Using social media for marketing purposes appeals to numerous businesses because of the large number of daily users that log into popular social networks. Unfortunately, many brands have a hard time converting their media presence into new leads and sales. Many of them make mistakes that result in damaged reputation and even loss of customers.

However, you can improve your chance of success on social networks by being aware of common blunders some of those businesses make and learning how to avoid them. Here are five mistakes you should avoid in order to maximize your benefit from social media.

Not Having a Social Media Strategy

Businesses that haphazardly jump into social media have high expectations, but often fail to reach them. Such a mistake wastes time and effort and can deter the company from ever trying again.

However, you can have a smooth social media experience by first identifying your needs. After that, you should set goals and plan how to achieve them. Finally, your strategy needs to define how to monitor and assess your results.

Another aspect of your social media strategy is the tone of voice and personality your brand will use as it interacts. Taking this extra step can help you and your team effectively respond to customer inquiries, complaints and other feedback.

Being Insensitive

If you fail to be sensitive towards your audience, you can severely damage your reputation. In that case, your social media campaign may hurt you more than it helps.

Pay attention to how you communicate and how what you say comes across to your audience. In other words, be sensitive to their perspectives and circumstances.

For starters, the transparent nature of social media means that everyone can see how you treat your customers. That means you need to treat everyone with respect, even when they’re angry or complaining.

In addition to your vocabulary and tone of voice, make sure you are sensitive about your use of humor. In other words, what you think is funny might either offend or insult someone else.

Ignoring Negative Feedback

Social media has become the most popular channel for customer support. However, many brands make the mistake of ignoring customer feedback on their social media profiles, especially if it’s negative. When this happens, problems fester and often go viral. As a result, even small issues become major headaches.

Avoid the mistake others have made by giving prompt and courteous attention to every comment, even if it’s negative. Rather than pretending that no problem exists, be proactive and work to find a satisfactory solution.

You can even go the extra mile and use social listening techniques to pinpoint comments that aren’t aimed at you directly. Paying attention to what others are saying about your brand without using the @ symbol gives you the chance to act before a problem escalates. It also shows you care about your customers and displays a positive brand image.

Not Offering Value

Companies that use social media to bombard their audience with sales pitches make a blunder that offends audiences and drives them away. In other words, posting only promotional content to your social media pages may hurt your business.

Such a misuse of social media usually results from a misunderstanding of the nature of social networks. For the most part, people log into their favorite social sites for the purpose of socializing. When you compel them to buy, they will most likely stay away from your accounts.

Avoid this error by publishing valuable content that improves life for your audience. In addition to posting material that you and your team create, post content from external sources. Also, don’t forget to share content that entertains, even if it’s not directly relevant to your business.

Neglecting Security

With the rising numbers of hacking attacks on social media accounts, it is essential to take the necessary safety precautions. Failing to do so could have negative consequences on your business. Just imagine what would happen if a hacker hijacked your Twitter account and started posting offensive tweets. This would certainly hurt your brand’s reputation and possibly cost your business money.

The first step to keeping all your social media accounts safe is installing antivirus and anti-malware software on all your in-house computers. Another important step i s educating your employees about using strong passwords and changing them often.

They should also know about the dangers of accessing your business’ social media accounts via public Wi-Fi networks. These networks are not encrypted which means that a hacker can intercept the password you use to login to your accounts. If avoiding public Wi-Fi is not possible, make sure your employees use a virtual private network (VPN) for a safe connection.

Not Engage With Your Followers

Finally, remember to socialize on social media. You can get so busy posting and sharing content that you forget to interact. If you just post and run, such a blunder can torpedo your social media effort.

When people follow your profile and you follow them in return, you build a sense of friendship and trust. Similarly, you can achieve a lot by sharing content posted by the people who share yours.

Your main goal should be to engage with your followers. Doing so maintains the spirit of social media while building trusting relationships that eventually will lead to new sales.

Final Thoughts

Using social media doesn’t guarantee success. In fact, the above five blunders frequently ruin reputations of companies and their brands. However, by using these tips to create and implement a social media strategy that adds value to and engages the community, you’ll be set up for success.