Social Media Mistakes: Don’t Hurt Your Online Brand

Social Media Tree

You know you need a company Facebook page and Twitter feed; you are already quite happy with your personal LinkedIn profile; your kids seem to talk a lot about Instagram; and at the business networking meetings the geeky social media and SEO bods keep mentioning Google+.

Marketing, in whatever form it takes, has had the unenviable position within companies of being both necessary for growth and an unwanted expense. All too often the CEO can’t see the direct link between what the marketing department demands and the financial gains the company makes from their efforts. This has rung true even more so for social media: “Why are we wasting time on Facebook? Who reads those Twitter updates anyway, and how does any of this directly increase our sales revenue?”

Perhaps because of the historical dislike of spending out on marketing, a lot of companies have jumped on the digital marketing express train without wanting to buy a ticket: “The girl from reception can manage that. Or I’ll just have to do it myself.”

One thing that is guaranteed about online branding is that it takes time – and time is the one thing you can’t afford to waste sitting around updating your online profiles. Then you discover something wonderful like Hootsuite – a software platform that enables you to update your Twitter feed, your Facebook business page, your personal, your company AND your group pages on LinkedIn and your Google+ page all with one little message. What’s even better is that you can schedule all these message to go out at any time you want.

Marvellous. Time saved. Job done.

As social media mistakes go, this one ranks pretty high.

All social media is not the same.

LinkedIn is a business environment. Your connections on LinkedIn don’t mind seeing regular updates from you – but they do not want to see several updates a day – or worse, an hour. They don’t want to see hashtags. They don’t want to see messy URL links. And they definitely do not want to see pictures of your dog in the office.

Twitter meanwhile necessitates multiple updates, at least several a day, to make sure there is a chance that your messages will be seen. A few hashtags here and there are fine and adding a picture of your dog sleeping in the office (especially if uploaded through twitter.com itself) will raise a few laughs.

Facebook is like the water cooler – its break time; here we are crying out to see your dog being silly in the office – but still no hashtags please*, and a little more moderation in your updates than Twitter. People are most active on Facebook out of hours so pop by early evening, or at the weekend if you want to get your updates seen.

Instagram is as fast moving as Twitter – you need to put some real thought into the images you upload here if you want anybody to notice you. And bonus tip for this social media platform – #hashtags #are #almost #the #law #use #them #as #much #as #you #want #lol.

And what about Google+? First and foremost you need to include it in your social media campaigns because…….it is Google. Set up a business page, join communities, and think of it as a bit like LinkedIn, a bit like Twitter, a bit like Facebook. Hashtags in the same moderation as Twitter; add content that will be of interest to other professionals a la LinkedIn; and it’s worth popping over here out of hours too.

Every social media update that you do needs to be tailored to the audience on that platform. Think the classic marketing message – put yourself in your audience’s shoes and tailor your messages not to what you want to say but to what they want to hear.

It has to be said that I love Hootsuite; I use Hootsuite: but putting the same message out on all platforms is both lazy and disrespectful and whilst it will save you time it will also ultimately hurt your online brand.

The companies that are having the most success with their digital marketing are the companies who are thinking about what their clients’ like and want from them as a business – and are then tailoring their marketing campaigns to their audience.

*Yes Facebook has officially embraced hashtags but die hard Facebook fans don’t like them – and you don’t want to upset this group of people…..

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