These days, we’re living in the information age, where breaking news, published articles, and posts can spread like wildfire. While it is vital for a business to have an established presence on social media, it is paramount to avoid making huge social media gaffes. Even the largest of corporations can’t avoid the occasional blunder. In early 2013, when UK food stores were undergoing a large horsemeat scandal, the Twitter account for Tesco supermarket posted this untimely tweet: “It’s sleepy time, so we’re off to hit the hay!” It may have been a silly mistake, but with the quick share of information via the internet, it will live in infamy for a long while.
How can your business avoid committing similar social media fouls? Let’s take a look at some social media mistakes you’re probably already making. Some quick fixes and increased attention to detail and you can be the life of the social media party (in a good way!).
- Make sure you’ve got a real person running your social media accounts. – Don’t let a computerised program do what a real employee should be doing. Bank of America had an embarrassing situation last year where their account began to retweet the same message on Twitter to anyone who commented on their feed. It was a bit ridiculous when hundreds of commenters were retweeted with offers to check on their Bank of America accounts. Don’t let a silly snafu like this happen to you and your business. Have a dedicated employee who can focus on producing stellar social media content and providing accurate and sensitive responses to any customer complaints or concerns. That being said…
- Do your best to respond with care to any customer complaints received via social media. – A business has a wonderful opportunity to stand out and gain loyal followers when they respond to criticism or problems with the right kind of answers. Companies that address each customer concern individually and provide solutions are doing a lot to solidify their reputation. Companies which go the extra mile to solve a client’s problem look even better. And, as always, a little well-intentioned and professional humour can help alleviate a tough situation.
- Include photos with any articles you post. – Social media inundates readers with information and stimuli. Often, articles and status updates go ignored, as most people require visuals like photos and drawings to really grab their attention. Make sure your post stands out by including a relevant photo, preferably one that is eye-catching and attractive. Including quality images will also increase the value of your shared content.
- Don’t go #HashtagCrazy, and always use relevant hashtags. – With the advent of the hashtag, a term which helps collect information based on categories and topics, some social media users have gone a little crazy. There are an endless number of hashtags you could include in any given post, but often we see businesses using far too many of these. Simple is always better. Definitely don’t include popular, trending hashtags that have nothing to do with your post or your business. This can end in embarrassment and lead to a possible serious social media faux pas. It can be stressed enough that keeping it simple is always the best option. In fact, why not include a single hashtag to go with several posts? This could be unique to your marketing plan, be very memorable, and is a wonderful choice to help promote a new campaign.
- Include a call to action in your posts. – The strength of a business is often in its brand engagement. Social media provides the ideal outlet for folks to get excited about your products and your company, and to hopefully talk about them. The more your company is talked about, especially when that talk is positive, and the more your customers share your content, the more your business will grow. One of the best ways to do this is to provide material that is interactive. Tell your followers to share a photo. Start contests that are based on social media “likes” or shares. Ask questions of your followers. Ask their opinions. Get them sharing about their personal preferences, memories, choices, etc. People love talking about themselves, and including a call to action in a post is a great way to get customers and potential customers involved and interested.