As of January 2014, 74 percent of all Internet users were on social networking sites. In other words, your brand needs to be active on social media to reach a huge chunk of your potential fan base. However, if you make one little error, you could be hurting your brand's reputation. To make sure that you're getting the most out of social media, make sure to avoid the following 10 mistakes.
1. Giving the Wrong People Access
The main reason you're on social media is to share your voice with the world. So, how can you accomplish that if you're outsourcing your social media account activity? Worse yet, what if you had someone unqualified, like an intern, managing social media? Chances are that there are going to be a lot of mistakes, such as someone not fully understanding how to explain what you do. That's not saying you should never outsource your account activity. You can't be online every second of the day. Just remember to find the most qualified person or agency for the job and work together on strategy on an ongoing basis.
2. Getting Hacked
Security remains a major concern for anyone with a social media account. In 2013, for example, cyber-security firm Trustwave found that 318,000 Facebook accounts alone had been compromised. Having your social media account hacked can be disastrous since it can lead to getting your account suspended as well as loss of trust among followers.
To prevent your account from being hacked, make sure that you have a creative password, use a social media management tool, and only allow access to certain individuals. For more advice on how to protect your social profile, check these 7 tips from Hootsuite.
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3. Getting Too Personal
Sharing your brand's personality is essential, since it can help you stand out from other brands and gives followers an idea of the people behind the logo. However, you don't want to get too personal with your social media profiles. Engaging in negative feedback (see Amy's Baking Company) or sharing sensitive topics like politics, religion, etc. (see KitchenAid), can harm you brand's reputation and turn off your followers.
4. Not Creating Original Content
"You want to establish yourself as an authority figure in your industry, as well as engage your audience. But you can't do that by rehashing the work of others," says strategist John Rampton. That's not to say that you can't share relevant infographics, videos or articles that have already been created. It just means you should be creating original content that is going to appeal to your specific audience. One of the world's top DJs, Skrillex, is a perfect example of someone who does this. When you're able to balance your original content with that of others, you'll improve traffic, reach new visitors, and continue to establish yourself as an industry leader.
5. Hashtag Highjacking
There's no doubt that you've used a hashtag here and there, and there's nothing wrong with that. Research has proven that images that include hashtags receive more likes than those without. However, you have to use hashtags with caution, especially when it comes to users hijacking your account. For example, there is the classic McDonald's "fail" when the fast food chain asked customers to share their #McDStories, which resulted in people telling horror stories instead of heartwarming childhood memories.
The easiest way to avoid this is by clearly defining your hashtag so that it will reach the right audience. Using generic keywords and hashtags can lead to the hashtag getting hijacked.
6. Paying for Fake Fans and Likes
While you may have to pay for ads to reach some of your audience, offering to pay money to boost your fan count and Likes is a horrible tactic that should be avoided. They add very little to your community since they won't be as engaged as real fans of your brand. Real fans are more willing to spread brand awareness as well as become brand advocates. It may seem like a great idea to boost the number of fans or retweets by purchasing them, but it can ultimately be detrimental to your brand.
7. Using Every Platform for the Sake of Using Them All
It's not a bad idea to be on multiple social media platforms, but you don't have to be on every single social network. For example, a law firm should have a LinkedIn and Facebook account, but does it need a Pinterest or Snapchat account? No. Do a little research and discover where your audience can be reached and stick mainly with those platforms. If you need some assistance, you can review this helpful article from HubSpot.
8. Spamming Your Followers
Sharing content or statuses on a frequent basis is an absolute must, but you don't want to overdo it. Eventually, followers will get tired of you flooding their social media accounts. So how often should you post to Facebook, Twitter, etc.? It's going to vary based on your following size, the network's own algorithms, and how active your followers are.
According to Buffer, here's a breakdown:
- Twitter -- 14 times per day, from midnight to 10 p.m. Central Time, never more than once per hour. On weekends, 7 times per day, from 3 a.m. to 9 p.m., roughly every three hours.
- Facebook -- 2 times per day, 7 days a week, at 10:08 a.m. and 3:04 p.m.
- LinkedIn -- 1 time per day, 8:14 a.m., no weekends
- Google+ -- 2 times per day, 9:03 a.m. and 7:04 p.m., no weekends
9. Not Using Management Tools
Managing all of your social media accounts can be a daunting and time-consuming process. This is when you can make use of social media management tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, SocialOomph or Sprout Social to schedule content, collaborate with team members, and monitor results. However, don't automate all of your updates. Followers will quickly decipher that you're not taking the time to actually engage and converse with them.
10. Not Tracking Activity With Website Traffic, Goals, and ROI
Are your updates reaching the right people? Are they effective in driving traffic? Are your efforts bringing some kind of return on the investment? Without consistently monitoring these things, how are you able to see the effectiveness of your campaigns? Use tools like Viralheat, Spredfast, Sysomos, Sprout Social, and UberVU to monitor your campaigns. Google Analytics is another great resource to accomplish this task. And Social Media Examiner has a guide to help track your ROI.