Cassy van Eeden

Whether you are outsourcing your social media marketing or you have someone in-house taking the reins, it’s important to know what the mistakes are before you make them.

Failing to engage with your community

Social media is not just about self-promotion and selling your brand. In order for any social media marketing strategy to be effective, you need to get social.

Digital marketing consultant at Go Social SA, Jacqui Mackway-Wilson, says “Having the ability now for the first time in media history to have a virtual dialogue at any time of the day or night, from anywhere in the world is a golden opportunity from brands.”

She advocates that while you can use social media as a tool to listen to what people are saying about your brand, it can also be used to build your brand by “responding and actively creating conversation with their followers as well as seeking their input”.

Clinton Muir, MD of Black Snow Digital, says one of the surest ways to be ineffective on social media is to not engage with your community. “The way a brand connects and responds to their fans will either turn a fan into an advocate of the brand or an antagonist of the brand,” he adds.

Ignoring or deleting comments

Ignoring (or even deleting) comments, remarks and other interactions on social media is detrimental to any brand. “Nobody likes to be ignored,” explains Mackway-Wilson.

Blogger and social media marketer Katerina Petropoulou writes, “Ignoring a negative comment on social media is perceived as indifference towards your audience and [it] simply sends out the wrong message.”

Petropoulou also points out that: “Once a tweet, a Facebook post or a comment is out there, it’s out there.” In other words, deleting an interaction could potentially cause more damage to your reputation than responding to it.

Instead of ignoring or deleting, Mackway-Wilson advises using these interactions to your brand’s advantage. “Even remotely negative customer experiences can be turned around when brands respond positively and go out of their way to make things right for their customers. This is again, an opportunity.”

Not putting someone in charge

Muir notes that: “Many companies don’t hire professionals to manage their social media platforms, they often give it to an internal admin person as a side job.” He explains that, in doing so, companies are expecting staff to split their attention between a number of tasks.

Having someone’s attention based solely on social mediamanagement prevents slip ups. These slip ups include not monitoring conversations related to your brand, not replying fast enough and not being consistent, writes Petropoulou.

“A professional social media agency has a handle on the entire online landscape and the digital marketing mix and has time dedicated to offer vital assistance to companies to achieve professional results,” says Muir.

Mackway-Wilson recommends that brands should “have either an in-house our outsourced team of community management or PR professionals who are permanently on call to monitor and respond to comments and mentions of the brand”.

Do you have any other social media dos and don’ts? What is your brand doing to avoid social media mishaps? Let us know in the comments below.