When it comes to social media branding, a business wants to brand itself so that it sticks in the minds of its current and potential customers alike. So, the business creates several social media accounts and starts to post like crazy. Yet there’s something missing. The company doesn’t get the social media love nor the viral posts it dreamed of.
Perhaps this company made one of these common social media branding errors pointed out in a recent article by HootSuite social media expert Andrew Tate. Here’s a closer look:
1. The Company Takes a Shotgun Approach to Social Media Marketing
Because social media’s so hot now, companies may have leaped on board with social media with all guns blazing. Many have taken out a Facebook account, a Twitter, a Tumblr, an Instagram, and a Snapchat. They’ve posted on every one of them about their product and how great it was.
They’ve dreamed about how much it would help them if all the customers that followed them signed up, bought the package, or came down to the store and tried the company’s products.
Three problems, though. When a company posts only about its products or services and leaves out its fans’ voices, it feels like just another ad. Customers—especially potential ones—ignore the company’s posts or worse—unfriend or un-fan it.
Secondly, when a company fails to focus on the conversational, interactive nature of social media, it neglects the main purpose of social media: social interactions.
Finally, a company who simply blasts out the company line—right out of the self-congratulatory “About Us” section of the website—feels inauthentic. People on social media want to interact with real people—not robots.
How to Fix It:
A company needs to show its human side. Ditch the unapproachable façade. Furthermore, it needs to interact with its fans as it would with its employees’ friends and colleagues. As Tate puts it, “Caring for fans will bring them back to your page and make them feel like part of a community instead of an audience targeted for promotion.”
In other words, companies need to stop thinking about their followers as “fans.” Think about them as colleagues, even friends. Post their photos. Make interactions into conversations, not lectures. Without sales talks, companies should show how their products and services change their lives. Even better if the company uses the customers’ own words to tell the story.
2. The Company Fails to Maintain Its Brand Voice
Branding a company is admittedly tricky. Yet a company’s social media posts must demonstrate a difference between its culture and that of its competitors. It must carve out a space for its “tribe”—people who identify with its culture.
How to Fix It:
An attorney, for instance, may choose promotional gear that reflects the dignity of the law s/he has sworn to uphold. A promotional t-shirt bearing skulls and the logo “We’ll Kill ‘Em in Court” may not be the best choice to offer fans who “like” their social media page. Perhaps a casual, yet dignified polo with their corporate logo would be best. Offer one of these to fans, and the company has maintained both its approachability and its dignity. Online contests and wacky posts, too, may be better left to the social media pages of more casual-oriented businesses.
A company who promotes metal bands, though, might even hold a no-holds-barred contest on their social media accounts to come up with their next promotional tee. Skulls and macho slogans will enhance this company’s brand voice. Posts can be wacky, far-out, yet remain on brand for this über-casual company.
3. The Company Fails to Post with Variety and Consistency
If all a restaurant served was one dish, its customers would get bored quickly. The same is true with social media. If the same restaurant opened on random days of the week, it would soon go out of business. Why, then, would a company take that approach to its social media posts?
How to Fix It:
Companies who post photos one day, videos, the next, and sprinkle in a few infographics and short informational posts reach more people. Find out which kinds of content “go viral” with the company’s followers, who will share it with their friends, who will share it with theirs. This will give the company an effective outreach to people outside its fan base—growing its tribe as it attracts new likeminded followers. Mix that type of content—usually, videos or infographics–together with informative content that will help solve current customers’ problems, and a company will grow its brand awareness by leaps and bounds.
Furthermore, the company should post regularly. If the person responsible for posting is out of town, designate the task so someone else or automate posts. Each social media platform has an ideal range of posts per week. Research online to get an idea of the number of posts to shoot for each week.
When a company can avoid these social media mistakes, it can claim a stake in the social media universe for its brand. And that, in turn, translates to more dollars in the company coffers. Better branding means better business.