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4 Toxic Social Media Traps for Businesses

Updated: Jun 14, 2018

Social media is a fantastic way to get in front of your target audience but it is absurdly easy to fall into toxic social media habits that alienate your fans. Avoid these traps to improve your social media presence.


"Set it and Forget (about) it" - This is one of the biggest social media traps companies fall into - they open a social media account, post a few times then never touch it again. These accounts get very little attention and are quickly forgotten by the target audience. This trap is especially dangerous when combined with paid advertising where those looking at your ad will ultimately visit your social media account and dismiss your efforts as fake.

"Unattended Autopilot" - The next social media trap for companies comes from the allure of automation. Many businesses use tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule their posts and simplify their marketing flow. The pitfall here is to go so deep into automating social media posts that you remove the human element entirely. We've all seen these accounts - spamming content at all hours to every platform without commentary or relevance to their own product with the sole purpose of driving up the number of posts. Unfortunately, this behavior typically leads people to the unfollow button.

"Guess Who Posted" - This happens when a company does not establish a cohesive brand voice across all media but often have multiple people posting on behalf of the company. It results in an inconsistent message across social platforms and decreases brand authority with the audience, which is typically the opposite effect you want from your social media efforts.

"Its All About ME!" - If your goal is to chase away customers and annoy your audience, making every post an advertisement for how great your company is would be a fantastic way to achieve that goal. Although pretty self explanatory, those who fall into this trap treat social media as a way to broadcast free advertising to the masses, ultimately alienating the people they are looking to entice with their message.


So what can you do to avoid falling into social media obscurity?


1. Find Your Brand Voice - Create a brand persona for social media. Consider your company as if they were a person with emotions, opinions, and thoughts of their own. Think on how this person would interact with others, the tone they use, even what would interest this person.

2. Tell Your Story - Don't ignore the "About Us" section of your social media accounts. Use that space to create an engaging story about what your company does and why people should use that product or service.

3. Keep the Human in Your Automation - Social media management can be a pretty time consuming task, especially if you manage multiple client, so automation is a necessity for most marketers. However, even if you do schedule out every post weeks in advance you can still take steps to ensure that your social posting does not look robotic by simply being actively engaged with your audience. Comment, reply, share relevant content, vary the times of your posting - ultimately, interact with social media the same way a normal person would.

4. Share the Spotlight - People understand that a business is on social media to promote themselves. However, they also expect a business to behave more like a person online and a person has thoughts and opinions about things outside of themselves. Maybe a competitor has a well-written blog that is relevant to your business too - share it but put your own spin on it in the commentary.


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