There are about a million ways for your PR and marketing team to do social media “the right way” (and just as many blogs and articles with tips on how to do it). Talk about overwhelming! If your team waits until they have it all figured out, they’ll never get started. At some point, you just have to dive in and learn as you go.
With that said, your marketing and PR team should know at least a few social media basics if they are creating or managing your brand’s social media presence. I’ve found that sometimes the best lessons are learning what NOT to do, and social media is no exception.
Here are the top five social media mistakes I’ve encountered from managing brand profiles.
- DON’T create business profiles on social media until you have your branding sorted out. This is a common problem, especially for startups or parent companies with sub-brands. For example, one company I worked with had two Facebook business pages – one branded as the parent company, and one branded as the product name. We had to take a step back from social media and look at the bigger picture. Ultimately, we decided to focus on the product name, as this was in line with other PR efforts and the company’s new website. In some cases, it will make sense to have multiple accounts for different product lines or locations, but when a company is short on time and resources (as is the case with most businesses these days!), it’s best to focus efforts on one brand.
- DON’T take the shotgun approach and sign up for every social media platform you can find. Often, new clients come to us with a long list of social media platforms and ask us to manage all of them. This is rarely an effective use of resources. There is a misconception among businesses and entrepreneurs that you need to be on every single platform to “get out there.” But each platform has a different culture, language, audience, and set of rules. Instead, it’s best to pick one to three platforms that make sense for your brand and invest the time where it counts most.
- DON’T sign up for a “dummy” Facebook account for your business page (and then only give one person access to it). I encountered this nightmare with a new client recently. Someone in-house had created a dummy Facebook account and the business page was connected to that account – and that account only. Said employee then left the company and none of the marketing employees could access the fake account. In this particular situation, there was absolutely no way to gain access to the business page without the password to the dummy account since that was the only administrator to the business page. Thankfully, they eventually were able to remember the correct password – and I quickly added multiple administrators to the account to prevent it from happening again.
- DON’T set up auto posts from one social media platform to another. I’ve seen some clients do this, and I always recommend we stop the auto posting immediately. It sends a message of laziness and, quite frankly, it looks like you don’t know what you’re doing. Posts from Facebook to Twitter are often shortened and don’t make sense for the Twitter audience (for example, “like this post”); posts from Twitter to Facebook may include symbols that look out of place on Facebook (for example, RTs and @ replies). Instead, customize messages for each platform.
- DON’T forget your audience. This may be the biggest mistake of them all! Sometimes our clients think of social media as just another marketing tool, like an email campaign or a new brochure. They approach social media from the perspective of, “We want to tell people about this new product launch.” Social media is more than a broadcast tool. Instead, flip the question around and think, “What do our customers and partners want to know? How can we help meet their needs?” Maybe your new product has a new feature that meets your customers’ pain points. Make it about them.
I could add to the list, but these are definitely the most common based on my experience. Have you seen any of these mistakes in social media? Maybe your marketing or PR team even has something to add. Let us know in the comments!
Looking for more social media insights from Vantage PR? Take a look at this piece: Social Media Tips for Your Next Tradeshow.