Seven ways to save yourself from a social media Faux Pas

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Social media can be a powerful strategy to pursue for your brand, but when used incorrectly it’s just noise, or worse, downright annoying.

Whether you’re a small business, a startup or just an avid social media user, your social media activity is a reflection of your image. Think of it this way, every move you make on social media is being watched by your followers, customers and, yes, even competitors. That’s why you need to be sure you’re not making any social media faux pas that could reflect poorly on your brand.

Here are seven mistakes to avoid making the next time you’re posting on social media for your brand:

Excessive hashtags

The power of a good hashtag can attract significant engagement from followers. However, using too many irrelevant hashtags comes across as #annoying. Limit your hashtag usage to a few relevant tags that are specifically suited for your post and can get the message out appropriately.

Being off brand

As mentioned before, your social networks reflect your brand. Everything you post should, in some way, relate to your business, brand messaging or industry. That’s not to say you can’t post about current events or trends, but you should make sure it relates to your brand in some way or another. Say for example you are a bakery and there was a incidence of e coli in a particular flour brand, it would be okay to make a comment on it to reassure your audience that the flour you use is safe. In other words, your followers should know who you are and what you’re about whenever they visit any of your social networks.

Joining every platform

It’s a good idea to be on multiple platforms, but using every social network for the sake of being on them is a mistake. For example, if you’re a B2B tech company serving data centers with software management tools, then chances are you don’t need to be on Pinterest. Instead, LinkedIn and Twitter would be better platforms for sharing highly technical or business information. Focus on your target audience and which platforms they’re engaging with. Having a couple strong social networks is better than spreading yourself too thin and working with irrelevant platforms.

Lack of engagement

There’s nothing worse than a brand that isn’t authentic. To achieve that authenticity, you need to engage with your audience by listening and responding. Whether it’s by answering any questions they may have or asking for their input, followers want to know that they’re being heard and that a human is on the other side of the screen.

Over-posting

While you want to post frequently, posting too much can turn away followers. Posting too much content can come across as spammy and your audience will become disengaged and possibly even stop following you. There’s plenty of research and tools out there that can help you figure out the best times to post for each platform based on when users are engaging the most. You brand should be consistent and active without overdoing it.

Make the right connection

A major part of social media is the networking aspect. What’s a social network for if you can’t use it? The key to having a strong social network is to make the right connections, and one of the most useful platforms to make those business connections is LinkedIn. When using LinkedIn, however, you need to be strategic and purposeful when reaching out to potential connections. If there’s nothing connecting you with that person – a co-worker, the industry, a project, then you should not add them to your network. If you want to add a person to eventually sell something, you may look for a constructive way to make the connection such as mentioning you are both a member of an industry organization. In other words, be creative and avoid looking like you are going in for the sale right away.

Speaking of soliciting

No one wants to receive unsolicited information or messages. Take Twitter, for example. When getting a new follower, avoid direct messaging them thanking them for the follow. It’s not necessary and it’s over the top, frankly. Worse yet, definitely avoid the DM promoting your services or product right after a follow. If someone was interested enough to follow you in the first place then they will see what you have to offer and will inquire if they’re curious. Social media is about brand awareness and even lead gen but only if you follow the rules carefully.

Do you have any tips for avoiding the infamous social media Faux Pas? If so, let us know in a comment below.

About Sam Lauron: Sam Lauron is a PR associate with Manzer Communications, a tech marketing and PR communications agency based in Austin serving international clients. Sam specializes in helping clients with their social media, blogging and media outreach needs. For more information about Sam or the PR over Coffee blog, email us at info(@)manzercommunications.com or tweet to @ManzerComm.

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