Three social media mistakes that make your brand look bad

Everyday I encounter the output of those entrusted with their company or organization’s brand making mistakes on social media that make them look bad. I’m not saying “less effective,” or “marginal,” but wrong, bad, ignorant, even disappointing!

Here’s my rant, in no particular order:

  1. Writing posts that don’t fit the medium: I see way too often, even from big organizations with designated social media professionals, marketers who create content inappropriate for the stream they are using. Usually, it’s trying to use the exact Facebook post on Twitter, or vice versa. How many times in your Twitter feed do you read a story that makes no sense, only to run off into a link to Facebook? Or, on the other hand, in Facebook you read a post that looks like some multiple abbreviations-laden text to your buddy from last night, obviously created for Twitter. Folks, it doesn’t take more than a minute to adjust your content to fit its media context. Using an app or feed to auto-post from one social stream to another is a rookie mistake and not the product of professional marketers. Respect your audience well enough to creatively construct your posts appropriate to the network you are using.
  2. Making it hard to share: I’m still amazed at the media companies, who have been in the content creation business often for decades, who have a hard time providing decent social tools to allow their content to be shared. They have the “share” button, but what usually happens is that a web developer doesn’t put in the correct code, or fails to fill-out the proper fields in a website plug-in. Before I get into too much website inside baseball, let me just leave it to encourage you that on a weekly basis, you try to share an article from your blog, website or online newsletter using your social tools. The resulting post or tweet should be clearly laid out, identifying the source of the content and an easy link back to the site. If you can’t share, or if it looks like a mess, call your website guy or gal. Or you can call us.
  3. Don’t respond to your audience: One of the downsides of embracing social media as an avenue for marketing is that there is no downtime: people have access to your streams and brand on a 24/7 basis. If they want to have a conversation, you need to be willing to accommodate. Now I not asking you to lose sleep, but you should be willing to respond to requests or questions in a reasonably timely basis. The great thing is that given modern smartphone technology, we can be alerted to someone posting on our Facebook page, or mentioning our @account on Twitter or Instagram instantly. The problem comes in when you don’t respond to those questions or celebrate those mentions. Now, if someone is just throwing negative bombs on your page, you may just wish to let the community police itself and send it’s own rebuke to the rabble-rouser. But if someone needs assistance, or has an easy question, please, please try to help. And if someone is expressing some love for your brand, be extremely grateful with a like or retweet and a thanks…quickly!

As a “protector of the brand,” I want to make sure that I’m doing my best to avoid these annoying mistakes and create the best environment for my audience to be social with my organization. Sure I won’t get it right every time, but really striving for excellence is what it’s all about!

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