Three Ways to Sabotage Your Brand on Social Media

Kacir Karenby Karen Kacir

It’s easy to look at high-profile cases of social media disasters and gather some worst practices.  Plenty of digital ink has been used rounding up egregious and embarrassing faux pas committed by big companies.  Beyond the insensitive and the tone-deaf, there are subtler mistakes that can also sabotage your brand on social media:

1. Failure to develop SMART goals.

Even if you’re not utilizing paid promotions, social media isn’t free.  Like any investment, it carries an opportunity cost.  Maximize your time investment by developing SMART goals – goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

Furthermore, don’t conflate output with impact.  Posting a certain number of times per week is a tactic; garnering measurable engagement in the form of likes, shares and comments proves impact.

2. Unfocused effort.

Once you’ve established goals, identify which channels will allow direct access to your audience.  More is not always better when it comes to social platforms.  Limit your effort to engage on the spaces your audience occupies and don’t neglect niche social channels where your customers may spend time.

3. Tunnel vision.

Be aware of the larger conversations happening around you.  There are plenty of examples of the mayhem that has ensued when corporate social media managers re-blogged with a hashtag or an image without understanding its implications in the context of a broader cultural conversation.  Less shareable (but still terrible) is when brands lose sight of the “social” in social media, posting and sharing only content that directly references their product and neglects to consider the interests of their audiences.  We stick to the 70/30 rule.

Sometimes social media mistakes can be prevented with nothing more than a quick proofread.  Sometimes, they can’t.  Look deeper than the surface when analyzing your team’s approach to social media and make sure your goals, channels and focus align, and that they fit appropriately within the broader conversation.

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