As the social media industry expands and improves, there are more possibilities for businesses to creatively and effectively connect to their consumers. However there are still a number of mistakes that some businesses and brands continue to make. Although digital mishaps have a longer shelf life than other real life slip ups, when they are handled quickly and efficiently there are fixable and can even bring positive attention to a brand.
Social networks and the tools available to use with them are constantly evolving and the potential for organizations to succeed evolves with them. By keeping these 5 rules in mind business can easily avoid mistakes.
- Create Standout Content: One of the biggest changes in the social media industry as 2013 approaches is the focus on content marketing. Basic social updates and interaction are no longer receiving interest among users. Certain social networks are even taking actions to ensure brands have to put more creativity into their efforts. On Facebook,Posts including a photo album, a picture or a video generate about 180%, 120%, and 100% more engagement than the average post, respectively. Creative and interesting content can educate new audiences about a business with the possibility of going viral.
- Optimize and Integrate Content: This is a hugely important aspect of all social media execution. Including the right tags and keyword rich descriptions when possible are not only necessary for proper indexing by search engines, but help consumers more easily find a businesses information. Furthermore, integrating social media efforts and content across all platforms is crucial. As a recent study found "by 2013, lead management campaigns integrating 4 or more digital channels are expected to outperform single- or dual-channel campaigns by 300%." Great content is the first step and proper optimization and integration means more potential consumers view it.
- Don’t Over Sell: Social media is social first and foremost. Yes, social networks are a powerful source for businesses to connect with their audience, but it needs to be done in an inherently social way. Constantly pushing sales material on users will drive them away from a brand’s content. That’s not to say sales are not part of the equation – not having easy access for users to purchase is a huge social media transgression. However social media is about connecting the product and business to a larger moral and story.
- Always Listen and Respond: No one likes to be ignored and making negative opinions known has never been easier than it is today. With the wealth of information available, reaching out to speak directly to a business or brand has become a last resort in many cases. This makes especially important for brands to be aware of these conversations and engage. Engagement is a two way street and organizations that address the concerns of their consumers increase brand loyalty.
- Be Genuine: One of the most effective yet overlooked aspects of social media marketing. Unless a business is using social media only as a way to distribute content (which is not a great idea for most businesses) there should be a human aspect to the account. This includes listening to users and taking their opinions into account. As Rob Faris explained, " "If businesses can be transparent, be authentic — in the right context — then the brand and the brand story can be conversational and influential." Social media is about collaboration and co-creation and using social networks as an avenue to achieve this is the best practice for businesses and brands.
There are always issues that can arise in business and social media allows the word to spread faster. The best way to avoid these problems is to do proper research and planning in order to develop a universal tone and strategy that integrates all traditional marketing methods.