IMAGE: FLICKR, HASLOO
When you’re learning the ropes for a new task, most people will show you the best examples of how to do something. However, I believe you should do the exact opposite. It is great to see a small example of what you need to achieve, but if you just look at perfect examples you won’t learn anything.
It’s also just as important to study the complete failures. Not just for the laughs, but so you can establish a foul line for yourself. After all, how will you ever know you’ve gone astray if you don’t know where the out of bounds line starts?
In the case of social media management, knowing your boundaries is particularly important. Most of the time, you’re not only responsible for your own reputation, but also that of your employer. Any mistakes you make will affect your employer or business just as it would affect you. That is why it is imperative that you are able to identify the worst social media tactics, along with the best.
By studying mistakes that others have made, you will learn how to avoid doing the same things in your own content. Let’s get right to it, shall we?
Spelling and Grammar is Crucial to Success
Aside from some of the trends that misspell a word or two for effect, you should never publish any content that includes eye-gouging grammatical errors. It only takes a few minutes to proof-read your post, so do it before you hit that ‘publish’ button.
There is no need to provide a direct example of this point, because it happens often. Just keep in mind that you should always skim through your content before making a post to ensure that everything is up to snuff.
Don’t Beg for Attention
One of the worst things you can do in a social media campaign is to start begging for attention. There are of course, multiple ways to do that. You can come off just as desperate and needy if you make the wrong post too. It’s not always about the act of begging directly.
For example, Wheat Thins social media account posted the following:
Can someone check if the retweet button works? Click it and get back to us. Advance thanks in advance. #MustHaveWheatThins
— Wheat Thins (@WheatThins) October 16, 2013
It’s not clever, inventive or even original. It’s just plain silly. Clearly, whoever was behind the Wheat Thins social campaign has no clue how to garner attention or engagement from their audience. Even if they were just trying to be funny, it’s in poor taste.
Instead of asking or begging for engagement, use social accounts to highlight the best of what you’ve got to offer. 12 Keys uses their facebook page to share infographics that cover topics their audience is interested in. Instead of begging for engagement, it comes naturally from an audience that appreciates specific and well thought out content.
Don’t Use Cheap Tricks
If you’re going to hold a contest or play a game with your followers, make sure you do it correctly. Don’t resort to cheap tricks and don’t treat your followers like they are complete morons. As you can see, both Nokia and KLM Middle East are guilty of doing this.
Nokia uploaded a photo of just the lower portion of a dogs ear, asking their followers “Can you guess what we #zoomed in on this week?” The problem is that you can clearly see the rest of the dog in the picture. While it may have just been an innocent slip-up, the post is insulting their followers in a specific way. Why, you ask? Clearly, they didn’t think their followers would have an easy time guessing what a dog ear was, so they included the rest of the animal in the photo.
KLM asked followers to guess where they were, offering a hint that the last Olympics were hosted in the city. That’s enough of a clue. Instead, the social team decided to play hangman and said they would reveal a new letter after every 20 likes.
Why is this silly? It’s pretty much one of the sleaziest ways to encourage engagement on a post. Not to mention, most followers would probably ignore it completely since KLM already gave them the answer.
Don’t resort to cheap tricks and silly antics. If you’re going to do something similar with your own content, then keep it interesting and provide a real challenge.
Keep it About the Strategy
One of the first things you are supposed to do when coming up with a social strategy is put together an outline for the future. While coming up with this plan, you find your niche or area of expertise. The reason for that is because you don’t want to stray too far from what’s important. It is okay to throw up a fun post, but the content still needs to relate to your brand as a whole.
That’s one of the biggest mistakes social teams make. They go crazy posting ridiculous content, instead of sticking to a particular niche. Want an example?
Dove posted the following tweet, “Retweet if you start your day at the gym, reply if you end your day at the gym, favorite if today wasn’t a gym day.”
Why would they do such a thing? Dove is a soap company and has absolutely nothing to do with working out, unless they decided to make a new soap that smells like sweat. The point here is that you should establish your boundaries and then stay within them. Keep it within the confines of your original strategy. If your original strategy isn’t working out for you, then come up with a new one, but never go off on a tangent.