The right and wrong way to use social media

Common Social Media Mistakes

It’s amazing how many startups and small brands dump social media in the lap of an intern simply because they have an Instagram account. Don’t let it be an afterthought or something that’s more fun than professional. Social media should be treated as a facet of an overall marketing plan with clear objectives, ROI goals, and a thoughtful strategy with a set of tactics.

Best Ways To Use Social Media

Choose the right channels

There are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, Tumblr, Google Plus, and more ambitious social startups launching every day. It can be overwhelming to manage so many accounts and produce unique but cohesive content for each. The good news is that you don’t need to be on every single social media network. Choose a few that make the most sense for your brand, and focus on executing those thoughtfully. As a camera bag company, ONA’s main audience is photographers. We love to use image-heavy platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to visually appeal to our fans. Bill Cosby famously said: “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” In social media, trying to be everywhere will exhaust your team and create subpar content across the board.

Be cohesive across all platforms

You don’t need to share the exact same thing at the exact same time on every single social network (because then why would an individual need to follow you on more than one platform?), but it is important to present a cohesive brand identity on each network. Whether you want to be more quirky or more professional, establish a brand “voice” that carries across all marketing materials. Keep it consistent with typography and photo editing; you want people to see a social media post and know it’s your brand before they even see the handle. Everlane does a great job of this!

Be well-versed in customer service

No matter how prominently you display your customer service email address or phone number, customers are still likely to ask questions, share success stories, or file complaints on your social media channels. Even if your marketing and customer service team don’t overlap, it’s essential to incorporate exceptional customer service into your social media strategy. Be fast, be thoughtful, be helpful. And if you can’t solve their problem in 140 characters, give them a direct email address and be sure they’re responded to in a timely manner.

Don’t ignore complaints

Customers appreciate brands acknowledging them. No matter how big or small the issue is, it’s essential to recognize the person and the problem and to let them know that you’re listening and you care. Move the conversation to email or private messages if necessary – just don’t ignore an unhappy customer. The interaction also lets other customers know that you’re able and willing to fix problems. It sends a message that they can trust the integrity of your product and service.

Cultivate brand advocates

Use social media to find industry influencers and passionate fans who can become brand advocates. Once you’ve established a rapport online – sharing their photo on your Instagram or engaging with them on Twitter – look for opportunities to grow the relationship. Feature them on your blog, send a snail mail thank you note, or treat them to a coffee. ONA has created a stellar network of brand advocates, some with millions of online followers, others active in offline photography groups, simply by implementing these practices:

Have a mix of original content, company features, and industry-relevant news

Social media is certainly a place to share the latest feature on your company blog or a great review in a major publication, but if it’s completely product-centric, it can get boring to followers. Mix it up by sharing interesting industry news, photos and comments from real customers, and a look behind the scenes at your company, such as an employee birthday lunch or a product photo shoot.

Give credit where credit is due

Image copyright infringements are rampant on social media. It’s great to repost gorgeous images of your product or service from your followers, but never forget to give the photographer credit via their name and/or handle. They’ll likely be thankful for the extra boost in exposure. If you didn’t take the image yourself and you don’t know who did, don’t share it!

Triple-check every single post

Social media is your brand’s public face. Spelling mistakes and typos make you seem less competent; accidentally sharing a personal post on your company’s page can ruin credibility. Time may be money, but proofreading is gold.

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