When it comes to social media, we all have those friends who annoy the you-know-what out of us. Maybe it’s the serial inspirational quote tweeter who pushes your buttons, or perhaps you (like me) twinge at how common it is to see ultrasound photos in your newsfeed. Or maybe you’re irked by an entirely different entity: brands.
For social media marketers, annoying brand social behavior can mean lost customers. A new survey commissioned by Pitney Bowes Software revealed 65 percent of consumers said they’d stop using a brand that upset or irritated them via its social media behavior. That’s a pretty big deal considering social media activity is estimated to comprise 25 percent of marketing budgets in 2013.
So how do you ensure your brand isn’t “unliked,” “unfollowed” or deleted from circles? Check out my seven do’s and don’ts!
Do Limit Meaningless Posts
What is a meaningless post? I bet you’d know it if you saw one. They’re the “How was everyone’s weekend?” “Good morning, tweeps!” and “Only one more day until the weekend!” posts that attempt to boost interaction and add nothing of value to consumers. These posts are a telltale sign of social media noobs and should be avoided by big brands.
If you really love these posts, try adding custom graphics or linking to outside sources.
Don’t Post Too Often
Like that Facebook friend who we just wish would take his incessant status updates to Twitter already, many brands are guilty of posting much too often. Three to four posts (plus engagement) per week is all it takes for most brands to grow audiences and capture leads on Facebook. See how many posts we recommend for Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter by downloading our various cheat sheets.
A big exception to this rule is news organizations. Social media users follow news organizations to stay up to date on what’s happening in the world, so you’ll often see these types of organizations posting often and at all times of day.
Do Post Original Content
While there is no one-size-fits-all sweet spot for how much content should be original and how much should be third party, it’s all-around accepted that at least some of your social content should be original. Think of it this way: If your brand only pulls content from other sources, why should I follow you and not the company creating said content? Plus, our research shows sharing your content increases new lead generation.
Don’t Brag Without Backing Up
Just as journalists must source their stories to make them credible, brands must back up their promotional claims on social media. Was your brand voted No. 1 in customer service in your industry? Go ahead and tell your audience, but also tell them who voted you No. 1 and provide a link to the article announcing the award. New analytical data and in-house case studies are also great tools for backing up your claims.
Do Showcase Your People
People are behind your brand, and people run your social media. With individual authority growing increasingly important in search, the best way to ensure your brand’s success in social media is to let your people do the talking. Allow an individual to officially represent your brand account or at least have your social media managers introduce themselves when answering consumer questions. Burt's Bees is just one brand that does a fantastic job at putting its people forward. (See below.)
I think creating auto-responders is one of the most annoying and disingenuous tactics in social media marketing. Auto-responders are generic, untargeted solicitations that can drive away potential leads. Nothing says annoying quite like receiving three of the exact same direct messages from different Twitter profiles inviting me to publish on a blog. (Yes, this really happened.)
Do Target Your Posts
Here’s an area where LinkedIn and Google+ are worlds ahead of Facebook and Twitter: targeting. LinkedIn allows marketers to leverage the power of segmentation with its targeting options, and on Google+, marketers can add targeted names or circles to each update. While targeting doesn’t guarantee all those who comprise your target audiences will see your post, studies have indicated a 66 percent increase in audience engagement.
Follow these do’s and don’ts, and your brand is sure to keep consumers engaged and happy! What other tips do you have for keeping consumers content on social media? Share your advice in the comment section below!
Known as Hawkeye for her near superhuman copy editing abilities, Lisa Gulasy applies her unique experiences in agency and journalism to manage strategy and day-to-day engagement of client social media profiles and assist and researching and writing blogs, press releases and advanced content. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.