Facebook and Twitter have become focal points for marketers who now find themselves diving headfirst into the social marketing waters. Social media is forcing corporate branding to evolve, as brands now create personas, build communities, and develop relationships with people, not just consumers.
Brands are becoming content creators, so much so that the lines between brand and publisher have blurred. However, some social engagement efforts are not as impactful as they could be, as marketers often fall into personality traps. Save yourself and your brand some trouble by avoiding these stereotyped social media personalities when bringing your brand into the conversation.
The canned responder
You might be a big brand, but when a user comes to your site with a complaint or a suggestion about customer service in the jewelry department of your store, responding with the same verbiage you used to express your sympathy with someone who had a problem in the shoe department isn't productive. And consumers catch on. Maintaining a social media presence is time consuming. It takes a while to sift through comments and suggestions and replies and posts. However, it's always best to respond as personally as possible -- even if you can't tell them what they want to hear.
Posting throughout the day about a "life-changing green tea" product that will "make me lose 40 pounds in two days" is not a way to build a following. When it comes to Facebook and Twitter, engagement is different from spamming, and integration is different from oversaturation.
Sure, it's fine to post information about your product, what you're selling, or what you want to gain from your Facebook fans or Twitter followers, but don't let that be the only thing you post about. Mix in some fresh ideas. Develop a rapport with your fans or followers. Begin to build that relationship. And when you do, you can easily integrate your product into your feeds in a personal way. Users would be much more inclined to click on your "life-changing green tea" product if you just talked to them about their New Year's resolutions.
The deathly long status updater
There is a reason why Twitter limits updates to 140 characters. That's the approximate attention span of a social media user. And you honestly wonder why your novel-length Facebook status doesn't have any comments? Chances are, they didn't get past the first paragraph before moving on to the next item in their news feed. So, cut the fat and get to the point.
Also known as "creepers," these brands sign up for a Facebook or Twitter account and don't do anything with it but "stalk" potential clients. There are no updates, there are no tweets, and there's hardly any (if any) information about the company. They're just there. Silently lurking. And what are they really achieving? Nothing. Yes, they'll accrue some fans or followers, but that's because of the name of the brands, not because they are using social media.
Facebook and Twitter can be valuable market research tools. Brands can learn a lot about their customers from social media conversations. However, standing by the wayside and watching these conversations take place is not the proper way to participate. Show the customers that you're listening, you're there, you're paying attention, and their voices are, in fact, getting heard. That's when the relationship between consumer and brand begins to form.
The press-release republisher
Facebook and Twitter are tools of engagement, not megaphones. Republishing your dry press release just isn't going to cut it. It's important to make sure appropriate people see the press release, but it's equally -- if not more -- important that people can understand why this press release is so great. Try to create some fresh content. Write a few little blurbs or pull some interesting quotes or sentences from the press release. Otherwise, you just end up looking lazy and unoriginal.
The off-site hustler
We get it! Your website "has a lot to offer!" Want to know how we know that? That's all you post about. "Visit this link," "visit that link" -- these prompts aren't engaging if that's all you're telling your fans or followers. Instead, how about capitalizing on the people that are with you on this network? Build promotions or contests within the social medium you're using. Once you get loyal fans or followers, they'll find your site on their own.
The serial retweeter
It seems that these social media brands just feed off of other people's great ideas. Of course, it's OK to recognize someone else's savvy -- but it's even more important to come up with your own ideas (perhaps even ideas that warrant others to retweet you). So, go ahead, retweet something someone said -- but add your own commentary. Build something of your own from what that person provided you with. And don't let retweets consume your stream.
You post a status update, and you're getting lots of feedback. Great! You've officially started generating conversation among your fans or followers. However, when your fans or followers start asking you questions or giving you recommendations (which is what you asked for in the first place), and you're not responding to them -- well, they're just going to stop asking. Or get mad at you for "pretending" to care.
Show followers you really do care by answering their questions and responding to their suggestions. People turn to social media to communicate with brands with which they otherwise may not be able to communicate. This is your chance to build that relationship and transform a one-time customer into a loyal one.
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