Top 5 social media mistakes that brands make (and how to avoid them)
With a myriad of choices in the market, it is no longer enough for brands to simply advertise their products and services on social media.
It was reported that when consumers feel connected to a brand, they are more likely to increase their spending with that particular brand and choose them over a competitor.
Social media is not just a communication channel for companies and organizations, it has become the very essence of a brand. From the aesthetics, to the content, to engagement – it is the heart of your brand and tells customers who you are.
So it is crucial to craft a social media presence that reflects the image and voice you want to portray to your customers. While making social media mistakes are not impossible to recover from – it can cost followers, reach, and engagement, which can be difficult to regain.
Here are five social media mistakes that brands regularly make, and how you can avoid doing the same.
1. Using exactly the same content across social media platforms
This may seem like the easiest and most efficient way to save time and share your content with a wider audience. But the downside is that it can feel repetitive for consumers who follow your accounts across multiple platforms, and they may quickly lose interest in your content.
Keep in mind that what works on one platform might not work on another. Each social media platform is unique and different, and consists of its own audience and content.
For example, hashtags are a great way to increase your reach on Instagram, but they are not as effective on Facebook.
Here’s a breakdown of the most popular users and types of content for each platform:
The majority of Instagram’s audience are Millennials and Gen Z. Users range from:
- 18 to 24 years old (30.2%)
- 25 to 34 years old (31.7%)
- 35 to 44 years old (15.8%)
Good for sharing: photos; long and short-form videos; 24-hour stories; less text-based posts
The majority of TikTok’s audience are Gen Z. Users range from:
- 13 to 17 years old (27.37%)
- 18 to 24 years old (39.91%)
- 25 to 34 years old (25.11%)
Good for sharing: short-form videos
The majority of Facebook’s audience are Millennials. Users range from:
- 18 to 24 years old (18.2%)
- 25 to 34 years old (23.6%)
- 35 to 44 years old (18.1%)
Good for sharing: photos, long-form videos, news articles, more text-based posts
Depending on the brand’s content strategy and target audience, make sure to tailor the content to the specific platform. Do this by tweaking captions, using different mediums, or adjusting photo and video dimensions.
Example below: Look at how we customized the same post for both Facebook and Instagram! Can you see the difference?
2. Not keeping up with the latest social media updates and trends
The social media landscape is extremely fast paced, as trends are constantly changing. Trends are topics or content that get a surge of popularity for a limited amount of time, which can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few hours.
With the advent of platforms like TikTok and micro-trends, the trend cycle is moving at a much faster pace than before. When used under the right circumstances, trends can help your business connect with the audience. However, that doesn’t mean you should hop on every trend.
Consider using trends in your social media strategy only when:
- It is relevant to your business
- It can be curated for your own content
For example, look at how brands such as AIA Singapore used the Little Miss meme trend to spread a message about the importance of drinking water.
The important thing to remember is to act fast when using social media trends. Consumers have been shown to react poorly to brands who use outdated trends or slangs on social media.
After all, it is good practice to stay in the loop and be aware of what your audiences are currently talking about or to see what’s happening in your industry.
3. Posting too much or too little
Unfortunately, there is no right answer as to how often you should post as that depends on the brand’s strategy, audience, and objectives.
According to SproutSocial, 65% of consumers feel more connected to brands who have an active social media presence.
However, there needs to be a balance.
Posting too much may result in poor and low-quality content that may be irrelevant to your brand’s messaging. Most consumers follow brands online to learn about new products and services, and to be informed of any updates. When deciding what to post, ask yourself: Why am I posting this? How does this content add value for my audience?
On the other hand, posting too little may give followers the impression that you are unavailable or the business is stagnant. And since 90% of consumers today prefer contacting brands through their social media as opposed to phone and email, it may also seem as though they won’t be able to reach the business. Even posting once or twice a week is a good place to start.
The key is to focus on quality over quantity. Create a content calendar to help plan a month ahead. Start by breaking down ideas into content pillars – these are three or five topics specific to your brand, and will be used to consistently create content for. For example, a food blogger’s content might include recipes, food reviews, recommendations, and hidden finds.
This helps avoid scrambling for content ideas and helps manage posting effectively and efficiently!
4. Ignoring negative feedback
It’s never fun being on the receiving end of negativity. But a business is bound to receive it at some point, no matter how flawless you think the product or service is.
We understand how important customer reviews are to a business, and how one negative review can drive many customers away. Based on a survey regarding online reviews, 94% of consumers have avoided a business due to a negative review.
As much as it is tempting to delete or ignore negative comments on social media, respond to them instead.
Despite it being negative feedback, it shows that you are listening to your customers and you are constantly looking to improve. Studies have shown that social media users tend to trust posts from other fellow consumers over brands when looking for product information. Ignoring negative feedback may inadvertently be supporting any negative claims about your brand.
Here’s how some brands such as Starbucks handle negative feedback on social media:
When responding to negative feedback on social media, always make sure to keep the 3 A’s in mind:
- Apologize and empathize
- Acknowledge the issue
- Act (This could be offering compensation, removing products off shelves, or taking tangible steps to make changes)
No matter the outcome, responding shows good communication and helps maintain a positive image for the brand online.
5. Not taking cultural messaging into consideration
With 59% of consumers preferring to buy from brands that have diverse representation and inclusion in online advertising, inclusive marketing has become a core component of many businesses. However, brands need to do much more than preach diversity. A small slipup can easily tarnish a brand’s reputation.
Take Burberry’s 2019 Chinese New Year campaign, for example. The photography campaign was heavily criticized for its creepy family portraits and downbeat tone, which showed a lack of cultural awareness of the celebration. This came shortly after the controversial campaigns by similar luxury brands, Dolce & Gabbana and Balenciaga.
These mistakes can be avoided by taking the time to do research and ensuring that the message resonates with the right demographic. Double-check the meaning of any language, words, or phrases being used and make sure it’s not unconsciously playing into any stereotypes.
Engaging a diverse audience means acknowledging the different backgrounds and cultures, and ensuring that the message resonates.
A brand’s voice can make or break the business’ success. That’s where a marketing agency such as Sageus Strategy + Digital can serve as a cultural bridge to help your brand reach a large cultural audience locally and globally.
As a one-stop firm, we connect North American and Chinese communities through marketing initiatives and campaigns, and journey with you to help your brand make a cross-cultural and social impact.
With more than two decades of combined experiences working alongside global brands and organizations, Sageus Strategy + Digital focuses on getting to know your business, and help you connect with your audience.
Headquartered in Canada, and committed to making a global, cross-cultural, sustainable impact — we’re your one-stop firm for cultivation and growth, in all areas of branding and marketing.
Connect with us at sageuscollective.com/connect and learn more about what we do! Stay tuned for our next blog post, and follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, or Facebook — so you won’t miss out on any updates from our Sageus Strategy + Digital Team.