Sue from accounts, Jerry from finance, Emma the secretary. We all know them. You know, the person who the boss has outsourced the ‘social media stuff’ too. Over-posting and under-posting, sharing inappropriate memes on the company's page, and often using capital letters to capture the audience’s attention.
Fact is, that ‘social media stuff’ is important, because regardless of whether you’re using it to recruit leads or not, it’s a representation of your brand, in such it is your modern day digital business card.
All of these little mistakes could seriously be impacting on your brand's image. Luckily, you don’t have to be a digital marketing guru to avoid the most offending violations. Here are 5 of the worst digital marketing sins you need to stop doing!
Over Hashtagging Possibly the most common sin of the bunch, over hashtagging on Instagram and Twitter is not only a tasteless, but is also unlikely to help boost your posts’ exposure. Only use relevant hashtags and keep them consistent. A good rule is to pick 5-10 that represent your brand and try and stick to them. For example, around one or two hashtags per tweet (unless absolutely necessary), whilst on Instagram you can always get away with a few more. One of the best ways to use hashtags is to use them as a way to track an event or a campaign. However, if you’re going to do this make sure that all those involved are aware of your hashtag so they can post their own comments and content, making it easily identifiable in the realms of Twitter and Instagram. Finally, hashtags aren’t popular with Facebook users, so best to leave these out of your content altogether on the platform.
Sharing your own content - repeatedly. So there are two sides to this sin, but it really boils down to the same point. Firstly, if you’re logged in as your brand and you like your own content, it doesn’t look professional. Of course you like your own content, you made i, but you don’t need to cement that love with a like, as it looks like you’re doing it to get the numbers up. Secondly, it’s just as bad to like content logged on your personal profile, particularly if you’re constantly promoting it with shares and retweets. Not only will the wider social media community pick up your ties with the businesses (and therefore your willingness to praise their content) but you’re messing with the true engagement rates of your content, which will mean skewed data when it comes to analysing the success of your content. Facebook is also likely to pick up if one particular user is highly engaged with content in an unusual capacity. This might signal alarm bells and could again decrease your page’s reach.
Wrong Images/Unauthorised Images There’s this thing called copyright, and it’s sort of a big deal. Aka, any images you publish from your account need to be royalty free or paid for. You can use sites like Photopin and Pixabay if you’re looking for free images, but if you really want some high quality photos, look into investing in a stock photo subscription. Another point to make whilst we are on the topic of images, is that you need to abide by each social media’s size guides. Why? Well go against the grain of Facebook’s guidelines and you’ll likely be penalised, meaning that Facebook will reduce the reach your post equalling less exposure. Not only will your post reach fewer users, unless your image is at the optimum size, you’ll only see a preview of the full image on a timeline, and the user might miss the focus point.
Batch posting Posting all of your week's content, one after another, when it suits you - big mistake. It’s best to target your audience when they’re most engaged, so serving up a chunk of content at 3pm on a Thursday afternoon when you had a chance isn’t going to be effective. There are various ways of finding out when is best to post for your brand, be it taking a peek into your insights on Facebook - which will likely show a graphic similar to the below - or using a site such as Followerwonk which will give you a host of data, wrapped up in some easy to use graphs, letting you know when the majority of your followers are online. This means you can then use a scheduling tool (unapologetic plug: ours is here) to schedule your posts to users at a time that suits them.
Badly targeted ads I cannot stress enough the long term damage a badly targeted advert can cause, particularly on Facebook. Far too often we come across a page where posts have been boosted with very little, if any targeting. Why is this such a sin you ask? Well there’s actually 3 reasons.
Firstly, it’s bad for the bank. Promoting content to anyone and everyone is going to leave you with a low success rate. Sure you control what spend you put in, but if it’s only ever going to result in the odd like or follow, is it really worth the budget?
Secondly, people hate to be sold too. Everyone has a target audience, and it’s this audience you should be marketing to. Newsfeeds are cluttered enough without being filled with untargeted advertising. If you don’t target your audience correctly, you’re ultimately going to send a brand image that shouts “we’re amateur” and you could shut down potential leads for the future.
Finally, once you’ve gained a fan you can’t get rid of them. Every fan should be a potential lead and if you’re following is mostly vanity likes, then you’re probably going to miss the users who do matter far more often. It’s important to remember that Facebook doesn’t serve every piece of content to everyone of your fans. So you want to be sure that anyone who does see it is 100% into your brand, or else it's just a wasted opportunity. We’ve also seen a correlation between lack of engagement and lowering of reach. This means if people who aren't bothered aren't clicking, sharing or commenting, you could see each posts reach going down, so it will be served to even fewer people each time. Reversing this process is pretty difficult, so it’s better to do no ads, than badly targeted ads. Focus on the quality of your following, rather than the quantity, so that you don’t end up in a battle against Facebook’s algorithms trying to reach those potential leads.
There you have it, the 5 sins, that as digital marketers, make us squirm! Is your business guilty of any of these? Perhaps it might be wise to print this blog out and leave it within reach of your nominated office social media manager… Or if you are a digital marketer and think there’s something worth adding to the list, let us know in the comments below!