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Social media is becoming ubiquitous in everything we do and see. It’s everywhere, and businesses are taking advantage left right and centre with copious Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, YouTube channels etc. etc. The only problem is that as a marketing medium, these channels are still quite young, and quite often the people who are in charge of them don’t have enough time to become experts and don’t have enough money to hire those that are. Mostly they still manage to do a decent-enough job and the world goes on, but here’s a list of my top 10 social media hates that you see ALL THE TIME:

1.       Linking your Facebook and Twitter account.

This seems like a brilliant time-saving idea, but the truth is it is not. It’s a bad, bad idea. This is because Facebook and Twitter are not designed for the same purposes. Twitter has a 140 character limit, Facebook is now 60,000. Twitter is meant to be very short and sharp, but Facebook also works for longer, more conversational posts. If you post all your tweets automatically to Facebook, they end up being very short and abrupt posts and probably too frequent. If you post all your Facebook posts to Twitter they are probably too long and get cut off.  Take the time to structure the posts separately and you’ll get much better results. And annoy much fewer people.

2.       ‘Like this post if…’ Facebook posts

Granted, this one is a personal opinion and probably should be labeled more of a faux pas then ‘mistake’ per se. But seriously. Yes you might get more likes by posting that status, but to me it just seems like cheating. It’s not a real conversation and comes off looking desperate and clingy.  A distant cousin to this type of post is the ‘fill in the blanks’ posts that are so popular at the moment, which I also hate.  But maybe it’s just me.

3.       Illegal competitions

I’m amazed to still see this happening – companies running Facebook competitions through their page that blatantly violate Facebook’s T+Cs. Even more surprisingly I recently came across one that was being run by a social media agency – I had to tell them it was against Facebook’s T+Cs and they took it down and apologised to their community. When so-called social media agencies don’t know how to run a legitimate Facebook competition, we are all in trouble. You can read more about this in my past article, Why your Facebook competition is probably illegal.

4.       No viral hook to social campaign

With the popularity of using social media for business increasing, so too are the social campaigns that come with it. Businesses are looking for ways to build a community, engage and/or make money and this is when they decide to implement a marketing campaign through social channels. The unfortunate thing is that too often they miss the most important element of social media – its viral ability. They don’t leverage the viral element by including some sort of incentive (not to mention an easy way) for people to share with their friends. Sharing is what social media is all about, so make sure you keep this in mind when you’re creating your big social campaign.

5.       Focus on quantity, not quality

Way too often are businesses still fixated on growing their communities any way they can, without really sparing much thought as to the reason behind it. We have all been taught to believe that many followers is better than not many followers. But the actual truth is that less can actually be more in this case if they are all people who are interested in your product/service/expertise/cause.  5,000 randoms who care more about the history of soil hydrology than they do about whatever you’ve got to say isn’t really going to do you much good. Similarly all those people/businesses who go out and indiscriminately mass-follow people on Twitter then delete everyone who doesn’t follow them back inevitably end up with a big community but no conversation. Spend the time to make sure you are getting the right people in your community, not the most.

6.       Treating social media like every other channel

Even the older generations of management these days are clinging to the hope social media will be the answer to any and every problem their company has ever faced. It’s the hot topic and cries of “get us on Facebook and Twitter now!” can be heard across every state, country and continent. Well, except for China, because it’s blocked there. But the issue is that though they are hasty to get themselves in these channels, they are not so quick to try and understand how to use them.  In the end the result so often is that they are basically added as another broadcast channel to the marketing plan and used the same as every other on the list. This leads to a bunch of sales posts and company updates that are constantly broadcast to communities that are 75% staff members. Nobody wants to connect with a brand that is all broadcast and no conversation. I’m sorry, but it’s true.

7.       Not listening

Even if you’re doing the best job EVER on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc, if you don’t have a social media monitoring system in place you are still failing at life. A great social media strategy is not all about conversation and engagement, it’s also about listening to what people are saying about you – whether you want to reply or not. It’s also important to know what is being said about your competitors and your industry in general. It truly is amazing what you can learn if you listen on social media, it’s seriously some good free (-ish) market research.  Trust me.

8.       Outsourcing everything

Doing social media well is time-consuming. Give it to someone who already has a thousand other tasks/things to look after and inevitably it won’t be done as well as you would like. I know from personal experience, when I was looking after the entire marketing strategy and event management in a past role. I just couldn’t afford to spend the time I needed on social media because of competing priorities. Most businesses respond to this by promptly outsourcing everything to agencies. Their monitoring, strategy and campaigns are devised and implemented by agencies and they just touch base every second week when said agencies decide to present colourful but largely useless powerpoint presentations.

Excellent solution? HELL NO. The problem with this is not just that agencies for the most part have absolutely no f*#!ing idea, but also that you are losing a lot of the advantages of keeping your strategy and monitoring in-house. The top priority for agencies is money. It’s always been money. Yes they want to do a good job so they can continue to relieve you of your money, but the sad truth is that they are not only going to charge you about 10 times more than they should, but they are also going to spend the least amount of time working on your projects as they can. This means that your monitoring strategy will most likely be a lot sh*tter, with a lot fewer insights. It also means that a knowledge-bank of what works, what doesn’t and what people are saying will not be built in-house, which is exactly where it should be.  I could write a whole other article on this, and in fact I probably will, but for now just DO NOT entrust your agency to do all of your social media.

9.       Posting too frequently

I recently unliked a page for this very offense. Before I did so I posted on their page explaining (in a very nice way) that I was unliking their page because they were posting way too frequently, and though I liked their content it was overwhelming my feed. They responded that they didn’t think they were posting enough. Just that day they had already posted 7 posts, and it was still mid-afternoon. Not enough? Seven posts would be appropriate for Twitter, but any more than one per day on Facebook and you’re facing the sack. I don’t tolerate friends who spam my wall, so I’m sure as hell not tolerating a business. Even on Twitter I’ve unfollowed accounts for excessive tweeting, though granted this would be a fair lot more than seven per day. But the point is that you need to be able to prioritise your posts and I would recommend not posting anymore than one per day on Facebook.  Maybe one day Zuckers will give an option to receive just one post per day from each Page (decided by some fancy algorithm, no doubt), but until he does I’m hiding or unliking anyone or thing that does any more. Word to your mum.

10.   Repetitive posts

Seriously what land are these pages living in? If I see another page where they post virtually the same (or even exactly the same) posts day in and day out, I’m going to throttle a small child.  The people that don’t like your page but visit it are not going to like it if you’re posting the same stuff all the time, and those that have already liked it are going to unlike it or hide your feed. It’s not effective marketing and it sure as hell is not effective community-building. And I don’t care if you’re running a competition to win the world’s wealth in gold. DO NOT, EVER post the same thing even two days in a row. I’ve seen this happen on Twitter as well as Facebook. And it also includes all those accounts on Twitter that repetitively post “thanks {name} for following, hope you have a nice day J” ad nauseum.  KILL YOURSELF. Or, just don’t do it.

And that is all. Please feel free to openly dispute my opinion in the comments field below, or even submit a few of your own pet social media hates. Good day.

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