By now everybody (unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 10 years) is aware of how relevant social media is to brand-building and brand awareness. Not everyone has yet embraced its usefulness, but each day, more and more people get onboard. Facebook alone now has 1.5 billion users. Just think about the potential reach! If you’re not using social media to generate brand awareness, you’re not doing yourself any favors.
That being said, if you are using social media, but not using it effectively, you’re wasting your time. Here are 4 ways that brands are doing it wrong – and how they/you can get it right…
1. Boasting & Hard-Selling Rather Than Engaging
Stop being so narcissistic! People don’t care about how wonderful your products or services are nearly as much as you think they do. At least not if you’re shoving it down their throats at every given opportunity. Take it down a notch. Engage with your social networking audience. Post things that are relevant, interesting, fun, engaging and most of all, useful. Not just things that tout your brand as being the best thing since sliced bread. You know the old expression, “If you build it, they will come”? Well, build your brand by engaging your audience and making them want to engage with you – and customers will start rollin’ in. Remember, people don’t like to be sold to – they like to be intrigued and informed and entertained.
2. Trying to Make Use of Every Social Platform Known to Mankind
There’s such a thing as overkill. Are you aware of just how many social platforms are in existence today? It’s not just Facebook and Twitter anymore. Not by a long shot. Here’s a list of just 21 of the most popular – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. No matter how large your staff is, you couldn’t possibly have the resources to keep an engaging social media campaign going on each and every platform. Sure, your brand would be represented on all of em’, but not well and not effectively. So, focus on the sites where your most of your customers are – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are good bets, but do your research – and limit your social networking endeavors to the sites that will bring you the most traffic.
3. Not Responding to Customer Comments – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Ah – now this is a biggie! What’s the good of being on social media if you’re not going to be social?? When a customer or prospective customer comments on one of your posts, whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or your blog, whatever you do, RESPOND! And not just to the positive and happy comments. And none of that automated bull that so many brands like to make use of. Social networking is for being human – not for being a brand stuck somewhere in the vast cyberspace. Remember the part about engaging? Well, it’s a two-way street. If someone says something glowing about your product or service, or even just makes a nice comment on one of your posts, thank them and tell them that you appreciate their input/insight. And if someone posts a comment that’s not quite so complimentary or that voices a complaint or opposing view, thank them and tell them that you appreciate their input/insight – and then (if it’s a complaint), let them know that you’re sorry that their interaction with your brand wasn’t as positive as it could have been and offer them something that will hopefully rectify the situation. But whatever you do, don’t ignore people on social media. And double whatever you do, don’t engage negatively on social media. Telling someone to take a flying leap because they were less than satisfied with a service you provided isn’t the way to make social media work for you.
4. Creating Boring, Useless Content Rather than Helpful and Fresh Content On Facebook, you know the guy who constantly posts what he had for breakfast or that his new baby just learned her fifth word? Well, don’t be that guy. No one wants to engage with that guy. No one, other than his mother, cares! What you want to post is useful content - helpful content that’s relevant to your brand and to your industry. Can you post the odd joke or general interest story? Of course. No one’s saying that you have to be all business all the time, but for goodness sake, don’t start boring the stuffing out of people, or you’re not only going to lose your social networking audience, you’re going to lose your customers due to lack of credibility – and boring people to death. Keep it fresh and upbeat and engaging and useful. Answer questions, offer solutions and keep people coming back to read your posts because they’re acquiring information there that they’re not going to get elsewhere. If you’re not already blogging, consider starting a blog – it’s one of the best ways there are of imparting relevant information to an audience who’s going to appreciate it. Don’t know what to blog about? Well, what questions are you asked by your customers? Most of those will make for wonderful blog posts that will be read and enjoyed.
Social networking isn’t rocket science, but it’s certainly something that requires attention, research, time, thought and strategy. And when done right, the rewards to your brand can be exponential.