The unparalleled growth in popularity and interest in social sites like Facebook and Twitter saw an initial clamour from organisations of all sizes to adopt social media marketing. A consequence of this was a series of out of touch corporate organisations attempting to force their brand messages on to consumers in an environment they were wholly inexperienced and unprepared for. Learning from those mistakes the majority of brands are now highly social media savvy and able to interact smoothly with consumers.
Being a casual consumer led environment, users are often wary of corporate brands intent on mere self-promotion rather than adhering to the values of the site itself.
It is a fine line for corporations to balance the need to advertise with the need to interact and getting the balance wrong will seriously damage their consumer PR efforts.
Take a look at the following guide to dos and don’ts on social media and you will make sure your brand doesn’t run the risk of losing followers or fans online.
Do Ensure Every Post is Meaningful
The quickest way to lose followers or “likes” is posting bland and meaningless updates. Why should anyone follow or read about an organisation that offers nothing of value? Give customers a reason to engage and interact with you by offering them something worth interacting with. This is part of the reason behind the explosion in popularity of infographics. Share something valuable (or link to someone else’s) and avoid at all costs mundane and generic posts asking people how their weekend went, their thoughts on last night’s Eastenders or complaints about Monday mornings.
Don’t Spam Newsfeeds with Constant Updates
This is a well-known problem and one which infuriates users. It’s great if you are producing worthwhile content and engaging with customers regularly. Just make sure it is not too regularly. Twitter and Facebook vary in regards to what constitutes spamming but be aware that relentless posting will not boost engagement and most likely turn people off from your brand. There is no need to update your Facebook page more than once a day – you will still be able to pick up fans and followers readily.
Do Write Your Own Content
Consumers will follow or like your company because they are interested in what news you have to say or what thoughts you have to share. If all you do is share other people’s content than you are offering little of value in and of yourself. Consumers will simply follow your links or get the same information directly from the source, negating the need to visit or engage with your site. Write your own content, seeing it as an opportunity to showcase your own skills and expertise to a wider audience.
Don’t Just Advertise
If there is one thing consumers dislike most about brands and social media it is shameless advertising. By all means share achievements and success with your audience. Outline why you are the leaders in your industry and what you do better than anyone else. But you must substantiate this with genuine information and data lest it be pegged as meaningless corporate advertising.
Do Be a Human
One advantage social media gives corporations is the opportunity to humanise their organisation. A major gripe with consumers is trying to interact with a faceless corporation out of touch with the common man. Social media is a way of reaching out to the public and showcasing the human side of the company on a personal level. Engage directly with consumers on a person to person basis, having your staff answer consumer queries personally.
Don’t Use Automated Programs
As a consequence of your attempts to appear real and genuine, avoid the use of automated response programs. These tools automatically send a generic message to any new followers thanking them and often attempting to proposition them a client. This does nothing but antagonise new visitors and will damage your attempt to gain new leads.
Ross Moffat is a PR and Marketing enthusiast and freelance writer for PR Consultancy Beattie Communications, who has been writing professionally for over 2 years.