4 Social Media Gaffes that Brands Don’t Have to Make

By: Clarabridge Team

March 16, 2015

social listening
social media

Brands exist, at the most basic and literal level, to profit from consumers in some way. The successful brand, then, strives for and achieves certain goals – identity, awareness, loyalty, etc. To do that, brands have to be where the people are – and in 2015 that means not just online, but on social media as well.

Social media platforms are increasingly becoming the dominant media through which people interact with each other, consume news, and share their own information. To wit, more than 288 million monthly active users on Twitter combine to send about half a billion tweets each month. With eyeballs moving from TV screens to laptops and smartphones, brands need to pay more and more attention to social media – especially Twitter – in order to win. Here are four unforced errors that many brands make, but can easily avoid.

You don’t bother to collect social data

An increasingly connected populace has become numb to personal privacy in ways that would (and, frankly, does) make some members of older generations cringe, which means that a substantial segment of the buying public is more than willing to tell you any number of things about themselves. Demographic info aside, however, sentiment analytics and text analytics tools make it possible to treat each and every social message as a referendum on your brand. Essentially, if you’re paying attention, social media can tell you exactly who is (and, just as importantly, who isn’t) engaging with your brand, where they are, what they’re like, and how people feel about you. If you’re failing to collect this social data, you’re consciously turning your back on the ability to improve your business.

You don’t have an active presence

The average American spends about an hour on Facebook every day. As previously stated, almost 300 million people use Twitter “actively.” As a result, branded company Facebook and Twitter accounts have become as mandatory as a company logo – but like basic corporate branding, not all are created equal. Successful brands treat their Facebook page like a secondary website, maintaining the latest accurate information and breaking news there, as well as posting consistently to maintain brand profile.

Twitter, however, is where a brand can make a difference. With little space for company info – a short description and a link to your website are about all you can squeeze into the provided bio space – brands need to post aggressively to get their message out there, and must interact with others in order to acquire any following at all. Just how aggressively do you need to post? The latest estimates put a tweet’s half-life – the amount of time it takes to become lost in the shuffle – at just four minutes. To have any impact at all, your account needs to send between five and fifteen tweets per workday.

You ignore your followers

That opportunity for feedback mentioned above is not a one-way street; more and more, consumers are taking advantage of the unparalleled access they have to brands – not to mention the unprecedented impact that negative reviews can have upon a business. Twitter especially is becoming one of the main avenues for customer inquiries and complaints. And, if you’re tweeting as often as is recommended, your followers will know that there is someone actively monitoring your account. People aren’t just blowing off steam – they’re expecting a response, and a prompt one. However, just 11.2% of brands in one study responded to messages within one hour. Many brands didn’t respond at all, which is inexcusable. Take advantage of the opportunity to engender some good will – and deflect some calls from your call center – and respond as quickly as possible to direct messages.

Your executives don’t embrace social

This may be the biggest mistake that a company can make, as it has a hand in the previous three. Full organizational buy-in begins with the C-suite, and is essential for success on social media. Beyond the implementation of a successful social media strategy, executives miss out on valuable insights that can be gleaned from social data.

The benefits aren’t just philosophical and strategic, however – studies show that followers expect CEOs to have a presence on social media, and those who are active on Twitter (including Bill Gates, Marissa Mayer, and Tim Cook) have cultivated massive following. Your executives are your most influential employees – and with diligent social media participation, they can extend their influence into the public space. Each of your execs needs a Twitter account.

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Clarabridge’s blog, Sentiments, helps businesses incorporate customer sentiment and feedback into their business strategy. Published by Clarabridge, Sentiments speaks to customer experience professionals, marketers, customer care leaders and anyone who wants to make informed, strategic decisions that delight customers. Follow Sentiments on Twitter @Clarabridge.