Marketers Beware: Don't Spook Your Social Media Audience

The instant feedback loop that makes social media so exciting for companies is also the channel’s biggest challenge for marketers. For every brand with a viral real-time marketing tweet like Oreo dunking in the dark, the world watches a brand’s reputation swirl down the drain in a Facebook comment thread, like the restaurateurs featured on Kitchen Nightmares earlier this summer.

Social media is a fast-moving target that businesses can no longer afford to overlook. Don’t let a fear of knowing what to say or “correct” ways to use social media correctly prevent you from participating. Listening to what others are saying about you in social media can be as valuable as creating unique content.

After listening to what customers (and sometimes former customers) are saying about your company, you’ll feel more confident about starting to engage with your social media audience. One of the biggest mistakes marketers make is using social media as a one-way conversation channel.

In this list, we’ll share some ghoulish social media practices that could get your company in hot water with customers. Quickly.

The lengthy hashtag

Hashtags let people follow a conversation about a specific topic — so let them talk freely! For programs that have character counts, a lengthy hashtag makes your customer edit their thoughts and may even reduce the number of shared posts.

Not following any of your fans

Even if you’re using a separate program to track brand mentions, not following other users gives the appearance that you’re not listening or that you don’t care about what your fans are saying.

Auto- or pre-scheduled updates

While creating a queue of status updates or posts all at once seems like a time-saver, social is “of the moment.” You risk sounding clueless or worse — completely insensitive — if there’s a breaking news story happening when your scheduled tweet goes live, as some realized during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.

Resharing every fan compliment or reply

It can be quite tempting to share the kudos and compliments customers who sing your praises online. But social media’s value isn’t in a “mirror mirror on the Facebook wall” approach. Show, don’t tell. Storify those comments, favorite or respond directly to that fan and keep doing what they think is so awesome.

Crossposting content teasers

You have a great new blog post that your fans will love and you’re ready to promote the topic on your Facebook and Twitter page. If you’re tempted to go the 2-for-1 route and crosspost the same teasers across channels, you may be inadvertently clipping important information from the post. Don’t make your reader work harder than they have to.

Crossposting Content Teasers

And the scariest practice of all:

Deleting negative comments

Attempting to prevent bad news from spreading won’t end well. A customer that is upset enough to leave a negative Yelp/Foursquare/Facebook/blog review will only be further fueled to find out their comment has been censored. Thus starts a chain reaction you could be dealing with for much longer. The best solution is to deal with the negative commenter directly and invite them to speak with you further. Offline.

Happy Halloween from Delphic Digital. Leave a comment here or tweet us @delphicdigital to share your scariest social media encounters.

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