Time and again, we’ve seen that Social Media amplifies – sometimes for good, too often for bad or worse. Say something stupid in social media and there’s a better than even chance that the whole world will find out about it, far sooner than you think.
There’s really only one solution (and even that’s not guaranteed): learn what you should and shouldn’t say on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn and all those other social networks. Get some training before it’s too late.
So how do you know if you need social media training?
If your organisation exhibits any of these classic errors.
Social Media Warning Signs
Get yourself social media training fast if your business makes any of these mistakes:
1. Asking open-ended questions (and then ignoring the responses)
2. Getting into an argument and insulting your customers and followers
It was the customer service disaster heard around the Internet. An Arizona restaurateur, fed up after years of negative online reviews and an embarrassing appearance on a reality television show, posted a social media rant laced with salty language and angry, uppercase letters that quickly went viral, to the delight of people who love a good Internet meltdown.
3. Not replying to questions and comments on your social media platforms.
Too many brands simply ignore what’s being said to them, with entirely predictable results. This graph from SocialBakers shows which industries are the best (and worst) at responding:
4. All you talk about in social media is yourself
Only 10% of what you talk about in social media should be yourself and your own products or services. The rest of your discussions should be about things that matter to your followers. Don’t be like this Donut shop, constantly posting meaningless pictures of donuts and drinks to an audience that couldn’t care less (3416 followers but less than a dozen likes per image).
5. Nobody’s talking about you
As you may have heard, Facebook is dialing back its organic reach. What that means, in a nutshell, is that even if someone likes your Facebook brand page, it’s most unlikely that they will see your posts in their newsfeed. That means, to all intents and purposes, that you’re invisible to your followers — unless (a) you promote your posts to them; or (b) you write posts that are sufficiently interesting and engaging that they get shared by the few that do see them (and thus get out to a wider audience).
The Star Wars page on Facebook, for example, despite 11 million followers, was only averaging around 15,000 weekly talks — until May the Fourth (“be with you”), when interest surged and more than a quarter of a million people found Star Wars worth talking about again on Facebook.
6. Everybody’s talking about you (but not in a good way)
Justine Sacco, head of public relations for UK media giant IAC, flew towards Africa in December 2013, blissfully unaware of the uproar caused by her final tweet before boarding her 12-hour flight.
Even though Ms Sacco had a mere 200 followers, the tweet went viral even while she was flying. Her tweet was universally condemned as racist, resulting in the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet trending worldwide. Unsurprisingly, Ms Sacco lost her job, her former employer apologised profusely and several AIDS charities received donations from appalled twitterati.
7. You post too often (or too seldom)
How often should you post to your social networks? That depends on (a) your networks; and (b) your followers.
If you’re posting to Twitter, for example, and reaching out to a business audience, then posting (variations on the same information) at three-hour intervals during the business day is acceptable — very few will see more than one post, given the transient nature of Twitter.
On the other hand, posting to a consumer audience via Facebook should be less frequent, because posts are likely to linger more there. Take a look at your Facebook page Insights data (via your Page Manager dashboard) and view “When Your Fans Are Online” (under “Posts”).
Post perhaps twice a day, at times that coincide with most of your fans being online.
Once you realise you need Social Media Training
We would be remiss if we didn’t point you to our range of social media courses: overview here.
- If you want a comprehensive overview of Social Media Marketing, its principles and its practices, start here
- If you want a rundown of the latest developments, check out our Advanced Social Media Marketing course here
- If you want to market your business on Facebook but don’t know how, our Complete Facebook Marketing course is the place to start
- If you’re already active on Facebook but think you could be doing it better, our Facebook Accelerator course could be the one for you
- If you operate in the B2B space, we strongly recommend you learn How To Use LinkedIn Effectively
- If you plan to use social media but won’t be hands-on yourself, you should take a look at our course covering How To Prepare An Effective Social Media Brief