Four Mistakes Every Social Media Manager Should Avoid

Social media can be a great tool for companies to engage with consumers and further develop brand loyalty. However, it can also be incredibly dangerous if used recklessly. Check out these four mistakes every social media manager and brand should avoid:

1. Not hiring properly trained social media professionals

Social media managers are often the face of your company’s online brand, therefore it is imperative those responsible for the task are properly educated and trained on this unique, evolving media channel. Mistakes can’t always be avoided, we are human after all.

A few years ago, an American Red Cross employee tweeted from the corporate account, instead of privately, and as a result, the hashtag #gettngslizzerd went viral. The employee later apologized, explaining she didn’t know how to use the social media management software. Despite this misstep, the American Red Cross did a great job of turning this fail around by providing comedic relief in light of the incident.

2. Not responding appropriately to negative feedback

No matter what industry you are in, negative feedback is going to happen. When it does, you have three options: choose to ignore it, fight back or take it in stride. How you respond to these situations speaks to your brand. Some brands believe they can simply delete negative comments without any repercussions, while others believe ignoring undesirable comments is best. However, the brands who respond thoughtfully and promptly, as well as use the incident as an opportunity to showcase their commitment to customer service, are the ones who always win in the long term.

For example, Airlines  are constantly blasted about flyers’ not so great experiences on their social channels, but JetBluehas proven themselves to be experts on taking negative experiences and turning them positive.

3. Viewing social media as a 9-5 Job

In the digital age, consumers can and do interact with brands at any given time, requiring companies to be plugged in and online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While this may seem ridiculous to companies who operate in a standard Monday through Friday routine, brands wanting to engage on social media should invest in experts who can rotate responsibilities throughout the entire week, including nights, weekends and holidays when necessary. By doing so, brands can monitor any chatter about their company and respond to consumers quickly and smoothly.

While JetBlue has nailed social media, other airlines such as British Airways experienced the outrage of customers when they declared their Twitter feed was only open during the day, despite their planes flying around the clock. Further proof that there is no time off when it comes to online branding.

4. Offering automated responses

Social media is all about engaging with consumers and brand fans. If you were to call a company to complain or compliment about a recent experience, would you want to hear only pre-recorded messages? We didn’t think so. Therefore, social media shouldn’t be used in the same manner either. Simply “cutting and pasting” postings leaves consumers feeling unheard and can result in significant backlash. With that being said, every company should have prepared responses in place for commonly asked questions; however, they should also tailor these messages as needed for the situation at hand.

Several companies, such as Progressive, Bank of America and Kmart, have taken this easy approach in recent years, leading to harsh criticism and a poor reflection on their customer service competency.

Hopefully you find these tips and examples useful as you navigate online communities. While there are definitely things to avoid as brands on social media, the platform and a number of outlets have been proven as great tools to showcase brand personality and to have fun with fans, customers and influencers.