tech, social media, Twitter, Facebook

Earlier this year, I went through a list of the top 5 social media fails of 2014, and now that we’re close to the end of the year, it’s good to review where brands stand. Being a 24×7 medium, the risk of social media is that, users latch onto negative brand performance a lot more quickly than you want. This means, it is critical to keep an observant eye on what you need to improve on.

Startups that are just beginning to initiate their social media presence must not reinvent the wheel but simply start smart. No matter which part of the S-curve you are in as a firm, here are five terrible social media mistakes that you need to avoid!

1. Buying followers and fans

There are tonnes of Twitter (or any network) fake follower services being advertised on an everyday basis. Yes, a strong following will show trust. But a fake following that you bought over will amount to nothing. Tools exist (e.g. ManageFlitter, Fakers.Statuspeople.com) where your fake follower percentages can be seen. Sudden spikes in fans, growth to millions without any content will be noticed. And most importantly: buying followers or fans will look nice as a number but not yield any engagement. The key reason you are spending any time/ resources on social media is to further your business. With uninterested or random follower-ship, it is likely to have zero or no impact to your business goals. It will be far better to be slower and organic to earn real brand advocates!

2. No optimisation — Facebook to Twitter content loop shares

I see so many brands using that checkbox where the Facebook content gets posted to Twitter or vice versa. While it may work for a few updates, if all your updates are like that, it’s unprofessional and creates no impact. The networks behave differently, and re-sharing content without optimisation will not help. It doesn’t take so much effort to in fact optimise updates while you schedule them. Here is an example, I am using Outbox Pro as a tool and it takes me a little over five seconds to quickly create the right content for the the networks and also check how my updates look before they are posted. This happens without me having to individually log in to the networks and open 10 different browser tabs. It also automatically shortens the URLs. Looks far more professional, and is always more powerful when I know the audience behaviour is different!

outbox pro optimization

3. Inconsistency

Our attention spans are shorter than a gold fish, yes. In a world where millions of Tweets, Facebook updates and blogs are created per minute, what’s the easiest way to be forgotten? Simple — post once in two weeks. You can be assured you will lose a third of your following and bore everyone else. Cliched as it may sound, but the more you give, the more RoI you can expect. Social networks do not function without your efforts. The key is: have an editorial calendar for all your different networks and schedule, schedule and schedule. Use tools, stay relevant and creative!

4. Poor style and grammar

Let’s eat Martin. Let’s eat, Martin. Keep your brand safe from whatever it is that you’re eating. For a professional brand like yours, killing Martin is likely to end up in a jail term and make you the laughing stock of millions. From a survey in 2013, over 42 per cent customers disliked a brand’s poor spelling or grammar on social media. You don’t want to be in the hate list. Proof-read!

Be sure that you use a URL shortener, optimal images, follow network etiquette (use the hashtags right) while you’re at it!

5. You are never sharing real-time

All of us live through the torture of auto-DMs on an everyday basis. While it may be fine to do once in a while (also a stretch really), the easiest way to lose engagement or to turn people off is to be a computer that never responds. Or talks about anything real-time. It may sound like too much work when you’ve got to spend time on a social media network each day, but it doesn’t take more than 15 minutes to be authentic and present. No tool or robot can replace the human touch. If a customer is asking a question, you need to have a response rate that’s acceptable (within an hour is what people expect!). You can’t be always online, and it’s perfectly alright to let you audience know when you can speak directly or when they can expect a response. Train your consumers, but don’t ignore or bombard them with automation!

What social media mistakes have you noticed? Do share with me on Twitter!