Maneuvering the Social Media Minefield

by Sean Ogino |

Maneuvering the Social Media Minefield


Social media is extremely fickle. Best practices are continually changing. What worked last week, could turn users away this week. And every week, companies are still jumping over each other to join social media. They’re pushing for likes, shares and ultimately, to win their consumer’s loyalty. But most are forgetting about the most important person in this scenario – the consumer.

In order to grow your brand on social media, you must first understand your consumer. Companies must tactfully avoid the many mistakes that could ruin even the best laid strategies.  No matter what tool or network you utilize to engage on social, there are a few mistakes to avoid that can be applied to all.

Mistake #1: Trying to be something you’re not.
Many companies get caught up in the hoopla of what’s trending or what’s hot, and forget to remain true to themselves. A lot of companies tend to take risks and end up apologizing for their mistakes. This is becoming more true as companies buy into the idea of live tweeting and real time updates. Avoid the repercussions of ‘foot in mouth’ by ensuring your social media team understands your mission, beliefs and values as a company. Companies shouldn’t worry so much about real-time updates, but rather right-time moments. Live tweeting during an event does not work unless its for the right event, the right audience and right for your company. Everyone talked about Oreo’s live tweet during 2013’s Superbowl, but it was not so much live tweeting, but rather the right moment that captured everyone’s attention. They could have tweeted during the whole game, but it was the tweet during the blackout that got the most attention.

Orio Cookie

Mistake #2: Pushing products
So many brands worry about providing content that will get their brand/product across to their consumers, instead of just simply interacting with their consumers. Stop to enjoy the people who already enjoy your brand. They came to your page and liked you for a reason. Interact with them to find out what made them stay. Instead of just always posting an image or a quote, try posting a poll or caption contest. Use social media to do more. Social media is meant to be more than a place to like a photo.  Ask questions, start a conversation, host a contest, interact. Social media is a two way conversation. Chipotle does a great job of interacting with their fans on Facebook and getting more than just likes, but shares and comments as well.

Pushing products

Mistake #3: Interacting with statistics
Your consumers are people first, not just statistics. We recently wrote an article about humanizing your brand here. As more brands join social media, this has become an increasingly important way to stand out among the crowd. There is only so much newsfeed space. Consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that they have interacted with, rather than with a brand that is simply posting social advertisements.

Mistake #4: Lack of customer service
Consumers are taking to social media to voice their complaints, either through ratings or angry hashtags. Many companies forget that social media is on 24/7 and companies need to be vigilant in responding to complaints on social networks as well. Customer service has to extend to to online and social media.

These mistakes are simple enough to understand, but companies are still making them everyday. As social media grows and becomes a standard in marketing strategies, there will continue to be best practices published, but social media will continue to be a minefield and these four mistakes will remain to be the most important ones to avoid.

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