I’ve been on a soapbox recently when it comes to social media. Why? It’s a topic I’m very passionate about, and I get particularly fired up when I see so many companies outright not taking social media seriously. I recently wrote about this topic in Forbes, but have been inspired to add even more to my growing list of grievances about all the ways companies are remaining ignorant about social media.
Approximately one in every three minutes a person spends online is in a social network, for a daily average of one hour and 58 minutes. Not taking social media seriously is detrimental to your brand. As a content marketing agency founder, I feel obligated to share some insights that will hopefully inspire and enlighten at least one company to see how these social media faux pas are hurting their businesses, and how social media plays a major role in your entire online presence.
Social Content Unaligned with your Business
Every day, social media content that has nothing to do with the business sharing it is shared across company channels. While it can be fun and perfectly acceptable to occasionally share something lighthearted or related to a holiday or event, do so sparingly. If you’re a B2B SaaS company that always shares jokes, memes and other unrelated content, no one will take you seriously or even know what you do, and they will likely unfollow you.
Just because it’s #nationaltalklikeapirateday, doesn’t mean your company should join in on the “arrrr-ction.” Unless you’re Disney, then you are most likely not qualified to join in this discussion. This example is a great use of the trending hashtag that's interesting and relevant to the brand.
Not Knowing Who You are Following or Who is Following you on Twitter
This is one of the most obvious examples we come across where companies aren't taking social media seriously. Many organizations have no idea who they're following or who's following them. When we first conduct an audit of a company's Twitter account, one aspect we dive into is a review of their following and followers lists. We’re often shocked to discover that their (very public) business Twitter account is following a gamut of unrelated users, from sports figures and celebrities to highly spammy accounts with few followers and no profile image, or even highly inappropriate accounts showcasing LiveNudeGirls (true story).
A company profile can certainly follow some non-industry related accounts, especially if they're relevant to their local area or some aspect of their brand. But following dozens of random eye-catching or “fun” accounts does not paint your company in a positive light.
The same holds true for the accounts who follow your company. Most organizations are just focused on the numbers, which is a vanity metric. Just because your company has 5,500 Twitter followers doesn’t mean they're all useful to your brand. Some followers can even be detrimental to you, reducing your credibility and making your account look unattended. Many people phishing for followers will follow thousands of accounts with the hopes of a follow back. Generally, these aren't the types of Twitter users who even care about your business or making a positive connection.
We often spend weeks using tools like Tweepi to review the follower and following lists of our clients, working to actually decrease the number of Twitter followers they have. Tools like this allow you to force unfollow certain accounts that may be inappropriate or spammy and have no relevance to your organization.
Having No Clue About Your Social Media Logins
Related to the point above, too many companies have no idea about their social media logins! Lots of companies have had a changeover, or a revolving door, of people managing their social media accounts, from interns to junior staffers or marketing managers who left two years ago. And now, they have no idea what the login is for their social media accounts or what the email is related to the main admin account. This is shocking! Imagine having no access to your website and an employee or intern who is no longer with your organization has control of it?
Get and stay in control of your social accounts or it can be disastrous for your brand. All social channels should be set up with an account that's not related to someone’s personal email (an info@ or socialmedia@ address). Anyone can leave a company at any time–and if someone who manages social does leave your organization, take them out of your social media accounts immediately, and be sure that the passwords are changed and stored in a secure place.
Ignoring Your Company’s LinkedIn Profile
Many company execs (new grads to the C-Suite) still see LinkedIn as a social media resume, only useful to those looking for a new job. While LinkedIn is a very valuable recruiting, job-hunting and networking platform, its functionality and value reaches far beyond those needs.
Take a look at your company’s business profile on LinkedIn.
- Does the description accurately represent your current messaging and positioning?
- Are the images and logos clear, properly sized for LinkedIn specs and up-to-date?
- Are you making use of the new LI headers for branding purposes?
- Do you only have 12 followers?
- Are you regularly sharing a mix of curated industry content and your own original content on your page? (80/20 rule)
- Is the content you’re sharing well-optimized and relevant to your industry? (note: LinkedIn posts come up in individual Google searches)
- Are all of your employees connected to your business page via their personal profiles?
- Are there any people connected to your company profile who no longer or never should be? (True story: This year on our SPROUT Content LinkedIn profile, someone in Asia, where we do not have any employees, listed themselves as our Asia office CEO. We contacted LI immediately and it was removed by them in about two hours).
Think of your business LinkedIn profile as important as your website, a Wikipedia page or other public profile. It will be viewed by potential employees, investors, clients, vendors and anyone else who wants to know more about your company.
An Intern Will Handle Social
I saved my favorite for last. This sentiment actually causes my throat to tighten. It’s one that we’ve heard far too many times, and not just by small businesses with limited budgets. Tech companies with millions in funding have also shared their plan for an intern to handle social media. Just because an intern or junior staffer is a digital native and are active on social media doesn’t mean they should be managing your company’s public communication channels. Think about it. That’s like 15-20 years ago letting an intern (perhaps when you were an intern) have free will to send press releases out all day, answer your customer support calls and talk to the media without any experience in these areas.
Successful social media management demands an in-depth understanding of your products, services and industry, and requires experience in developing professional content aligned with business goals. Your social media strategy should work cohesively with your buyer personas, SEO strategy, and overall content strategy to deliver results based on strategic KPIs. And Facebook “Likes” are not the metric by which your company should be measuring social media success.
I hope these insights will inspire you to take social media more seriously or be the change-agent in your organization to do so. Social media platforms are one of the greatest communication channels any person or company has access to since the evolution of the world wide web. Not seeing their true value and impact for your organization is a loss for your brand–not strategically and properly managing your social media channels can have devastating effects.