That’s So 2015: Avoiding Embarrassing Social Media Faux Pas

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Social media is set for world domination, and nearly every human on this planet uses it in one way or another. It’s how we communicate with each other and how brands and consumers engage in conversations. Well, it’s supposed to be. Some brands have taken to social media because they’re supposed to, but haven’t quite mastered how to play the game. Don’t be one of those dreaded brands that just doesn’t get it! If you do nothing else, avoid these faux pas like the plague.

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Shameless Self-Promotion Looks Good on No One

The 80-20 rule should guide all your social media efforts. This rule suggests that 80 percent of the content you put out across social should be educational, fun, inspiring—content that speaks to your persona, but doesn’t promote your products or services. The other 20 percent should be promotional content, done tastefully, that encourages visits to your website, conversions and all the other CTAs that will lead to your desired conversion. Twenty percent, that’s it.

This is our number one social media faux pas and for good reason. Social media should be social. Erik Fisher, Social Media Manager at Social Media Examiner, suggests that brands “[Remember that] there is a real human being on the other end of every interaction [and that] can go a long way to prevent or smooth over any issues.” This isn’t to say you need to get rid of all marketing promotions on social media, but rather that there’s a right and wrong way to do it. Choose the right way.

Snore Fest

Social media has become a hub for stalking friends and family (you know you do it, too!), scanning for breaking news and digesting content quickly. As you’d expect, all this activity creates a busy newsfeed. Try scrolling through your Twitter feed for posts from the last hour. How long do you have to scroll? Chances are, it’s likely a way’s back if you have a decent amount of followers. Facebook and Twitter feeds can be busier than I-75 during rush hour, so if your content doesn’t stand out in some way, you can kiss views and traffic buh-bye.

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Creating interesting content can be challenging, but a perfect mix of curated and original content is a great start to avoiding the snore fest that is boring content. The second way you can combat this? Entrepreneur says to widen the scope of your content. Do you always post inspirational quotes and blogs? Try adding video, photos and content with questions to engage readers. If you can’t put in the effort to diversify your content, readers will think you’re not only boring (the social media kiss of death), but that you also don’t care enough to put out engaging content. Yikes!

Another way to come off as boring is to refuse to engage with followers. It takes a little bit more effort, but ditch the canned responses. If people are asking you questions or engaging with your content, they want a human response from you. A pre-written, “Thanks for sharing!” comment isn’t going to cut it. Instead, try something like, “We couldn’t agree more! Curious about your thoughts on x…” There are so many ways to be engaging—don’t fall into the copy and paste regime!

Consistency is Not the Same as Boring

It can be easy to confuse consistency for being boring, but when it comes to social media, consistency will go far. People identify with brands in a number of ways. These include:

  • Logos and color schemes
  • Brand persona
  • Keywords (funky, trendy, outdoors)

When these associations are changed, but not consistently, it can cause confusion among your fans. If your Twitter background photo is of NYFW, your Facebook cover photo shouldn’t be of a night sky. Images don’t need to be identical, but they need to make sense and create some sort of consistency. A few other ways to maintain consistency include how you engage with people on social (what’s your brand personality?), when you post and your messaging.

You want loyal customers, and that starts when your messaging, personality and images are consistent with each other and with your brand. If you’re a B2B serious brand, posting hilarious memes and using casual language won’t reflect your brand. This will lead to your viewers as seeing you as unauthentic, which is worse than nearly anything else that could happen on social. So, be consistent, not boring.

But All the Cool Kids Are Doing It!

Okay, we get it. The brand you strive to emulate is on every social channel ever created and you want to do the same thing. But does it make sense for you? Entrepreneur says no. Trying to be active on all social media channels can result in pushing out content just to have content. This is your quality vs. quantity argument and quality should always come out on top–wait for it…for all brands. Always. If you can’t commit to quality content across all channels, commit to the top five that you think are most important and manageable.

We also suggest choosing the right channels. A food brand or channel that hosts cooking shows should definitely have a YouTube channel to promote content. A brand that sells construction equipment? Not so much. Being on social to be on social will likely do more harm than good when your followers get confused about your brand, messaging or persona.

Social media management is more than simply liking and retweeting content; it requires monitoring, creativity and constant change. These are some great tips on how not to do social media, but if you’re lost on where to start with best practices, come say hello! We’re social media pros and are happy to answer your questions, strategize and execute your social media plan. After all, you deserve to be a boss on social media, too.

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