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

Image by Jose Fernandez  via Flickr
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 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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