7 Ways to Fail at Social Media

7 ways to fail at social media

Social media is an asset, but it’s not an easy one. Luckily Giraffe is here to help! Make sure you’re not making these simple mistakes and get on top of the social media game...

A fake voice

An authentic brand voice is infinitely important as this voice creates a sense of honesty and credibility. A Cohne Wolfe study states:

“Nearly nine out of 10 consumers are willing to take action to reward a brand for its authenticity, including 52% who would recommend the brand to others and 49% who would pledge loyalty to the brand. 20% would be prepared to put their money on the table and invest in a brand that proves its authenticity.”

To achieve this authentic tone:

  • Try and keep your posts honest, without sugar-coating any negative factors. If a customer can see that you are honest on social media, they are more likely to think you’re honest in business.
  • Be consistent to your brand, find your tone of voice and stick with it. Don’t try too hard, trying to be ‘down with the kids’ shows exactly how not down with the kids you are.
  • Never attempt to use slang on social media you wouldn’t use in real life.
  • Write like you talk.

Poor Spellcheck

This one really should be a given. Poor spelling and grammar is unprofessional and in this day and age with automatic spell check, a little lazy. Non proof-read posts can result in a lack of trust and credibility which could in turn lose you countless sales.

To make sure your posts are up to scratch:

  • Proof-read.
  • If you struggle with spelling try copying and pasting your posts into Microsoft Word to check for any errors with spellcheck.
  • Read out loud – this usually highlights tricky areas including strange sentence structure, repetition and grammar discrepancies.
  • Ask someone else to proof-read - sometimes a fresh pair of eyes will notice what you can’t.

Politically Incorrect

You may have certain views and you will definitely have opinions, but remember that your social media represents a brand. Being politically incorrect can be viewed as insensitive and offensive and will only serve to alienate certain demographics. Don’t forget, if your personal profile is easily connected to your work profiles, either privatise your accounts or make sure this rule applies there too.

Poor Customer Service

Yes, that guy posting, “You Suck!” on every one of your pictures and posts is irritating, but there is never an excuse to be rude.

  • Any negative comments are an excellent opportunity for great customer service; you just need to know how to deal with them.
  • Auto-response. Everyone knows your auto-response is fake. Sometimes, the auto-response doesn’t even make sense in regards to what it’s ‘responding’ to. Not only does this reduce your credibility, but it makes your followers feel under-valued and ignored.
  • Ignoring customers, whether their comments are good or bad is also a big no-no. Interacting with your followers shows that your business cares and also reminds your customers that you’re human.
  • If tongue-in-cheek is your thing, fine. But remember there is a fine line between cheeky and offensive or distasteful. Be aware of your audience and sensitive to current issues and affairs.
  • Our very own Social Media Manager Sam Faulkner has this to say:

“Ignoring the 'social' part of social media is a big mistake a lot of folk make. Not interacting with people is only going to hurt your reach”.

Wrong sized/poor quality images

Yet again, poor images can look unprofessional and lazy, affecting your credibility. Extend the care and perfectionism you use in every aspect of your business to ensure a high quality profile. Our Social Media Manager Jamie explains the best way to get excellent images:

“I usually go with around 1200x650 for Twitter and Facebook. Though as long as it's above 600 width and a similar ratio it's fine. Instagram is a square 650x650, I try to get photos that are square from the start because cropping a picture down to a square sometimes ruins a picture. However if I do have to edit the size I do it in either Paint.net, Ribbet, Canva [free online resources], or with Photoshop.”

Spamming customers/focusing too heavily on sales

Your number one reason for being on social media is probably to get sales, but you need to be smart about achieving this. Constant self-promotion and endless posting is perceived as ‘spam-like’ and can be incredibly off-putting. Earn the right to promote yourself through providing excellent content; from images, tips and tricks, to insider content and more. Give your followers a reason to keep coming back and a chance to become loyal and engaged.

Resident Social Media Manager Rachel Williams says:

“Posting nothing but repeated sales tweets is a bit like standing in front of stranger at a party saying the same thing over and over again, and expecting them to be interested in getting to know you.”

So what’s the best way to avoid being the annoying guy at the party? While there are many ratios of posting out there, Giraffe are willing to commit to the Golden Ratio by Rallyverse:

  • 30% owned
  • 60% curated
  • 10% promotional

Irrelevant Content

Our Social Advertising and Social Media Manager Naomi says:

“One of my bugbears is not keeping branding and tone consistent throughout accounts. Inconsistency can cause confusion and lead to your audience not being as engaged as they could be.”

Low engagement can result in Facebook categorising your content as irrelevant and limiting the reach. And let’s not forget the all-important credibility; your followers are following you for a reason. If you’re an accounting firm, I doubt they want the update that light-up yo-yos are back in fashion. Know your brand, know your audience and remain true to this.

Points to remember:

  • Memes are only great when they’re relevant. Maintain the authenticity and authority that comes with understanding yourself and your limits. Trying to be hip and funky when you’re not will only emphasise the fact that… you’re not. (Though of course if you are, go ahead!)
  • Retweets are not just space fillers - they need to be consistent with your branding.
  • Be wary of hashtags and fads; just because it’s what’s ‘in’ and what’s being consumed by the masses, doesn’t mean it’s right for you.
  • Everything you post is a reflection of your brand.

If any of your questions haven’t been answered, don’t hesitate to tweet us @GiraffeSM. We’re always happy to help!

Written by business development manager, Laurie Fuller

Editor - 

Mark is our resident content marketing specialist, what this guy doesn't know isn't worth knowing. His biggest passion is for enacting positive social change through media. In his spare time he is also a keen comedy writer and singer.

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