The 5 Biggest Social Media Mistakes That Can Destroy a Brand

Now that “everyone” is on social media marketing for their brand, marketers are either barely dipping their toes into the social media waters, or they are cruising ahead full steam with campaigns and promotions on a daily basis.

What is your brand doing?  Cruising ahead?  Or getting started?

No matter what type of social media exposure your brand is seeking, don’t let one of these common blunders ruin your brand’s online reputation.

Mistake #1 Making everyone your friend

Replying to every single post or tweet just for the sake of “being present”, is a blunder. Yes, your audience wants to know that you’re listening, but people don’t appreciate meaningless responses. Try to ignore the ‘nice to meet you too’ messages or the ‘thanks for the post’. If you’re going to respond to someone, then make it more than a simple acknowledgement. Make your response valuable to the person first and foremost, then consider the value to everyone else who follows you that gets another nagging notification when you write back.  Instead, try saying, ‘Thanks for the feedback, have you checked out our service that offers xyz?’

Mistake #2 Get the most fans and followers

Just getting the most people to follow your brand means very little — getting them engaged in a conversation is where the value is. Social media successes are built on a core of brand advocates, so convince your best customers to join your extended marketing team.

Mistake #3 Expecting others to start the conversation

People rarely share their opinion and contribute, so give them a good reason — this is especially true when asking for people to share stories, photos, and videos. Provide the incentive to start a conversation.  Make them feel respected and important for their contributions.

Mistkae #4 Hiding from the disgruntled customers

There are typically two types of disgruntled fans or followers — those who have a legitimate concern, and those that are trolling to incite more trouble. Create brand guidelines for these situations. Decide which issues you can respond to in public and which issues you should move into direct/private message. Remember that anything you say in public may be syndicated and archived for the rest of eternity.  Keep the snide remarks out of your social channels.

Mistake #5 Over-selling the brand

Most people are sensitive to stock images and blatant self-promotion. Just don’t do it. This doesn’t mean that you can’t share your brand’s successes, you definitely can share them. Just make sure that your communication has value for your audience. Ask yourself, “What value does this offer?”.  Put yourself in your audiences’ shoes and ask — what’s in it for me?


Mistake #6 Talking like a corporate spokesperson
People want a real person with a real personality (even if more than one person from your organization is talking to fans — try to get a common voice).  People are quick to dismiss the public relations style of communication when it gets into social channels.

Mistake #7 Beware Slacktivism (activism meets slackers)
People will easily ‘Save the Whales’ if all they have to do is click the Like button. While this is helpful from an exposure perspective, it rarely yields quality future engagement.  So if you want to bloat the numbers for the boss, run a slacktivism promotion — if you want them to come back, give them something of value for their efforts.

Mistake #8  Do not Fan Gate boring content
When you fan-gate content by requiring someone to follow or like to get access, you better deliver something good — or you’ll miss the chance to create a relationship.  Your fake fans will ‘Like’ to get what they want, then they will un-Like immediately afterwards.

Mistake #9 Being too attentive
While the goal is to be readily available to your fans, if you set a precedent of being
over-attentive, then you will have to uphold that standard.  If your fans reach out to you in social channels with a question or complaint and you immediately respond, they will learn to expect an immediate response – every-time   If you have trained your fans to think you’ll be available every 15 minutes, then beware the bashing you will get for being inattentive when you decide to take a lunch break. International brands in a 24/7 environment have it tough and CMOs are starting to understand there are no shortcuts in creating loyalty.

Mistake #10 The lack of internal support
Fans will use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and other social channels as a way to get questions answered.  This means customer support, complaints, questions, kudos, and the whole spectrum of communications that would have formerly been done via email, website, or phone.  If you only have one person managing social channels, then make sure that they have the internal department connections to get answers right away — otherwise what’s the point of being active in social media?  Why is it that businesses will have one person managing social media and an entire department of people answering emails or phone calls?  The stats and trends are out there, phones are going the way of the dinosaur and emails have flat-lined…it’s time for text messages, posts, and feeds.

Final Note
Remember, building a relationship with just one loyal fan opens the door to their trusted network of friends and colleagues. Make them happy, and you’ll get the chance to be introduced to others (almost automatically).  Don’t mess up the opportunity, and your raving fan base will continue to grow.

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