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Time for a social media spring clean

Done right, social media can be a massive asset for retailers; however, disaster is always just one post or tweet away. IAN SPENCER says it’s time for businesses to conduct a social media spring clean.
"Poor social media use can induce such a panic reaction that businesses might turn their backs on it forever."

Social media is one of those elements that only a small few businesses nail straight out of the box.

Most perfect the art over time, often after much trial and error, but some can get it so wrong that the implications are huge. Poor social media use can induce such a panic reaction that businesses might turn their backs on it forever.

To help retailers get it right, it’s best to look at the areas that could really impact and harm business, pushing customers away and basically making any o ending company the laughing stock of the industry.

Some business owners and managers might think they already have the following points down pat but there is nothing wrong with refreshing the essentials. After all, who knows what dirty habits might lie beneath the surface? Consider this a social media spring clean.

Update regularly

Picture a business that begins by posting one social media update every day for a week. Once that business gets bored or busy, those efforts slow to one update every week. Eventually, the business gets fed up with social media and abandons the schedule, posting intermittently.

Does this sound familiar? It happens a lot. Unfortunately, lapsing on social media updates communicates to the intended audience that the business has no time to invest in social media and simply doesn’t care about it or the potential consumers who do.

Retailers don’t have to post every day but they do have to be consistent and avoid large gaps between updates.

Develop a social media plan and make an effort to stick to it or ensure other staff can pick it up should the staff member responsible become ill or too busy.

Avoid personal opinions
"Keep personal opinions just that - personal - and treat business social media profiles as places of work."

Retailers may not agree with the election of Donald Trump, the UK’s decision to leave the European Union or even the decisions made by the current Australian Federal Government but personal opinions have no place on a corporate social media account.

Keep personal opinions just that – personal – and treat business social media profiles as places of work. This doesn’t mean stripping personality from posts; however, it does mean that voicing opinions is sometimes not the best idea given the high likelihood of offending potential customers.

Read then read again

From a company’s homepage through to last week’s Instagram post, spelling and grammar reflect upon the business. Spelling errors, typos and poor grammar reflects poorly on any business, raising questions about service and quality.

If a retailer can’t be bothered proofreading updates, customers could assume that same retailer might not be bothered when repairing their jewellery. Typos and grammatical errors are embarrassing mistakes that can be financially expensive as well.

Get the timing right

It can be a good idea to release a few updates that focus on a major world event or industry-related occurrence; however, timing must be perfect and retailers really need to sum up the mood that this event has created as accurately as possible. No one wants to be late to the party on current a airs as it makes the company look lazy. Likewise, appearing ignorant of industry happenings won’t bode well with customers.

Automated spam

Automated or scheduled posts are OK providing retailers put the same level of consideration into them as they would a normal post or company update.

Just posting 30 updates, most of which are repetitive or thin on the ground, is pointless. In the end, this just decreases consumer loyalty rather than improving it. If businesses are going to schedule posts or semi-automate the process, they should treat posts with care – look to avoid repeating the same types of updates over and over and, above all, keep an eye on updates to ensure they are being published as planned.

Updates are forever

As so many celebrities and businesses have found out the hard way, social media updates never really die. Even if they’re deleted once a business realises a mistake has been made, cunning users are always quick to take screenshots of offending or erroneous material and share it far and wide. Always consider that anything posted on Facebook or tweeted on Twitter is effectively out there forever, surely enough incentive for businesses to ensure they have tight control over their social media content and solid strategies for the remainder of the year.

Ian Spencer

Contributor • IS Digital Marketing

Ian Spencer runs IS Digital Marketing and specialises in SEO, Google Adwords and online marketing strategies. Learn more:

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