During a typical week, I analyze, critique, and give recommendations to brands on their social media efforts. Most of the brands I reviewed this past month have very active accounts, posting several times per day on Twitter and at least once per day on Facebook.
The majority of these brands thought they were doing an outstanding job with their social media accounts and only a couple thought they could use some help. The mindset for most of these companies was that their active social media accounts equaled great social media marketing. Unfortunately, the harsh reality is that expending energy and creating activity is hardly a recipe for anything. You may be creating the illusion of a social media marketing strategy, but being active and spinning your wheels isn’t getting your brand anywhere.
The average consumer isn’t that average at all. In fact, they’re probably a whole lot more savvy than you think. How do I know? Because I watch brands that manage and execute unhealthy social media strategies every day, and they don’t get much or any engagement on their social accounts.
So, what steps can you take to ensure your social media strategy is operating at peak performance? A quick self-diagnosis will help to eliminate some of the most common ailments:
• Symptoms: Possible inflammation of the ego or merely mistaking social media as “just another advertising channel.”
• Prescription: You should remember that 80 percent of your content mix should be engaging, educational, or lifestyle focused. Save 20 percent of your content for new products/services, discounts, and other self-promotional messages.
• Symptoms: Customer service disease whereby the same message is used over and over again without regard for the individual customer. Typical responses look something like, “Sorry to hear about your issue. Please contact our customer service team at email@example.com.”
• Prescription: Customize messages for each customer and do your best to solve the problem or answer questions publicly. This disease can easily be eliminated with a little extra time, listening, and TLC. Customers need to know they are being heard.
3. Over-Linking Disorder
• Symptoms: Loss of sentence structure and meaning through the automatic reposting of Facebook messages to your Twitter feed. Five-hundred-character posts on Facebook that are cut down to 140 characters on Twitter lose their meaning and intent, and rarely translate properly.
• Prescription: Un-link your accounts from auto-posting on other social media channels. First of all, it’s lazy. Twitter handles (usernames) and Facebook page names don’t hyperlink the same way. Also, I would recommend that Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social channels don’t auto-post to other channels. Remember that each social media channel should have a unique purpose, business objective, and target demographic.
• Symptoms: Overuse of trendy marketing tactics such as memes, Someecards, and cat videos. Frequency of use is problematic along with oftentimes being completely off-brand.
• Prescription: Create your own trends that are unique to your industry or brand. Be a trendsetter and not merely a follower. Remember that trends are fads that quickly fade away. Be sure to focus on trends and best practices that are “on-brand” and make sense for your company.
5. Auto-Responding Syndrome
• Symptoms: Thanking everyone for following your brand on Twitter or sending auto-replies to people that write to you directly.
• Prescription: Stop it with the automated bots. These messages look and feel like spam all too often. If you’re really that thankful for someone’s follow or reply, craft a genuine response that sounds like it’s coming from a real person. Engagement through social media should feel social and chatty, not robotic.
Lucas Vandenberg is the founder and CEO of Fifty & Five, a social media marketing agency serving local, national, and global brands, with offices in Orlando, Los Angeles and Boston. Lucas can be reached @TrojanLV on Twitter or via email at LV@fiftyandfive.com