The world of Social Media is forever changing. Thinking back to when Facebook first made its debut in 2004 as a way to connect people... and when “poking” was still a thing. Social Networking has since become a way of life; allowing us today, to not only connect with people but to be inspired and discover the things we care about - from an Insta Story of your Auntie enjoying Afternoon Tea to the latest, shiny, product from your favourite brand.
The opportunity to create beautiful, engaging stories is now limitless. With dozens of platforms, each with varying formats and user demographics it's tricky to know how to correctly optimise a post for each platform / audience. Especially now that our attention span for viewing content averages less than that of a goldfish. (<< Check out .ROXY James' blog if you haven't already!)
With great power comes great posts... take note of these common Social Media mistakes and up your social game:
1.Using multiple hashtags on Facebook
Have you ever logged into Facebook to search for a hashtag and find a post from a brand you like? No? That’s because hashtags aren’t really intended for Facebook. A hashtag is an identifying word which can be used to mark relevant content, and whilst key to Instagram and Twitter, they are not so much on Facebook. One hashtag on a Facebook post is fine, however any more would be pointless and messy.
2. Buying followers (on any social media platform)
Whilst the idea of 50,000 followers for £40 seems like a bargain. Bought followers are actually damaging your brand. Anybody with an ounce of sense can see that your followers are fake. Why would 50,000 Chinese Russians be following you? These such followers generally won’t interact with your content either, thus lowering your overall engagement rate and making your posts seem quite mundane. It is however possible to buy followers that do engage, but this is not helpful either. As any future promotions you run using lookalike audiences or promoting to your followers will become skewed and your audience won’t convert.
3. Posting too often
There is such a thing as too much of a good thing...and there is certainly such a thing as too much of a mediocre thing! The old saying quality over quantity is absolute at this moment - not only to prevent unfollows, but also to not be penalised by algorithms. Hence fourth, do not spam your followers and fans thrice daily; remember that most people use social media to interact with their friends and family rather than brands (hence Facebook’s latest updates). Plus, if you’re not boosting on Facebook (and you should be) you’re going to get a much lower engagement rate on 15 pieces of content a week than you will on five. In addition to this, Instagram's mythical and incomprehensible algorithms could give you less organic exposure for posting five times a day, especially if you're using the same hashtags each time.
Note: the exceptions to this rule are Twitter (say what you want, when you want!) and Instagram Stories (again, as long as it's fun, keep posting).
4. Getting the tone of voice wrong
Your tone of voice is key for social. Think of your brand as a person: is it young, old, modern, cynical or skeptical? Think about your target audience by using Insight tools and GA. Find out who you’re actually talking to, and then talk as you would in real life. Your gran (unless she's a total scream) isn't likely to twig Mean Girls references or memes, and an audience aged 16-24 is unlikely to get a reference to Frank Sinatra. So keep it natural, consistent and comprehensible.
5. Not replying to negative comments or reviews
Deleting or ignoring negative publicity is essentially asking for a huge kickback, and could miss an opportunity to present your brand in a brighter light. There's always one person sitting at home who'll round up a posse and leave you a hundred 1* reviews if you don't address a problem head-on - so be polite, mature, helpful and punctual when replying to comments - 90% of the time complainers will back down or message you privately. Reapond by asking for details regarding the situation and take the conversation off your page or profile if possible, but if not, the nastier the person gets, the politer you shoul be. As ones gran would say, 'Rise above it' and the right people will soon see who's leading the posse.
6. Not crediting user-generated content
Same scenario as above; many brands use customers' Instagram or Facebook photos without permission and end up being called out on it. The best practise is always to ask politely whether you can re-post a picture or video...with a credit, of course. However, if this seems like too much fuss just for one post, at least have the courtesy to tag and thank the original poster to minimise your chances of an embarrassing comment like ”one can only assume one does not have a disposable camera of their own?. But..explains why your pinching my pics!”
7. Cross-platform auto-posting
With the variety of scheduling software available today and the variety of posting options, many brands make the mistake of putting up one post and then just copying it across all channels. It's hard enough to get fans to follow the same brand across several channels, or to get a brand and its sub-brand's followers to overlap; why risk unfollows by spamming your audience with the same content? It's easy to re-purpose and change - don't risk it
8. Using stock imagery
Stock imagery should be kept to a minimum. This isn't the early days of the internet; anyone half-savvy will have seen 5,000 adverts and posts in the last month or so and pretty much all stock images (especially those taken from free sites) are beginning to become a bit recognisable. Just avoid where possible, or if you must use them, crop, edit, add your own branding, logo, text or similar when you can. The same does go for videos!
9. Mis-using platforms
Lots of brands still take the basic function of each social media channel too literally. Example: a brand on my LinkedIn uses it for 'recruitment': by this they mean posting three statuses a week about vacancies. LinkedIn is a B2B platform where businesses can establish their identity and brand trust through employees, news, corporate events, articles and similar; whilst it can be used for recruitment (when an account is properly upgraded) the chances are, other brands, friends, relatives and employees are not following you to see repetitive statuses about job openings. On top of which, one well-placed, paid-for job advert is visible to all searching candidates. Ten statuses imply that you can't fill your vacancies and that your turnover rate is high. Look up the definition of each platform if you're just starting out, and read the best practises.
10. Assuming anyone who calls themselves an 'influencer' will be helpful
The benefits of using influencers are undeniable, but is every influencer right for you? How large and relevant is their audience? If you're a restaurant, how will an influencer who specialises in rock climbing or extreme sports be of use to you and even if they do post something lovely, is that what their audience wants to see or relate to? The key is to find someone relevant, with a high engagement rate, whose followers are genuine and interested in what they post. 90k followers means nothing if each post garners 11 likes and no comments. Step two: agree with your influencer as to terms of engagement. What are they getting, and what are they delivering in return? Don't leave it up to them if you want something specific.
For more advice on improving your social media or to have a free, no-strings chat with us about how we could help with your strategy, contact us today.