I think we’ve moved past the phase of social media being the “new” thing for businesses as most have begun or fully entrenched themselves within it. Unfortunately, many companies have dove into the social media pool with no idea how to properly swim, and now they just look like fools. Today, I want to get 5 pet-peeves of what these said companies do off of my chest.
1 – Don’t Listen
Guess what? If you have a business, and you’re on social media, chances are that someone, at lease once, has tried to reach out to you via social media. Are you there and are you listening to what they have to say?
I am not alone in the fact that I have had both good and bad experiences with brands on social media. I often tweet and/or post my feelings and opinions about a brand or product, and more often than not, my cheers and jeers fall onto deaf ears (hey, that rhymed!). Obviously, I don’t mind as much when a brand doesn’t respond to a praise I have for them, but what grinds my gears is when there are no responses to my complaints, not even an apology.
Not responding to negative commentary on social media is a huge no-no for companies; even if you can’t rectify the problem, acknowledging the customer and apologizing for their inconvenience goes a long, long way. If you are going to be on social media, fully commit to it and hire the right person to be there full-time, listening.
2 – Please, Be the Annoying Car Salesman
Yes, I know you have the best product ever known to man, and I know that you have the best service this side of the Mississippi, but no, I do not want to hear about it every time you open your mouth. News flash: social media is not a broadcasting tool, it is an engagement tool.
If you examine your social media content and the majority of it is only about you and your company, you’re doing it wrong. I’ll use the example of a car salesman: if a car salesman is pushy and in the customer’s face about their product, they will innately drive the customer away. Consumers are much more attracted to the salesman who can talk calmly, confidently, and most importantly, honestly about themselves as well as competition.
So please, join in the conversation; listen to what others are saying and engage, don’t just pick up the megaphone and tell everyone only about yourself.
3 – Post Things That are Definitely Not Up Your Alley
If you are a clothing store/manufacturer and I follow you on social media, chances are that I want to see what you have to say about clothing and fashion. I don’t think you have a reputable opinion on pizza or garden tools, so please stay out of it. If I want to hear about political issues and topics, I’m not going to follow ESPN.
Too often I see companies post things that aren’t relevant to their industry. Yes, the occasional human-interest or feel-good story that appeals to everyone, regardless of demographic is okay, but don’t be naive and think that people want to hear about industries outside of your expertise from you.
Looking at points #2 and #3 on this list, you can use these to help with your content strategy; you should post content that is not always about yourself, but about the industry in general. For example, if you’re a wind turbine generator manufacturer, feel free to post anything related to wind and renewable energy. Consumers assume that you already know more than them about that industry, so why not take advantage of that and position yourself as a thought-leader and post relevant content.
4 – Be Really, Really, Informal and Waste My Time
There is a fine line between being “real” and being “too corporate” with your speech on social media, and I agree that you should use social media to help your company become more personable, but I want to shine light on the extreme of when companies and brands become “too informal”.
Companies shouldn’t be afraid to be casual in their speech when posting to content, but companies are falling into the trap of hiring 21 year-old college graduates that are accustomed to using words and acronyms that are too informal for their posts. Phrases and slang words such as OMG, FML, ROFL, cray (short for “crazy”), and YOLO, as well as the over-usage of the terms “seriously” or “literally” do not belong in your social media speech. If they are, eliminate them immediately.
Along with being informal, make sure you deliver value in your posts. While the occasional “congratulations so-and-so” are okay, the majority of your posts should include links, photos, and/or videos. Share information of value with your customers, don’t be that 12-year-old girl wasting my time with posts about what you had for lunch.
5 – Be an Egg-Head
Being an egg-head is a figurative term for not having a fully filled-out profile (i.e. Twitter users with no profile picture). Again, this is boils down to if you’re going to be in social media, be fully-invested in doing so and commit to it.
Your company’s social media pages are in fact secondary websites. You wouldn’t leave your primary website under construction or incomplete with missing text and/or broken images, and you shouldn’t accept any less from your social media platforms. More often than not, consumers will see your social media pages long before they ever visit your website, so you don’t want to give them a bad first-impression.
Long story short, fill out your profiles, write the short bio, and add the background images and thumbnails. Taking the time to make sure your page looks good and stands out will go a long way.