Social media marketing is flexible. Most social platforms are designed for personal interactions and unique expressions, which means you don’t have to conform to any posting rules or even any norms when you post. But your end goal, appealing to your followers and attracting new faces to the brand, demands that you make a great impression with correspondingly great posts.
Unfortunately, many business owners have resorted to simplistic tactics, updating their social accounts on an irregular basis, and not paying much attention to what they post. There are certain types of updates that are unappealing to the masses, yet are increasingly used because they’re easy, or because they’re misinterpreted to be effective when really they drive audiences away.
As you make updates to your company’s social media profiles, avoid these types of posts like the plague:
1. The Hashtag Bomb. Hashtags are a great way to get a read on what’s popular, and categorize your posts so other people can find it. However, too many entrepreneurs and social media marketers mistake this assessment to be equivalent to “the more hashtags you include on a post, the more it’s going to be seen.” This simply isn’t the case. Having more hashtags on a post will open it up to more potential visibility when people browse for those topics, but an overabundance of hashtags is actually going to drive people away.
Limit your hashtags to the posts you really want to have some extra visibility. When you do, keep your hashtags to a minimum–two at the most for a post–and ensure they are on-topic with your post.
2. The Generic Greeting. Some social marketers like to get started at the beginning of the day, making a post simply for the sake of making a post. Throwaway greetings, like “Happy Monday everyone!” or “Only two more days to the weekend!” may seem like a good idea, since making posts is better than total silence, but too many of these generic greetings and people are going to tune you out.
Rather than having a generic greeting like this, seemingly extended to everyone in the world and not really encouraging any thought or response, write up something that’s specific and targeted. Explain why you’re excited about the day, or ask your users what they’re looking forward to or dreading. Stir up some real conversation and avoid the pitfalls of empty greetings.
3. The Vague Title. The vague title is usually an update made by the hardcore content marketers who only use social media as an outlet for their work. They generally don’t pay much attention to their social profiles, but they do try to update it regularly, so they simply take the title of a blog post and throw it out with a link, hoping for people to click it.
If you have really catchy titles that encourage clicks, then this can be a valuable strategy. However, when your news feed is full of such standalone titles, it can become tiresome. Instead, try to introduce your article in a unique and compelling way–this is especially important if you post links to your articles multiple times in a pattern of ongoing syndication.
4. The Standalone Image. Images are great tools for social media. Posts with images get more visibility and more clicks that posts without them, but as a result, many businesses have resorted to sharing any image they can find, without regard for context or even appropriateness. This is especially true for small business owners, who may post a comic unrelated to their industry in an attempt to generate interest from ordinary people.
The problem with this is the targeting. Your comic may be funny to a wide demographic, but that demographic may have no real interest in your brand or products. Instead, it’s better to do your research and post an image that really appeals to your ideal audience–and frame it in text to explain the context.
5. The Brief Response. Sometimes it’s a lack of time and sometimes it’s a lack of interest. Whatever the case, we’ve all been propagators of the “brief response.” When you read a post you like and want to get in on a conversation you say, “Great post.” Or you say “Thanks” when someone compliments your brand. These phrases do count as a response, but only on a technical level. They don’t do anything to drive a conversation forward; in order to do that, you need to be more specific, more personal, and more unique. One-to-two word responses just don’t get it done.
Of course, having a great social media strategy requires more than just avoiding the bad posts. American adults spend an average of 37 minutes a day on social media, which means that your social exposure could make or break thousands of impressions. Actively work toward improving your messaging, and put your best face forward to your growing audience.
By Larry Alton