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15 big social media mistakes companies make and how to avoid them

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | Oct. 24, 2013
Social media experts discuss the most common social networking business blunders and what companies can do to improve their social media IQ.

5. Focusing on quantity of followers instead of quality. "Some companies are willing to do anything to get more followers, fans or likes from buying followers to staging a fake Twitter hack," says Dave Hawley, senior marketing director of SocialChorus, a provider of advocate marketing solutions. "The problem is, likes don't equal sales."

The solution: "Focus on quality over quantity. It's more valuable for a company to have 100,000 highly engaged advocates than 1,000,000 followers or fans," many of whom have zero interest in your brand or may not even be real, Hawley says. "A quick [or fake] fan isn't going to translate into more sales, which is why brands should focus on building loyal, lifelong fans and followers who will become brand advocates."

6. Over-posting and posting inappropriate content."Although it's important to get your message across on social media, too many posts can lead to 'unlikes' and 'unfollows,'" reports Nicolle Hiddleston, social media manager, Saatva Luxury Mattress. So take the time to find out when your fans and followers are most likely to be online and post judiciously, say several times a day as opposed to several times an hour every hour.

Moreover, "instead of posting for the sake of it, companies should actively listen to what their audience is interested in and post relevant content that is up to date and that sparks meaningful interaction," Hiddleston says. Similarly, while "a cute meme or gif is funny every now and then, [each] should be used sparingly."

7. Newsjacking. "Newsjacking is a sexy term that means stealing mindshare from trending news or an event," explains Stacey Miller, social media manager at cloud marketing provider Vocus. So "exercise caution before inserting yourself into the conversation. Without evaluating the implications, your company risks looking insensitive or ignorant, which can [harm] your reputation."

8. Not monitoring social media for suggestions, complaints or questions regarding your business or products."Customers are talking about you online, whether you like it or not," says Adi Bittan, the cofounder & CEO of OwnerListens.com, which helps businesses avoid negative repercussions of social media. If you have a Facebook page and/or Twitter handle, "customers assume and expect you to be monitoring [them]," she says. "If no one is listening or acknowledging customer posts, customers assume you don't care."

9. Deleting or ignoring negative comments — or responding in kind. "Any company that uses social media for marketing purposes today cannot afford to delete or ignore negative comments," states Gloria Rand, an SEO copywriter and social media consultant. "It only makes matters worse," she says. "Best to apologize (even if you haven't done anything wrong) and offer to contact the person by email to work out the problem. A simple acknowledgement of a problem can prevent a potential PR nightmare — and often makes the customer so happy, the company gets a PR boost instead!"

 

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