Nowadays, nearly every business recognizes the value of social media as a channel of communication. However, even as it becomes more mainstream, there are still many companies that don't quite get it.
The trend can be likened to the start of the Internet itself. When the Web first emerged, organizations felt the need to have a website to be prepared for the future. But they undervalued the importance of maintaining that online presence, utilizing best practices and reflecting their brand identity online.
The same thing happens all too frequently on social media platforms. Due to its emergence as a marketing and public relations tool, companies have felt the need to participate. Yet, as with a website, doing social and doing social correctly, are two drastically different things. Here are three common branding mistakes that companies make on social media and some easy fixes for correcting them.
1. Using it only as a promotional tool. Social media should not be treated as a traditional push marketing channel. On your corporate website, people expect to see company news, deals and public relations updates. However, people who are going to your social pages will expect a little bit more from your brand. That is not to say you shouldn't be promoting your sales, or your news, on Facebook or Twitter. But you also should be sharing interesting articles that you find, or images that are relevant to your audience.
Depending on the product or service that your organization provides, find and share content that your followers might find useful, even if it isn't directly beneficial to your business goals. In doing so, you will create a social environment that leads users to come back to your pages frequently. You will become a trusted source of information, which will allow you to convert those users into customers at a much higher rate.
2. Treating it as a one-way street. By its definition, social media is supposed to be social. Traditional marketing is a one-way communication, where the organization can push its message out to the customers and prospects with no recourse. However, social platforms have allowed customers to have an amplified voice. They are now able to share both positive and negative opinions of your brand. Far too many companies neglect this communication for fear of the negative feedback that may come from customers.
In reality, that feedback presents the greatest opportunity for a company to improve on its product or service and also on its perception in the mind of its social followers. Customers appreciate when an organization responds to a negative issue and makes it right.
3. Creating it and then neglecting it. Probably the biggest branding mistake that a company can make on a social media platform is jumping into the fray, and then neglecting to monitor or update its pages consistently. Just as the two-way communication can be an opportunity for an organization, it can become incredibly negative if it is ignored.
Due to social media, your company is no longer in full control of its brand message. By interacting with your customers, you will present a strong and consistent message to the public. However, if you ignore your social profiles, you allow the customer to have full control of the corporate message online, which for most companies a less-than-desirable scenario. Pay attention to avoid the pitfalls of neglecting your social audience.
There are many other mistakes that a brand can make when building their social media presence, but these are the biggest. Correcting these will help you maintain a strong online presence and allow you to take advantage of the enormous opportunity that it presents for your brand.
What are some of the best practices you utilize on your social pages?
Dan Schawbel is the managing partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen-Y research and management-consulting firm. Subscribe to his updates at Facebook.com/DanSchawbel.