Dana Sullivan Kilroy is a communications professional with more than 20 years of experience delivering compelling content. Her work has appeared in national, award-winning publications and sites, including: The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Fast Company, Inc.
Social media can be a really powerful marketing tool that businesses of all sizes can use to build a brand. But posting the wrong kinds of things can harm your reputation. We all hear about the biggest social media fails --remember Amy's Baking Company? But plenty of other companies commit far less egregious but potentially just-as-destructive errors every day. Here's my take on social-media habits that could damage your reputation and how to break them.
1. Focusing on Quantity Instead of Quality
Does this question drive you crazy: "How many Facebook likes do you have?" Or "How many followers on Twitter?" Sometimes we all get a little caught up in the numbers. So much so that we can get distracted by quantity instead of quality. But lusting after more and more fans and followers is a waste of time. You're much better off having 1000 fans/followers who love your brand and talk about you and with you than you are having 5,000 who rarely, or never, engage with you. Brands that are obsessed with numbers tend to post things that are inane -- memes, cat videos, etc. that might bring followers but they're not necessarily the kinds of followers you want to do business with. Instead, before you post anything, ask yourself how it will be of value to the people you want to do business with.
Facebook now has 829 million daily active users. Twitter has 271 monthly users who send more than 500 million tweets a day. The people who follow you, especially on these two networks, don’t want to see what you posted yesterday or last week. The more active you are on Facebook and Twitter , the more your invested your followers will become in you and your brand. That said, your followers don’t want to hear from you every hour of every day. "Experts" don't always agree on the right number of posts per day or per hour so your challenge is to find the sweet spot for your followers. By the way, if you have limited resources, don't create ten social media accounts only to ignore them. Focus on the one or two that you have time to do really well.
Never, ever have heated exchanges with followers or customers in public. When users criticize you or your business, respond immediately and move the conversation away from social media. Use these interactions as a way to learn more about what your customers do and don't like about your products, or how you can improve your services, what they'd like you to do differently, etc.
And take heart: According to Kissmetrics 22 percent of customers who bash a company publicly and then get a response from a representative later post something positive.
We've all heard about how social media can breed envy in a keeping up with the Jones' sort of way. I've seen business owners who get distracted by what their competitors when they compare, say, the number of followers a company has, or how often their posts get shared.If you're going to watch and stalk anyone, it should be your customers. You should be more concerned with what they're saying and doing than about what the other guys are doing. The more you look like your competitors, they harder it will be for potential customers to distinguish between the two of you and the less motivated they'll be to try your product or service.
5. Excessive Self-Promotion
Avoid the temptation to post nonstop about you, you, YOU! At ShortStack we do our best to follow the 70-20-10 rule: 70 percent of what we share is brand-building (e.g., how-to tips, expert insight, local events); 20 percent is others’ posts and ideas, and 10 percent should promote yourself/your business (new features or products, sales, discounts, etc.).
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