5 Biggest Mistakes Engaging on Social Media

Whether you run a large business, are head of a large marketing team or are running your own business as a Sole Trader a watertight Social Media policy is a must.

You need to know and trust that your team are confident of doing and saying the right thing, that they are managing your business reputation and confident when engaging with potential and existing customers across your Social Media channels. As a one-man band you need to know also that your are doing the right thing for your business when it comes to your Social Media.image of a businessman shouting

The mainstay of any Social Media policy is the engagement and my focus today is on what NOT to do when interacting with the public on Facebook, Twitter and your other channels.These days with a massive audience watching your Tweets and Posts and monitoring your replies it is crucial that you and your team are on the ball when it comes to engaging with the public. Some common mistakes have damaged brands and businesses in the past, make sure you don`t do the same!

These are my 5 biggest mistakes to avoid when engaging on Social Media…

    1. Automation

      Automating your content schedule is absolutely fine as even though the public expect you to be accessible online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no one in their right mind expects the small to medium business to be broadcasting and replying to messages all day long, and software available today can make that process so much easier by automating their Social Media content. However the one thing that cannot be automated is engagement. That personal touch is all about engaging with potential and existing customers with the human element and If you plan on automating replies than expect to see your business ridiculed and your engagement returning little in the way of sales leads converting to hard cash. By all means automate certain posts to go out at certain times of the day but make sure your response is coming from you or your trusted team and not a machine!

  1. Automated ‘Thank You for Following’ Messages

    Mainly on Twitter and really very imperonal and annoying in my opinion and gives the wrong message straight away!. You`ve all seen it, you follow a business only to receive a direct message shortly after thanking you for following them and then directing your to their website or Facebook page? Yes it saves you as a busy business owner time but just as with the automated responses I mentioned above, automating your ‘Thank You’ message to your followers, people who are interested in you or your business, will lose that personal and human touch that engagement on social media offers and it will reflect badly on your business, it certainly does not create that good first impression. By sending a personalised ‘Thank You’ reply it is a great way to welcome a new follower. I tend to send them a reply that is public and mention their name or the day of the week so that it is clear the response is from a human and not a computer. For example: “Thank you @MartinPReynolds for the follow how is your Monday going Martin?”

  2. Responding in bulk!

    Drip, drip, drip, that is how your Social Media strategy should flow and as part of your Social Media policy it should be mentioned that if you plan on engaging with your followers you must attempt to do it as the conversation is taking place, I know it is not possible to spend 24 hours a day on Facebook or Twitter, but nothing looks worse in a Twitter feed than complete silence for a while then followed by a load of responses in a matter of minutes, one after straight after the other.  If you can’t engage immediately then don’t panic or worry about it but try to respond as soon as you possibly can, don`t leave it days or even weeks before replying, the chances are if you haven`t replied in a timely manner they will have gone elsewhere, probably to your competitor! If you are serious about engaging and building relationships and trust with potential and existing clients then you need to make sure you have an adequate and appropriate strategy and policy in place that you and your team know how to address comments and questions in a timely manner.

  3. Criticising your competitorsimage of a man and woman shouting

    A big NO, NO for me as a business owner. Criticising a competitor will make you look unprofessional, yes I know there are times when all you want to do is let off steam at the competition and let the public know just how poor their service is or because they`ve undercut you again that `cheap is not good` but just bite your lip! Being critical of others, especiallly your competition will not make you look good. As for arguing with them online or getting involved in a slanging matcht with a competitor please, please, please avoid this at all costs. You should feel confident in your products and services to let them do the talking for you, you want to be highlighting the positives in you and your businesss, not another business’s negatives.

  4. Arguing online

    Whatever you do DO NOT argue with your customers on your Social Media platforms. The old saying that “the customer is always right” should be written in your Social Media policy somewhere or at least sitting prominantly on your desk or office wall. How ever wrong you feel they may be, and how right you think you are,  the moment you respond with the maturity of a teenager with attitude, you’re business will not look good! Make sure your team are confident and that you can trust them to respond in the correct way. Respond to the complaint, ask for more details, try to resolve it in public as others will see this and it will show that you and your business care about your customers. If it starts to become inflamed then ask to take it offline or ask for their contact details so that you can call them or e-mail them back for more details.

  5. Bonus Tip: Grammatical Errors

    One of my pet hates! Yes we are not all perfect and I make some grammatical errors and typing or spelling mistakes from time to time but to see an article or Social Media post with obvious poor grammar, poor spelling or even text speak these days tells me one thing about that business…they do not care! If they cannot be bothered to check for spelling mistakes or bad grammar before posting then to me that is not a very good impression. At the end of the day they happen, we are all human, but to see it consistently on Social Media and even worse on their website or in their e-mails it is bad!. Your business is not expected to make mistakes. You would not make those mistakes when going about your business for a client or customer and people notice these little errors so keep a close eye on it, use a spellchecker, proof-read it before posting or Tweeting it. How hard is it to proof-read 140 characters?

    What other common mistakes can you think of that a business should be avoiding when it comes to engaging on Social Media? Tell me in the comments box below or on my Facebook page or Twitter!


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