5 things to avoid when using social media

During our social media coaching sessions we come across some great examples of using social media to improve your brand. From Natwest Bank’s use of Vine to PG Tips’ use of Facebook there are lots of examples you can refer to to see how it should be done.

However, on the flip side that means there are lots of examples of what not to do. To help you avoid ending up in the second category we’ve pulled this short guide together.

1. No Strategy

A big bug bear of ours are organisations that create social media channels just because everyone else is doing it. What is the point? You need to have a clear strategy outlining what you want to achieve, where you audience is, which channels are most likely to engage with them, who is going to manage your social media and how you will measure its effectiveness. Once you have outlined this in a strategy the real fun can begin!

2. Too Many Channels

Put simply – it is about quality not quantity. If you don’t feel confident that you can sustain all the channels you are creating then don’t create them! There is nothing worse than an organisation that has a series of social media channels but hasn’t had the time to update them in weeks. This sends a bad message about your brand. It is better to just do a few channels really well than to be everywhere inconsistently.

3. Don’t be a bore

Ever been to a party and met someone who spends all the evening talking about themself? Annoying isn’t it? The same applies to social media. It is meant to be a two-way channel so ensure you listen to what others are saying. If you don’t then you will find you are spending most of your time talking to yourself. Creating content that is interesting requires knowing your audience really well—something that is increasingly easier with Facebook analytics platforms. Being interested starts by responding to comments and continues by asking questions.

4. Empower your staff

Some of the best social media sites are managed by front line staff – trained and empowered to carry the organisation’s messages. BwD Winter for example, is a Council winter management Facebook page giving real time information on the impact of bad weather on road closures and schools etc. What makes this site more interesting is that the updates are managed by the highways staff at the depot so Facebook fans get updates throughout the night when the council’s comms team will be tucked up in bed! Remember though, before you do this you need to ensure they are fully trained and aware of your etiquette rules.

5. No Evaluation

One question you will get asked at some point – usually by a senior executive is “how do we know this is working?”. If you reply by pointing your finger in the air and showing a ouzzled frown you’re going to have a short shelf life. Find out how many interactions you have had and what they have led to. For instance if you have seen a 50% increase in traffic, has this coincided with a 50% drop in calls to your customer service centre or front desks? It is really important that you include clear metrics so that when you are asked you can point out the return on investment.


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