In the past 15 years, social media communication has become an essential — if not the main or only — component of the digital marketing arsenal, growing from a gadget with which experts were toying around into the weapon of choice for pretty much every brand. Along the way, platforms and their usage have significantly matured, requiring all of us marketers to adjust our practices.
Based on my experience as a former e-commerce store owner, marketing agency Managing Partner and now CEO of Loomly (serving more than 3,500 marketing teams on our platform), I have identified five outdated social media practices that can hurt your brand more than serve it, and most importantly, provide alternative practices to implement instead:
1. Flying Solo
In the early days of social media, publishing posts on a Facebook Page and building a following on Twitter was informally falling back on the shoulders of whoever was in charge of managing a company’s website (remember the term “webmaster”?). Then, we observed the rise of a new position dedicated to this particular job: Social Media Manager. Nowadays, within the largest brands, entire teams are working full-time on social media.
Regardless of the size of your team though, one thing is for sure: communicating on social media is no longer the sole responsibility of one person or one department. Today’s most effective workflows involve everyone in the company — from product to sales, legal and HR — in a cross-functional fashion, in order to maximize content quality and alignment with business goals and brand values.
2. Publishing Duplicated Content
If we think of social media platforms as marketplaces, which connect content publishers with content consumers (which both can be individuals or brands), then it becomes clear why the content-to-eyeballs ratio is critical for liquidity. Early on, content publishing is rewarded, for instance, with chronological feeds and high organic reach. At scale, content distribution has to be prioritized, mainly with algorithmic feeds and limited organic reach.
One way social platforms can prioritize content is by promoting original content and penalized duplicated content. In that vein, Twitter is now banning applications that enable posting the same tweets multiple times (either to the same account or to different accounts) and Facebook is giving priority to authentic content in its newsfeed.
More than ever, content is king: consistently publishing original, relevant and high-quality content is the only path forward. If not to please platform algorithms, at the very least to build strong relationships with your audience (which is all that matters).
3. Sharing The Same Posts On All Platforms
Piggybacking off the previous paragraph, beyond algorithms, each platform has its own codes, rules and best practices, which shape users’ expectations in terms of what type of content they want — and like — to see when they log in and scroll. Needless to say, publishing the exact same posts on all platforms is counter-productive.
Instead, top marketing teams customize each post for each platform, for instance, shortening copy on Twitter, adding 30 hashtags on Instagram and adopting a more formal tone on LinkedIn. Once again, this has much more to do with meeting your audience’s expectations than gaming the system.
4. Ignoring Interactions From Fans and Followers
As Chris Wren puts it, “In the “read-only” society, (a term I learned from Geoff Colon) brands communicated and people could only listen.” Back then, it could be perceived as tolerable, maybe even tempting, to leave reactions and questions from your audience unanswered, as a strategy from high-end brands to establish their stature.
This is definitely not the case anymore: ignoring your audience’s feedback — let alone deleting those interactions — is now considered arrogance at best and incompetence at worst. Customers expect top brands to provide prompt, courteous and useful customer service on all channels. Meeting this expectation is not only a way to be on par with competing brands but an opportunity to stand out by going the extra mile and offering a wowing customer experience.
5. Not Measuring Performance
Throwing posts on the wall (pun intended) and seeing what sticks used to be a good strategy in the early days of social media, when organic reach was high and competition was low. Publishing a couple of updates per week and counting “likes” manually was probably enough to get a feel of what to post about next.
Now that content competes for eyeballs, that there are more KPIs available than ever in most administrator’s analytics dashboard and that amplifying organic posts with ads is becoming the norm, the task at hand is more complex and the stakes are simply higher. Top performing marketing team have a clear feedback loop in place to measure content success and leverage insights in their next production cycle: this is key to maximize both ROI and engagement in the long run.
In A Nutshell
As social media platforms have matured, so has our profession and competition. Standing out nowadays requires a different set of skills and tools than a couple of years ago and a key success factor for brands is to be a ride along — if not be one step ahead of the game — by quitting outdated practices and embracing new opportunities.