Four Social Media Mistakes to Avoid

26 August 2012

Social media came out of nowhere and quickly gained a unique place in the hearts of everyone with an internet connection. From Dubai to Brisbane, Mumbai to London, keeping in touch and spreading the word has never been so easy.

This is why you should be cautious, especially if you are using social media for business. There are a lot of traps and pitfalls, either where you annoy people or you open yourself, and your company, up to ridicule.

When any company starts out using social media the above are never part of their objectives, but it’s an easy place to find yourself. So here are some mistakes you should avoid:

Don’t be Rude!

Being rude is one of the worst things you can do in any circumstance, particularly to a customer. However, the speed of the net can mean an ill-chosen reply on Twitter or Facebook can be re-tweeted or shared faster than you can go and make a cup of coffee. In fact, by the time you’ve returned from making coffee, you could well see your business name in tatters.

The best way of dealing with customers online who make you angry is to pause before typing. Never tweet or reply to a message on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, or a forum, if you are angry. Sit back and take a minute.

For most companies, the only way to deal with problems online is to have a strong policy in place before you even start interacting with your customers, or potential customers. A standard response gives you breathing space, and if there is a genuine complaint, tell them you are looking into it, and keep them informed of any progress that is being made.

Remember You’re a Business

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This is particularly relevant if you are working for yourself, or there are only a few of you in your business. The lines between your personal and your business opinions can blur easily. It’s far better to have a personal account and a business account. This way you have a clear idea of which persona you are projecting at any particular time. And also, by doing this, there is little chance you’ll be boring your customers with your opinion of the half time score.

Replying to Customers

Nobody likes to be left standing around in a shop when they need a question answering. And the same is true online. People want their questions answered fairly quickly. If you have a Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ account the response time is going to be slightly longer. People are used to waiting a little while in these mediums. However, on Twitter, people are a little more impatient, so a speedy response will be appreciated.

Constant Promotion is a Turn Off

Ever wondered why big companies spend so much money on fun apps, giving away free goods, sponsoring festivals and sports events? It’s the fun factor. Without a huge dollop of fun thrown in now and again, promotion is just sell, sell, sell. And few people respond positively to the constant big sell.

And the same is true online. Don’t just sell yourself all day. Keep your customers and clients informed with industry opinions, fun facts, giveaways and competitions. Mix up your social media presence; it’ll be more fun for you and more interesting for your customers.

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