Socialbakers to check your performance across the board.
Sin #7 - Pride
- Show empathy, and be human. Don’t be too proud to connect with your customers, or to apologise for mistakes. The degree of this obviously varies depending on your brand guidelines and tone of voice, but social is a place to connect with your customers – so the less robotic you can be, the better. Whilst you should never be overly personal or risk being offensive with risqué jokes, a simple “how are you?” or the inclusion of someone’s name in your response can go a long way. Adding a more personal touch will make your customers feel valued, and can set you apart from your competitors.
Found these 7 Deadly Social Sins useful? If you require any help with the above, have any questions or would like to provide feedback - I’d love to hear from you! Comment below, or find me on Twitter at @ruby_mae.