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What Not to Do, Part 2: Social Media Content Marketing Mistakes

By Olsy Sorokina | 3 months ago | Strategy | No Comments

Image by Jose Fernandez via Flickr

On the day of the Malaysian Airlines crash over eastern Ukraine, the following Tweet appeared on actor Jason Biggs’ account, “Anyone wanna buy my Malaysian Airlines frequent flier miles?” While Biggs is known for his controversial Twitter presence, the timing and the content of the Tweet resulted in a violent backlash against the actor. He later deleted the post and issued a public apology.

We often talk about how the right use of social media can be an immense help to your brand, and in the first part of this series, we discussed how a poorly thought-out social media strategy can do significant damage. This time, instead of focusing on possible strategy shortcomings, take a look at what matters most—the content itself. Do you really know your audience? Are you selling too much and engaging too little? In this post, we go over five common social media content mistakes to avoid, and ways to remedy them.

5 Social Media Content Mistakes You Should Avoid

Mistake #1: Selling too much

Establishing a smart selling strategy is difficult enough; then comes an added challenge to translate these strategies into social media channels. A crucial point to keep in mind is how to avoid making your audience feel like walking wallets. One might argue that there is no other reason for people to seek out your brand except for your products and services.

While that may be true in some cases, it helps to remember that a person may first come for the product, but later become a loyal customer as a result of the relationship you build with them.

Let your sales team do the magic on generating leads, and focus your social media content on building rapport with your audiences. There’s no need to become overly familiar (see Mistake #2) or overbearing (#4); taking a genuine interest will pay off, and not just financially.

Mistake #2: Posting content that doesn’t align with your brand

If your social media content doesn't stay on-brand, you may have to face the consequences. US Airways dealt with the backlash of the infamous inappropriate picture in response to a customer's Tweet.
If you don’t stay on-brand, you may have to face the consequences. US Airways dealt with the backlash of the infamous inappropriate picture in response to a customer’s Tweet.

It’s important for your brand to have a recognizable voice. In order to do that, you have to ensure that your voice stays consistent throughout your social media content. Ask yourself or your social media management team before you post: “How does this help our brand and our customers?” If it’s a humorous post, keep it classy; if you share news items, make sure it’s something your audience will care about (see Mistake #3).

Mistake #3: Not defining your brand’s social media audience

Are you still using your brand’s social media channels as a megaphone? It has been shown in research and confirmed in practice that the best social media reach is achieved by clearly defining your audience before you start posting. There are lots of social media analytics tools designed to help you get started; some of them, such as Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics, come free of charge along with your profiles, so there’s really no excuse not to be using them. Provide your audience with content tailored to their interests; that will provide the initial spark to start a conversation between with your brand and your customers on social media.

Mistake #4: Not setting up a social media scheduling process

We don’t have to tell you how social media channels are the fastest and most efficient way to amplify your content. Chances are, you found this post by following a link that showed up on your Twitter or Facebook feed. Nowadays, behind every content marketing success is a strong social media manager, or management team: all social media posts are composed and scheduled with the purpose of reaching the biggest audiences at the most optimal times. Without a social media schedule, your brand’s social media accounts may seem abandoned, lack proper audience engagement, or run the risk of posting too much.

Mistake #5: Not profreading your social media content

Make sure to proofread your social media content or else you'll end up like this guy, even though he was purposely doing it.
This Tweet may be funny, but you don’t want your followers to be entertained by your (unintentional) spelling mistakes.

Social media is full of word crimes, so who cares if you make a few little mistakes here and there, right? You should care. Sloppy spelling and grammar hurt your brand’s credibility. While most social media networks require messages to be succinct, it doesn’t mean you should abandon proper spelling or punctuation for brevity in your posts.

(By the way, did you notice the missing ‘o’ in the title? If not, it may be a good time to hone your proofreading skills!)

Have someone on your team look over your content before you hit ‘Post’; ideally, you’d want at least two pair of eyes after you compose it. Double-check everything, including the @mentions in your Tweet: it’s common to skip Twitter usernames during the proofreading process, only to realize that the post mentions the incorrect or nonexistent Twitter handle!

If no one is available and the post needs to be sent out immediately, a good technique is to read your composed messages out loud, and look up any spellings you’re not certain about in an online dictionary.

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21 comments
JD
JD

And who could forget the badly strung together hashtag #susanalbumparty. 

JohnDeisher
JohnDeisher

Setting up a scheduling process is important, and monitoring what you have scheduled is just as important. An errant message at an inopportune time can create some real issues.

michelepapaleo
michelepapaleo

Fantastic article. There are social media epic fails!

nambaruan
nambaruan

A lot of these mistakes could be avoided using the different accesses for any profile participating in a company account. It's a shame!

giubertinik
giubertinik

Great article. I will also add as a social media mistake, corporates that don't answer to customer's questions.

Latest blog post: Questo sono io.

Victorkrieg
Victorkrieg

Mistake #5 is my favorite. The way people use spanish language in Social Media makes me cry a couple times a day. Sorry for any spelling mistake but english is not my mother tongue :)

Adel de Meyer
Adel de Meyer

Yes totally agree, sadly we still see lots of these mistakes made by companies :(

BiancaJSmith
BiancaJSmith

I love point three: defining your audience. It's the most important part of any content strategy.

Sergio_Sosa
Sergio_Sosa

I think #2 is one of the most overlooked in #Latam...

SWrightBoucher
SWrightBoucher

Thank you so much for including the megaphone metaphor in #3. Once brands get over the fact that one-way conversations on social media are a bad idea, they can start building a flourishing community.

bberg1010
bberg1010

#4 is really important - it doesn't matter how great your tweet is if it's posted when none of your audience is online. I like to run a monthly report on Tweriod, adjust my Autoschedule times accordingly, and keep a post-it on my monitor with the peak times, for when I'm not autoscheduling.

AlexandreSouzaS
AlexandreSouzaS

Sair postando qualquer coisa não é legal. Tem que postar coisas que a audiência vai realmente se interessar. Isso faz parte da identidade da marca. 

cassandrajowett
cassandrajowett

I think #4 is the most overlooked - especially in B2B marketing, there are so many profiles with the social media equivalent of tumbleweeds blowing around. Not very well branded. Few posts. No engagement. Even if you don't have someone who is solely dedicated to social media strategy, using HootSuite's scheduling feature can allow you to at least look like your brand's social profiles are "on" even if nobody is on there engaging 100% of the time (but you should still find time to engage when you can, of course).

MontseSummum
MontseSummum

If we talk about strategy, for me one of the worst (and most common) is # 3, do not define your audience.

mamamamiah
mamamamiah

Thanks for sharing valuable content.

IDMG
IDMG

Thanks Olsy, In the World of Social Media ..."there's so much to learn ... so little time".  Hooty helps me get things organized and practically forced me to create a plan on how, where and what to share.  I'll never know everything about SM ... nobody ever will.  But after years of being 'overwhelmed' with the myriad of platforms and ever evolving rules on engagement combined with RULE changes from the G & FB... I enjoy tools that make my life easier and more simplified.

Jen
Jen

Mistake #5 FAIL

See if you can find it in paragraph 2:

We often talk about how the right use of social media can be an immense help to your brand, and in the first part of this series, we discussed how a poorly thought-out social media strategy can do significant damage. This time, instead of focusing on possible strategy shortcomings, take a look at what matters most—the content itself. Do you really know your audience? Are you selling too much and engaging too littel? In this post, we go over five common social media content mistakes to avoid, and ways to remedy them.

Wittlake
Wittlake

Some good tips, but actually practicing them is critical. I'm pretty forgiving when it comes to typos or grammar issues on a blog, but when you call out not proofreading as a mistake to avoid, follow your own advice. Even basic spell check would pick up that "littel" was a typo...

chris_greenf
chris_greenf

Absolutely, engagement is the key, far too many broadcasting without listening

Olsy Sorokina
Olsy Sorokina

@Wittlake Good eye, thank you for catching that! Wish I could say this was as intentional as the other spelling mistake in the post, but unfortunately this is just another example to confirm the importance of reading copy several times before hitting the 'Publish' button.