How low can brands go on social media?
In the past couple of years, the social universe has been treated to a comedy of errors so shocking it should be the premise of a Judd Apatow movie.
We’ve seen a clothing company celebrate the Fourth of July with a picture of the Challenger explosion. We’ve seen a tone-deaf pizza brand push frozen pies on domestic violence victims. We’ve even seen an airline Tweet a pornographic image in response to a customer complaint.
I do wonder if his issue was ever rectified.
Brands have set the bar so close to the carpet that it’s distorted the very meaning of the word “mistake.” No wonder some social marketers think that as long as they aren’t being racist, sexist or insensitive — which apparently is really hard to do — they are doing good enough.
If it were only that simple.
The truth is that many of the mistakes made on social media are of a more insidious variety. While they might be not egregious enough to set the Internet on fire, they could be damaging your brand’s reputation all the same.
Here are five of the biggest mistakes brands make on social media:
- Lowballing Influencers: Social influencers can help you drive engagement — as long as you’re willing to, you know, pay them. This seems like a no-brainer, but not all brands see it that way. “When brands try to leverage influencers for free, they’re basically asking for half-assed work,” said Thea Neal, Vice President of Digital & Social Media at Fleishman Hillard. “Paying influencers is a crucial part of quality content. It’s not a blogger’s job to promote your product just so you can add to your impressions total.”
- Keep Your Gloves On: Customers can be prickly in person. On social media, they can be downright nasty. Still, you must resist the urge to fight back. Getting into a public mud-slinging contest will do nothing to mollify your customer, and worse, will make your brand look really petty. Click-bait seeking bloggers love a good social squabble. Indulge them and you might end up on one of these lists.
- Keep It Fresh: Sponsored posts on Twitter are great for impressions, but they can get stale in a hurry if you leave them up for too long. Even worse, they can annoy users and make your brand seem sluggish and lazy. “If it’s August and you’re still promoting the same Tweet with the same image and message you’ve been using since February, your social media strategy isn’t keeping up,” said Neal.
- Add a Twist: Filling out your content calendar each month is a chore, especially if your brand has a presence on multiple platforms. While it’s OK to use similar content across various platforms, do not simply copy and paste from one to another. After all, your 140-character post on Twitter might not resonate so well with your Instagram fans. Add a unique twist that reflects the experience customers expect on each respective platform.
- #HashtagOverkill: Hashtags are arguably the most innovative feature on social media, allowing brands to improve their visibility by joining and even starting conversations. There’s no limit to the number of hashtags you can use, a luxury some brands abuse to their own demise. Too many hashtags is trying too hard and will turn your post into an eyesore. And for the love of Jack Dorsey, #stopusinghashtagsthatreadlikesentences.
By Alex Altman
To learn more about social media, continue to read the No Red Lights blog.