These days, it seems like everybody is using social media. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t have a Facebook or Instagram account. Statistics have shown that there are now 2.2 billion social media users around the world, and the numbers are expected to reach 3 billion by 2020. With such a massive reach, it’s no wonder that every year more companies use social media as part of their marketing strategy.
However, it’s not enough to have a social media account; you also need to use effective strategies to make them work. Unfortunately, a lot of companies are still behind the times and are using outdated tactics that may actually be doing them more harm than good.
Are you guilty of any of these social media faux pas?
1. Engaging Only When You Need Something
Social media is a communication tool and the interaction goes two ways. Some brands look at social media strictly as a promotional tool and only post when they need something. But today’s consumers are pretty savvy and know when they’re being used so don’t expect this strategy to be well-received.
Engage your audience regularly. Ask questions. Join conversations and make sure you actually have something worthwhile to say. Don’t just show up, post a link, and then disappear. Personalizing your interactions with customers is time-consuming, but it’s a great way of engaging them and build a rapport.
2. Using Too Many Hashtags
Hashtags are great! They make your post easy to find on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Plus, it’s fun trying to come up with witty hashtags. What’s not fun is when hashtags are used excessively so stop if you’re guilty of this. An avalanche of hashtags makes you look desperate and spammy, especially if you’re hashtagging every adjective that comes to your mind even if they’re not relevant to your product (ex. #blue, #cool, #nice, #small).
Take the time to come up with an appropriate hashtag. Be deliberate in your description and ensure they’re relevant to your product. More importantly, make sure your post has more words than hashtags. This will ensure that your audience is focusing on your message and not on the #.
3. Jumping on the Social Media Bandwagon
Reacting to every trending topic is one social media trick that you need to let go. Some brands jump on a popular topic or meme simply to start a conversation or to appear relevant. If it doesn’t fit your demographic or brand then your audience doesn’t need to hear your thoughts about it. For instance, your post congratulating Prince Harry about becoming a father will fall flat when your main audience is in Southeast Asia.
If you are going to say something about a particular topic, make sure your post will bring something to the table. Ask yourself if what you’ll be sharing is relevant to the discussion, your brand and market. If not, then there’s no need to post that meme.
4. Inappropriate Tagging of People or Companies
Tagging is a great way of calling attention to your posts. But it doesn’t make sense to tag people or brands in promos or images when they’re not in it or have no clear connection to the post. This move is reminiscent to a mass email campaign. It’s obviously generic, sloppy, and just as irritating. It’s also quite rude to tag someone without making an effort to personalize the request or post.
You’ll have a higher chance of getting a brand to help you if you send a direct message or tag them in a separate post first. If the company or influencer is someone you have worked with in the past, then include their links in your post. For instance, you can thank the influencer for their article on your company and include the link. Then segue to your promo and call-to-action.
5. Limiting Posts to the “Best Time”
Studies have shown that there are best times to post on social media. However, these are calculated based on averages; on the times that the majority of users are active and engaged. But every demographic is different. What if your specific followers are not active during those reported “best times?”
Instead of relying on the aforementioned study, you should also conduct your own research. Utilize your social media tools and check when your audiences are really online. FB Insights will display this for your Page. There are also tools that will tell you when your Twitter followers are active. Experiment and post at different times and days. This will help you come up with your own unique pattern of engagement.
Social media is a great marketing tool. However, a strategy that works for one brand might not work for another. So make sure that the tactics you use are relevant to your company and your market.
[Featured image via Pixabay]