Five Mistakes Businesses Are Making On Social Networks

Brands of all sizes make mistakes online. Just look at this Tweet which accidentally went out from the American Red Cross.

The Red Cross responded with this humble, humanizing Tweet: “We’ve deleted the rogue tweet, but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.” It didn’t end there, however, as several breweries and bars which stocked Dogfish Head beer turned the Tweet into an opportunity to promote themselves: offering a free pint for any who would donate blood to the Red Cross.

Sometimes human errors are turned into opportunities. At other times, people get fired and apologetic press releases are put out, like a former PR professional who made a disastrous Tweet en-route to South Africa about AIDS, costing her a job with IAC, a large media company.

There are hundreds of other cases bouncing around the internet. I’m sure after a few pints we’d all remember a few examples and laugh. But what about those everyday mistakes? Those moments which have a cumulative negative impact on your customer engagement? Here are five of the most common.

1. Ignored Twitter Complaints

Agents at call centres can’t hang up on customers. They’d get fired pretty quick. But on social networks, complaints go ignored. LiveOps reports that 85% of customers feel that how a company responds across all channels is a positive indicator of the level of support they can expect, and so it reflects on the company as a whole.

Zappos is a great example of what to do right on social networks.

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2. Do you need to be on Facebook?

With nearly as many users on Facebook as the population of China (and more than India already) ignoring this seems akin to ignoring the invention of the mobile phone. But, as a network, it isn’t for every business.

Most customers don’t feel it necessary to engage with every company they spend money with on every social network, either. According to a TNS Digital Life study of 72,000 people from 60 countries found that, ‘57 percent of consumers in developed markets do not want to engage with brands via social media.’

3. Updates Without Images

As Pinterest and Instagram have proven, those who publish with images do better than those who don’t. Digital engagement falters when you fail to put an image with an update.

4. No Strategy

During a LinkedIn Q&A, Marvin Powell, a Small Business Growth Consultant in Washington DC, asked people about the mistakes their brands had made on social media.

One of the key issues was approaching digital engagement without a strategy. Noreen Poli, Manager Social Enterprise Implementations, pointed out that “the biggest mistake [brands make] is not having a clear strategy around why they are using it that aligns with a strategy of what they want out of it.”

5. Not Having Enough Fun

This is the most overlooked aspect of engagement on social networks: they are social! This doesn’t mean it’s time to crack open a beer before you Tweet, but it does mean that you should always think of these platforms as ‘social’ first, ‘networks’ second.

Which means the best kind of content to craft engages, informs, and brings a smile to your fans. That’s the most authentic way to interact with people on social networks in a way which generates ongoing returns, and smiles.

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