We have written extensively about the importance of social media and why and how businesses should harness its power.
Promote content, be friendly, follow conversations and post multiple times a day. All in all, sounds fairly straightforward to execute.
However, sometimes it is equally instructive to talk about what one SHOULDN’T do in order to learn what works.
Here are a few things you should absolutely avoid on social.
Oversharing/spamming your followers
The most unfortunate truth about marketing is that consumers don’t like being sold to. They prefer making their mind up in their own time and purchase when they are ready.
No one likes in-your-face marketing or a constant barrage of promotional material.
Though content creation focuses on quality of the material and not on marketing products and services, businesses can still annoy followers by tweeting their content multiple times every single hour.
I’ve seen that happen. It’s not pretty. It’s annoying.
Now I know we have said elsewhere on this blog that one should share their content a few times a day, but how often is too often?
It’s a delicate balance to achieve. I would say about six to eight times during the span of a working day is good enough. That must include all your posts – not just those that promote your content.
Experiment by posting at different times in different social platforms. See how your content is being received or if you are generating user engagement.
Posting frequency is not an exact science, but surely we know when we are spamming.
Sharing poorly written or irrelevant content
Our presence on social has a two-fold purpose: a) to promote our content, and b) to engage with our followers.
Content promotion, however, only works when the content is relevant and useful to its audience. Sharing poorly written content can cause people to unfollow you. Therefore, never be in a hurry to push out content in order to meet your daily social media update goals. Wait until you have a bank of shareable content and then start publishing it strategically.
Getting into heated arguments with followers
This is surely the fastest way to lose followers.
The last thing you want to do is appear impolite, impatient, sarcastic or disrespectful – in short anything other than calm and professional – towards ANYONE.
Customers can be nasty, almost cruel in their assessment of us. Instinctively, we want to defend ourselves right then and there. However, it is always best practice to take the conversation offline if it starts to become heated.
Trashing your competition
This would be stooping low, another regrettable thing to do.
We compromise our own credibility when we do this. Why do we need to talk smack about anyone? If you must comment on your competition, keep it within professional boundaries.
There is a lot to focus on when we are on social. Our participation should be constructive and useful to those who come across our tweets.
Not responding to comments
It is irritating for clients to comment on your posts and for them not to hear back at all. It is also bad manners.
Make a point to at least read all the comments, and respond where a reply is warranted. Do this with everyone, including clients, customers, influencers and general followers. Questions especially should be answered and thoughtful comments on your blog acknowledged.
A word about auto-scheduled tweets: I follow a young, successful entrepreneur who is always tweeting about how to increase social media traffic and linking to his posts multiple times a day. He clearly does not believe in sharing his own content less and that of others more, which seems to be working for him.
However, I once clicked on a tweet of his, intrigued by the headline, only for it to lead me to a broken link. Since I was eager to read the article, I replied to him stating that the link wasn’t working and that I’d like to read the article so could it be fixed please.
He did not respond.
Instead, after an hour I saw another tweet of his in my news feed, this time linking out to a different article.
And after yet another hour, more of the same.
I could by now make out these were auto-scheduled tweets and replying to them wasn’t going to get me a response. I know it is normal for businesses to do so, but it was a damper.
People want to engage with you the moment they like something you have written – not later on in the evening, and certainly not the next day, by when the momentum is lost and they have moved on.
So while auto-scheduling tweets serves its purpose, it should not come across as robotic.
(In case you are wondering, I never heard back from the guy, but I won’t unfollow him since I find his posts useful. I would, however, think twice before engaging with him again.)
Be clear about your purpose on social
The aim of our social media activity should be to create an enhanced presence for our brand and interact with existing and prospective customers. We want to promote ourselves as knowledgeable business owners keen on helping our clients. Resist anything that does not contribute towards this end goal. Be a force for the positive in the social community and you will see an increased follower count and an improved reputation.