Social Media Pet Peeves

Social Media Pet Peeves

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Is your small-to-medium-size business taking the DIY approach to social media? If so, you may be making blunders that are sabotaging your efforts to drive traffic to your website and/or storefront. Seeing the pitfalls you may have fallen into through the eyes of your target market can help you climb out of the pit and back on the road to success!

In the interest of tough love, we present the leading pet peeves that potential business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) customers have about annoying social media practices. Ignore these observations at your own peril!

Social Media Posting Peeves

Hashtag overkill – Some social media posts seem to be equal parts text and hashtags. As with many such faux pas, this is based upon an erroneous belief – in this case, that the more hashtags in the post, the more opportunities it has to be found. In truth, as Ella Bergquist points out in her article for LinkedIn, “Using too many hashtags looks desperate for attention. It almost looks like spam on my dashboard on whichever social media platform. #Like #how #annoying #is #this. Stop hurting your viewers head! Simple is key. Keep it to a minimum and make sure your one or two hashtags are relevant.”

Our blog post – “The Secrets to Making Hashtags More Effective” – provides the recommended number of hashtags per post according to social media platform:

  • Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest – one to two hashtags per post.
  • LinkedIn – one to three hashtags per post.
  • Instagram – 10 or 11 hashtags per post, although the platform allows a total of 30.

Posting overkill – Posting the same content throughout the day won’t get more engagements, and just makes your business come across as unprofessional. It’s better to figure out when members of your target market are more likely to be checking their feed on each social media platform you’re posting to, and schedule for that time.

Fortunately, the good people at Sprout Social have done all the brainwork so you don’t have to! Their comprehensive posting recommendations guide provides the optimum times for posting to each major social media platform. Please note that all time frames are for Central Standard Time (CST). Even better, the Sprout Social guide breaks down the best times to post by industry!

One-size-fits-all postings – Content that’s posted verbatim across every social media platform you use looks as if you couldn’t be bothered to customize the message in order to engage your target audience. We’ve seen Twitter posts – which are a maximum of 280 characters – copied-and-pasted to Facebook and LinkedIn. Considering that Facebook and LinkedIn offer opportunities to customize your message at considerable length, you’re not making effective use of their marketing potential. Spending the extra time can pay off!

Hard-sell postings – As we noted in our blog post – “Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid” – business social media accounts that have post-after-post promoting a product, sale or offer come across as spammy. It’s called “social” media for a reason. The purpose is to engage members of your target audience, not constantly bombard them with sales pitches. Too much self-promotion can also get you blocked on Twitter by businesses you follow, simply because they consider your account low-value and a nuisance. Talk about counterproductive!

Name-dropper postings – Don’t include the name of a well-known person or industry influencer in a post unless you’re giving credit for a particular piece of content that you used in a social media post or blog post. It’s deceitful, because you want readers to believe that you or your business has a relationship with this person, organization, etc., that doesn’t exist. The person whose name or handle you mention won’t feel flattered, either! We always thank the authors of the content we use in our humble blog posts on our social media posts. That’s professional courtesy in acknowledging the source of our information, which is very different.

No separation between church and state – If you’re a business professional, your business social media accounts should be all about your business and your industry – as well as your business’s community involvement, if applicable. Period. We’ve seen numerous accounts by company founders, CEOs, etc., that mixed in plenty of personal and political opinions. Everyone is entitled to their own, of course, but views on such topics should be expressed on your personal social media accounts.

BTW, be careful, even if you’re already doing this. Be sure you’re posting to the correct account, or you could alienate a good percentage of your current or potential customers if one of your more outspoken viewpoints were to wind up on your business account!

Not proofreading posts – It isn’t just schoolteachers and the “spelling” or “grammar” police who immediately dismiss posts with typos, misspellings, grammatical errors or sentences that don’t make sense. Nothing else makes your business look more unprofessional. If you don’t pay attention to these details, it raises a big red flag to current and potential customers about how much attention you pay to every other aspect of your business!

Social Media Engagement Pet Peeves

The thanks-for-following sales pitch – If your business is B2B, how do you respond when you get a notification from Twitter that you have a new follower? If you greet this new follower with a sales pitch, be assured it’s irritating and alienating. As Robert Rose – Chief Strategy Officer of the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) – says in his interview with Lolly Spindler of xoombi, “I have two: On Twitter the Auto DM on follow (really any auto DM) and specifically the ones that thank me for following and then offer me some kind of discount on their latest content product. On LinkedIn it’s the request to connect, and then when I do, they immediately hit me with a sales message.” 

Spindler’s takeaway: “Don’t set up automated messaging! It’s annoying and disingenuous. Also, don’t pitch someone a product on social media unless you’ve already established a relationship with the individual.”

Having a profile photo without a photo (or unprofessional-looking photo) – While this is especially bad for your LinkedIn business account, the lack of a photo sends the wrong message about your level of professionalism, regardless of the social media platform. As Rachel Strella – founder and CEO of Strella Social Media – writes, “Other professionals are less likely to connect with someone who still has the default shadowy silhouette as a profile image. Even worse, we’ve seen individuals on LinkedIn who have used cartoons as their profile photo. No. No. No. Always use a good-quality image that reflects your professional self.”

Not answering questions or replying to comments – Strella makes a good point about this pet peeve, as well. “This can result in hard feelings and missed opportunities. When people engage with you on social media, they expect a response promptly.” So check your LinkedIn account at least once daily, as well as your Facebook and Twitter notifications and DMs. If you don’t have the answer to a question, acknowledge the query and reply that you’ll get back as soon as you’re able to provide some information (and if you can’t, let them know that, as well). You will at least have established your business as conscientious and serious about customer service.

The Take-Home Message and Our Blatant Self-Promotion

Doing social media right demands a good investment of time and resources. If your business can benefit from the advice given here, we feel that we’ve helped make the digital marketing world a better place! But if you decide you’d rather leave it to the pros, that’s what we’re here for! Virtual Stacks Systems provides comprehensive social media marketing services, as well as PPC advertising, website design and redesign, SEO marketing, review management services and much more! Contact us to get started.

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