In an article by Clair Byrd for Business Insider, she describes how 2012 was a big year for social media, however even bigger were its faux pas’.
“Facebook officially took over the world, Twitter collectively told the world they didn’t want to pay anymore by locking up their API, and Pinterest made everybody with time to kill happy by sucking them into a near endless supply of beautiful food imagery and cat pictures”.
Many of these points are honest and humorous, and remind us that even the big brands mess up sometimes, too. To name a few: KitchenAid, American Red Cross, Chrysler, Stubhub, Vodafone, and MarcJacobsIntl. All of these accounts were “accidentally” hacked with personal tweets, which brings us to the first suggestion of what not to do with branded social media in 2013.
1. Run (or allow employees to run) your brand social channels through personal publishing platforms.
It’s hard to believe that these accidents still occur. Frankly, if I was the voice a million dollar company, I would be a little hesitant to share the screen with my personal accounts. Social media is inherently risky, and this is a simple trick to prevent a catastrophe.
2. #Hashjacking (Stealing a hashtag to broaden the reach of your tweet)
There is never a need to “hijack” a trending hashtag in an unrelated treat in attempt to expand this tweet, for obvious reasons. This behavior will not help you and people will respond negatively. With that said, what may seem like unrelated tags can end up being sarcastic or clever, and are appropriate when used in moderation.
3. Overpost (even Facebook cracked down on your spam!)
A great point made by the author: Imagine you are face to face with your customers. Are you going to throw every piece of information you’ve found on the internet at them, or thoughtfully select the most important things and build a conversation around these points? I choose the latter. Often companies may tend to spam, especially with coupons or specials they may be having. In reality, these brands tend to be avoided and unliked on Facebook. Thoughtful customer engagement is much more effective than nagging posts.
4. Over-automate (Scheduling too much content in advance)
First of all, this can have a tragic ending, such as a tweet from the NRA Rifleman’s Association on the morning of the Aurora shooting, which asked shooters what they were “up to today”. Secondly, this isn’t attractive for any followers who appreciate personal attention and consciousness from their brand. Preplanned content just reads fake.
5. Ignore.. well, any element of your social presence. (Pretending people don’t exist)
Customers have a wide range of positive feedback, questions and well… complaints. Spending too much time on one type of person isn’t fair and will be noticed by your other followers, especially on Twitter and Facebook. After all, negative comments and complaints won’t go away, so it’s better to resolve the situation immediately. And if you do a good job of managing complaints, you may end up as a viral picture on Tumblr, like Crayola:
6. Talk about yourself (Spend too much time spreading product news, press releases, etc)
Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Media, once compared social media to a cocktail party. You certainly wouldn’t want to listen to the person talking about themselves over and over again, but hang out with the interesting person that also listens to what you have to say. Keep this ratio in check: 60% content should be proactive engagement with your audience. 20% spreading relevant content that your audience will care about. 20% should be talking about yourself. Not to mention, talking about yourself too much is just plain obnoxious.
7. Using identical language for all brand social networks (Sacrifice quality for convenience)
It’s important to decide which social networks are appropriate for your brand. For example, if you’re selling mens products, you may not be interested in Pinterest which has a 97% population of women. Although your brand should maintain the same personality throughout social networks, you should not send out the same message on multiple social media platforms at once.
Steer clear of these points and you’ll be a social media pro in 2013.