We all know the seven deadly sins, but did you know there are sins of the social sphere, too? Keep in mind that while there are many tips for what to do on social media, there are also just as many things you should not be doing. Don’t let yourself become a victim of these seven sins. If you do fall victim, don’t worry—you can always change your behavior and improve. That’s the good part of digital media—you can change your practices the next day.
It is very important as a business to be very careful about your social media practices, as there is not editing in the digital age. Once content is out there, it’s out there. Let’s take a look at seven social media sins that could wind up damaging your online presence if left uncorrected.
Just like ignorance isn’t respected in the real world, it’s not regarded with high sentiment online, either. On social media, acting like your Online Reputation Management is the only one who exists in your industry and not catering your posts to a wide variety of people is ignorance. By ignoring others’ beliefs, attitudes and opinions, you’re ignoring a core principle of social media: engagement. Avoiding Hollywood politics, religion and highly controversial topics on your social media page (unless, for instance, you’re a nonprofit promoting a particular ideal) is a good way to stay out of fire. While it’s important to maintain your business’s personality on social media, do so without being ignorant.
Tip for improvement: Stay up-to-date on current events happening around the world so that you can be sure to cater to a wide array of opinions, attitudes and beliefs.
This is a big one. There are tons of ways that businesses misuse social media, such as posting inappropriate links, images or language. Overly personal posts (i.e., talking about family troubles, financials, etc.) are always a no-no. And although Twitter caters to personal thoughts more so than Facebook, try to keep them on your personal Twitter account as opposed to your business account.
Furthermore, social media can be a wonderful opportunity to respond to your audience. It gives you the option to turn a negative review into a positive experience for that customer. For example, if you own a restaurant and a customer writes on your Facebook page that they had terrible service one night, sincerely apologize and perhaps offer them a discount to use next time they come in. Don’t commit the sin of misuse by using their negative commentary as an opportunity for backlash and rude response.
Tip for improvement: Before you press the “send” button, double-check your post. Is it audience-appropriate? Remember, once something goes online, it’s permanent.
Don’t spam your audience. Posting too frequently reduces the effect of each post—think quality over quantity here. Focus on posting a few, high quality posts every day rather than bombarding your customers with posts every thirty minutes. This strategy is more likely to encourage engagement (rather than encouraging people scrolling to find that “unfollow” button). As a result, this engagement can drive not only traffic to your company, product, or brand, but also to your website, possibly increasing business opportunities and revenue.
Tip for improvement: Every time you make a post, check the time your last post went out. If it was within the last hour, hold off.
Don’t forget about your social media pages! Think of a plant that has to be watered and attended to regularly. Without constant care and maintenance, eventually it will die. Neglecting your social network will reduce your opportunity for engagement and lessen the chance that people remember you. With how many companies are all competing to gain views on social media, if your business stops posting entirely, it is doomed to a digital death. Staying top-of-mind on social media is the goal here.
Tip for improvement: Make a physical note, either on a post-it note or on your computer, that reminds you to check each social network daily to make sure you stay on top of your social game.
No one likes an arrogant person, so don’t be arrogant on social media. Self-promotion is certainly okay from time to time, but don’t make it a regular occurrence. There is no need to constantly promote yourself to your customers’ newsfeed. If you have quality posts and are constantly engaging with your customers, promotion will come naturally.
Tip for improvement: Designate a few days (at most) a month to throw in a self-promotion type post. More than that may be overkill.
Try to stick to industry-relevant posts. Of course, there are often holidays, major current events, and situations in which it would be more inappropriate not to post something on social media. But in general, try to stay within the realm of your knowledge. For example, if you’re in the auto industry, you probably won’t receive high engagement on a post about women’s clothing. Not only is it irrelevant, your audience most likely isn’t interested.
Tip for improvement: Stay updated on your industry’s news sphere. Read articles about what’s going on so that you can pull industry-relevant information for your social media posts.
This ties in to the overly personal posts in the sin of misuse. Try to make your posts as upbeat as the personality of your company will allow. There is no place for negativity on social media – you want consumers to have positive associations toward your business. No one likes a Debbie Downer!
Tip for improvement: This one’s easy. Stay positive! When you re-read a post, it should sound friendly and human.
That’s a wrap! Are you guilty of committing any of these seven sins on social media? Try to keep your eye out for where you’re slacking on social media, and utilize the tips for improvement to enhance your social media presence. We’ve all seen or experienced bad social media practices, so use these tips to make sure that is not how you are known to your customers.