Social media can be an extremely effective and reliable B2B and B2C marketing and comms tool when used correctly. It has the power to boost a brand’s levels of customer engagement and participation, increase their sales and help them to stand out from their industry competition. However, done poorly, social media also has the power to turn customers off from a brand if the messages and interactions with followers are not up to scratch.
Below are CuCo’s Top 12 Do’s and Don’ts compiled by our very own Digital Marketing team that will help you to quickly build your brand’s social media following:
1. DON’T ignore your audience when they interact with you!
Social media provides brands with the unique opportunity to be in constant contact with their consumers. People have become accustomed to this 24/7 interaction and immediate reaction from brands. They want to feel valued and have their opinions heard. Therefore, one of the worst things a brand can do is not reply, or do so with a blanket or auto response.
2. If an event isn’t relevant to your brand – DON’T try and make a connection
It can be more than tempting to join in the conversation about current events, however, social media ‘fails’ often happen when a brand tries to force a connection with something which is blatantly self-promotional. For example, if your audience is not going to be interested or attending the next upcoming music festival, there is no point talking about it. Addressing sensitive disasters in the news is also a risky move. Ask yourself, will this be seen as admirable or insensitive to users? If you’re unsure, it’s best not to go there at all!
3. DON’T bombard your followers with hard sell messages
Your Followers will see straight through hard sells in your posts, especially if that is all you post about! Therefore, your posts that have hard marketing messages should be posted as a sort of “commercial break’ amongst all of your other, valuable, interesting or fun content. As a rule, if you post 10 times per week, imbed your hard sell in there just once, and you should definitely see an engagement increase!
4. DO build a social media strategy
Having a social media strategy is crucial to your brand’s social success. A strategy allows you to set goals and objectives with which you can measure impact. You should identify the way you monitor your campaigns, content distribution and user engagement in advance. For example, you can arrange procedures on how the company will respond to comments and complaints to prevent any further faux pas.
5. DO make sure you’re using hashtags correctly
Businesses often make the mistake of using inappropriate hashtags, simply because they think they would fit in well with the message they are trying to get across. Before ‘spamming’ your post with hashtags, take the time to do a search and find out what other people are using that hashtag for. You may well find that it represents the complete opposite of what it is you want to say, or it could even stand for a sensitive or inappropriate topic for advertising use.
6. DON’T take your social media ‘edginess’ presence too far…
With Facebook allowing its users to ‘hide’ posts on Facebook, you want to make sure that your social media presence isn’t boring. However, whilst some ‘tongue in cheek’ content is usually acceptable, just make sure that you don’t over do it! Make sure that you are regularly monitoring comments, and respond/ act upon any negative feedback ASAP. Once you lose a Follower, it is very unlikely you will ever see them again!
7. DO make sure your engagement is cohesive
Companies will often give access to their social media accounts to multiple members of staff within the business. It is crucial that the company has a cohesive, brand-building strategy for responding to messages and comments, as ineffective engagement can be detrimental as it undermines your brand’s tone of voice.
8. DO make sure you invest for the long-term
Before starting with a new social media channel, make sure that you have the ability to invest long-term in maintaining it. Nothing looks more unprofessional than a corporate social media account that was once active, but has decreased its activity to just a few random posts every few weeks. Make sure that you come up with a strategy which can bounce off of your existing marketing communications activities, this way you will always have a consistent flow of content.
9. DON’T interact with political or government issues
Upholding your own core values and beliefs as a business is very important, however, as mentioned earlier, when it comes to taking political stances for or against matters in the news, brands may risk offending their audience and losing followers. Trust us on this one – you are better off dodging engagement around any political or government topics altogether.
10. DO stay true to who you are
One of the biggest mistakes a brand can make is not staying true to it’s colours. It is often too tempting to make attempts to capitalise on trending topics, but creating ‘viral’ content more often than not leads to failure, as it isn’t relatable to the brand or their values.
11. DON’T focus your activity only on promotions and discounts
Social media channels are an effective tool for building a loyal customer base that is enforced by your brand. By focusing your social media activity solely on promotions and product discounts, you are not only missing out on opportunities to build relationships, but you are also coaching your customers to only shop with you when you’re offering a discount. Online Fashion brand Missguided is a great example of how to effectively engage with customers whilst also promoting open-ended discounts. Whilst they do promote discount codes on a regular basis, they also routinely post relatable quotes and fashion posts to encourage engagement from their customer base.
12. DO make sure your page paints your business in a positive light
Whilst you are always going to get the odd complaint or bad review on your social media accounts, make sure you’re not that brand with complaint after complaint on your page! Form a strategy that will keep this under control, and when customers do share negative experience, know how to make the situation right.