A few weeks back I did a talk at Soho House New York for a session on maximizing your online presence through digital storytelling. Here, I talk to House Seven Editor on what not to do with your brand — personal or corporate — on the web:
Never lose sight of the fact that social media is meant to be a discussion. It isn’t like going to a party and dropping your business card off and leaving. People need to engage with each other and talk with one another as if it were an actual conversation — plus, you’ll get free exposure as you interact with others. On Facebook, for example, when you engage with a person or brand, it gets pushed back into the newsfeed. Liking something will put it back into the newsfeed, but commenting will give it even more traction. This creates added marketing for you or your brand.
Don’t overcommit. Stick to one form of social media and nail it before you start building out your other platforms. It’s much more effective to excel on one platform than be subpar on many. Be wise about which platform you choose to focus on. Instagram or Facebook extremely popular for businesses. Pinterest might be more preferable if you’re launching a brand that sells a product. If you’re just starting out from scratch, pick the platform where you are most likely to find your target customer.
Don’t push content without a story. Storytelling will be absolutely paramount to social media marketing in 2016. Instead of just pushing content on your followers, show them a narrative: give some backstory about where your product came from, who the founders are and what it’s like to work with you behind the scenes. Make your content feel insider-y.
Don’t be salesy. If Facebook thinks brands’ native content looks at all like advertising, their algorithms will hide it from their followers to protect the user experience. But, if a brand posts a lot of engaging content on its feed, Facebook’s algorithm will open up the brand to its audience a bit more. Facebook algorithms are surprisingly good at maximizing valuable content.
Never forget the big picture. When it comes to Instagram, you want to make sure the whole palette looks appealing, not just each post. You need to think about what the experience would look like for someone who is landing on your feed for the first time, as well as the people who already follow you. If you’re just telling that story haphazardly as you go, it won’t work. You’ve got to make sure it all ties together.
Don’t just push the same content across every social media outlet. You want to have content that is best for each native platform, while creating a cohesive brand story. Vary your messaging across social platforms, and be aware of the best practices for each one. If you’re going to use the same image across all platforms, make sure it’s sized properly for each. Also, use character count wisely. Twitter naturally limits that, but when it comes to Facebook or other forms of social, keep in mind that people will probably be reading this on a mobile device while they’re on the go. You don’t have a lot of time to capture someone’s attention. Make it compelling; keep it brief.
Don’t jump on the bandwagon of a conversation if it doesn’t make sense for your brand. Even worse, don’t join a conversation you know nothing about. DiGiorno pizza had a notorious blunder when they used the hashtag “#WhyIStayed” in a tweet, without knowing it was related to the Ray Rice domestic violence scandal (they deleted the tweet and later apologized). Be aware that your content may live on. Just because you can delete it, don’t assume someone hasn’t screen-shotted it.
*This article was originally printed on House Seven by Charlotte Steinway, interviewing Social Diva Media Founder Peg Samuel.
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