We all agree social media provides limitless marketing potential for our businesses. We can quickly share important information to our customers, promote our products and services, host events and webinars, offer special promotions or even just simply engage with our customers and build strong, meaningful relationships.
But with all this potential, comes great responsibility. It’s easy to sometimes forget the importance of quality assurance when it comes to social media marketing. Did we check spelling? Did that link we just posted get botched and is now sending people to a 404? Did we just alienate half our audience by posting something extremely controversial?
We need to review each and every message we intend to publish in order to prevent a dooms-day social media scenario. Below are 10 of the most common social media no-no’s.
- #1: Too much self-promotion
- #2: Swearing Like a Sailor
- #3: Getting Political
- #4: Stealing Stuff
- #5: Misspelling Everything
- #6: Providing Incorrect Info
- #7: Botching Your Customer Service Opportunities
- #8: Oopsie Links
- #9: Being Unresponsive
- #10: Letting Social Media Fall Off
- How do you avoid Social Media Faux Pas for good?
This may be the most common blunder of all time. Posting too much promotional content.
People want to socialize on Social Media. They don’t want to be bombarded constantly, with your company’s promotions.
So use it primarily to answer questions and provide interesting, educational/entertaining (but highly relevant) information. I suggest no more than one promotional piece of content for every ten educational/entertaining pieces of content. Focus on providing value to your audience first.
This is a mild blunder because for some brands, an occasional expletive is true to the voice. If you’re a sassy graphic-tee company, a brand that works with comedy, or a particularly aggressive or tongue-in-cheek brand, you might get away with the occasional four-letter slip. However, for most brands – overt swearing is inappropriate and tips off customers that the company isn’t exactly professional.
People are less likely to approach your brand on social media with customer service concerns if humor – crass, especially – is the only dish you’re serving.
There’s a right and a wrong way to do political or social commentary as a brand. Brands that stand behind positive and well-meaning causes will always be perceived positively by most people and that’s fine. However, taking sides in a political debate, trashing a candidate, or making a bold stance is, well, bold. If your organization is okay with losing followers and buyers because of your political affiliations, that’s perfectly fine. However, that should be predetermined by decision-makers at the company with clear-cut guidelines.
Don’t let an intern make your company into a political martyr on Twitter unless you’re ready for the ramifications.
It’s cool when brands re-post customers’ artwork, photos, or quotes about life – it’s called “user generated content” and it’s a prevalent social media tactic for businesses.
However, taking and sharing graphics, words, or ideas from other people or companies without credit is a definite no-no.
Not only does this render your brand disingenuous and uncreative, but it could cost you legally, too.
This is also a minor offense in general but errors can lead to problems fast. One letter off of the word you meant to use can turn into a word that you DEFINITELY did not mean to use.
I’ll let your imagination run wild with the possibilities.
While innocent, linking to the wrong page, using the wrong date for an upcoming event, naming the wrong person in recognition, or otherwise flubbing on information for users can lead to mayhem. Even if these errors are swiftly corrected, social media users love to screenshot and are not quick to forget.
One way to lose customers is by failing to respond to their customer service-related posts that mention your brand. There’s more on this later. Another way, is to respond to customer service requests in the worst ways possible. I watch brands respond to complaints from customers with “There’s nothing we can do for you. Sorry.” And I just cringe. You didn’t just lose the customer you were speaking to – you lost the 150 other customers who read that post. If you’re a bigger brand, 10x, 100x, or even 1000x that number. Being kind to customers will get you social brownie points. The reverse will get you noticed, too.
Don’t link to pornography in your social media posts by accident. I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this but enough celebrities, public figures, and brand managers have done this that it has become necessary to say. Don’t link to random stuff and ESPECIALLY don’t link to pornography. Check your links before you post!
Let’s run through a scenario: I buy a pair of shoes from XYZ company. My shoes never show. The hours that The XYZ support team is available by phone are the exact hours that I work: Monday through Friday, 9 to 5. I will either have to use my lunch break and hope to get through in 30 minutes OR accept that I have lost out on fifty bucks, with no cool shoes to show for it. I then have an idea: I can tweet @ XYZ Shoes to get my issue addressed. If XYZ is smart, they’ll see my tweet, respond to it within 24 hours, and get my shoes to me. If they do, the rest of the world will see that XYZ is cool to customers and I’ll even Tweet a picture of myself wearing my sweet shoes. If they don’t, I’ll make sure the rest of the world knows that, too. If you’re XYZ, what are you going to do?
This is super important. There are brands selling millions of dollars’ worth of product every year on social media that don’t even have actual websites or brick-and-mortar stores (though FYI – I would never recommend not having a website).
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snap, LinkedIn, and a few other niche platforms are essential for SEO success, customer engagement, market research, brand recognition, digital presence, and customer support. If you’re not consistent, set yourself up on a publishing platform where you can schedule posts ahead of time and think about social media in a strategic way.
How do you avoid Social Media Faux Pas for good?
Using a social scheduling and publishing application is a smart way to keep your social media accounts clean. If you use an app, your in-and-out employees or freelancers don’t have official logins which means everything they schedule for posting can be screened before it goes public. Also, planning ahead and running your social content through an editorial process helps content get QA’d before it goes out. The more eyes on your posts before they are public, the better.