What Not To Do To Be a Social Media Success

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ll know that I’m a huge advocate for social media in business. I think it can be a great asset for measurement and an invaluable tool for brand managers to interact directly with customers and thought leaders in their space

That being said, social media can also be a kiss of death for brands. It’s not a solution for everything. And if mishandled, it can quickly sink your company in the court of public opinion.

So if you want to be a social media success story, here are a few mistakes to avoid:

Tweeting without thinking

Tell me, who didn’t hear about the PayPal exec going crazy on Twitter a few weeks ago? Anyone? Exactly. Thoughtless tweeting plus maximum exposure leads to viral embarrassment and potentially career-destroying results.

As a general rule, I suggest never tweeting when you’re angry, upset, or intoxicated. Think back to kindergarten and remember: “If you can’t say anything nice, you shouldn’t say anything at all.”

Engaging in a comment war

No one leaves a social media war unscathed; there’s simply no way to come out on top.

Keep your posting promotional and positive. If you must engage with someone who insists on being negative, try to turn it around. You might make a customer out of a complainer.

Only posting negatives

Customer engagement is a powerful tool. According to Master Card VP of Social Gregg Weiss (via tweet), “a brand that replies to my tweet makes more of an impact on me than years and years of advertising ever could make.”

People like to feel heard, appreciated, and noticed. Unfortunately, that alone won’t win over the general public. While it’s important to respond to individual complaints it shouldn’t be your only social activity. So every time you respond to a complaint, make it a rule to post two purely positive messages promotoing your brand or assets as well. When people look at your feed, you’ll want them to notice how well you’re doing, not how great you are at fixing the bugs.

Know your audience

I’m fascinated by how brands are using Pinterest for marketing, and I’m a big fan of Instagram’s content sharing. Both platforms could be right for your brand—but not necessarily. Try to focus on the platforms that make the most sense for your specific audience. You’ll have better engagement if you can tailor your message—and your platform—to the folks you’re trying to reach.

Let’s talk.