Using social media as a marketing tool for your business is an efficient and effective way to reach both existing and potential customers. Although social media is a relatively new phenomenon, it appears that it’s here to stay. Appropriately leveraging social media makes it easy to reach a large amount of customers quickly. However, it is important to note that social media marketing can also have seriously dire consequences for your business if not managed well. Here are 7 common mistakes that businesses make in managing their social media campaigns:

1. Blurring the Line Between Personal and Professional

We’ve all seen posts made by businesses that cross the line. Posting content that is too personal, offensive, crude, or controversial doesn’t convey the right tone or message to your customers. Remember your audience and your role as a business owner. You want to post relevant content pertaining to your business that promotes your gleaming reputation as a professional. Save anything else for your personal networks (or just don’t post it at all). There’s no better way to send customers running than posting tasteless, meaningless trash on your social profiles.

Many iHOP followers thought this tweet from the pancake was in poor taste (pun intended)
Many iHOP followers thought this tweet from the pancake was in poor taste (pun intended)

2. Not Utilizing Tracking Software

To save time, using software to track your online effectiveness is essential. There are several affordable programs available to help you manage and monitor the success of your campaign across all of your social media outlets. Local Austin SEO firm, Moonraker Marketing, recommends Hootsuite, which offers a user-friendly dashboard that aggregates data from all of your social accounts. While the basic Hootsuite plan is free, upgraded plans for business are available as well.

3. Ignoring Online Interactions

In order to build relationships with customers, it is important to make them feel like their opinions matter. When customers interact with your business online, it’s imperative that you take the time to respond, even if it means apologizing publicly for something you’ve done wrong. Ignoring comments from customers not only leaves an impression on the person commenting, but will also make an impression on everyone else looking at your page.

4. Forgoing a Plan

Having a plan of attack will make executing a successful social media strategy more likely. Sit down and plan out your short-term (3-6 month) social media goals, as well as your long-term goals (where you hope to be in a year). Setting a clear schedule for posting content and creating social accounts will make your campaign less daunting and will keep you on track to achieve your goals.

5. Allowing Interns to Manage Social Media

Only experienced professionals should be tasked with managing a company’s social media accounts. Social media represents your brand online, so letting a young and inexperienced intern manage your social accounts leaves your brand exposed to misrepresentation. Overly-eager interns who lack discretion or adequate knowledge may leave you with a mess to clean up when they head back to school in the fall.

This tweet from the Red Cross account emphasizes the importance of having an experienced and discrete social media manager
This tweet from the Red Cross account emphasizes the importance of having an experienced and discrete social media manager

6. Overreacting

Many people lack discretion when sharing comments and venting frustrations online, saying things on the web that they would never dare say to someone in person. In the course of doing business, it is likely that at some point you will encounter an unhappy or cantankerous customer who wants to tell the whole world what you did wrong and why everyone should avoid your business. Before you react to comments online, take a few minutes to think through your response. Publicly owning up to a situation or extending a gesture of goodwill towards a rifled customer looks a lot better than unleashing belittling comments in response. Strive to be the bigger person.

7. Sticking to Old Methods

The online world evolves at a rapid pace, so being aware of new trends in social media is key. Like a once glossy, cutting-edge iPhone 4, that social media strategy that was working for you 3 years ago probably isn’t so relevant today. Be willing to shake things up and adapt as social media changes.

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