Foreword Online

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Social Media Advice You'd Be Wise to Ignore

Posted by Joe Clarkin on 3/7/16 10:00 PM
Topics: social media, Marketing to Students

The majority of social media articles you read tell you to do this or try that to make your social presence better. A lot of this advice is sound, and really will help you improve on social media. But some of it still becomes conventional wisdom despite having occasionally harmful effects. In this article from Hootsuite, they list a number of common social media tropes that are actually bad advice despite their popularity. Check out an excerpt from their article below!


Delete negativity

While this advice is usually presented as common sense, it’s truthfully more of a knee-jerk reaction. Although it’s understandable that you may naturally feel that it is best to immediately delete or hide any kind of negativity aimed at your brand on social media, complaints or insults (when respectful and without offensive language or content) can act as a great source of information. If, for example, a customer complains that the flowers they had delivered arrived looking less than perfect, your company has a wonderful opportunity to showcase your stellar customer service skills. As we explain in our post about what not to do on social media, a negative comment enables you to:

  1. Make a customer happy in a very public place.
  2. Publicly address a problem within your business that perhaps you didn’t know about.

Here, when you reply to the negative comment and offer a remedy that goes above and beyond, you are publicly highlighting your organization’s dedication to their customers, as well as allowing transparency. If you saw a branded social media account or page that had only 100 percent positive and gushing comments or interactions, you’d start to get suspicious and probably not fully trust the sources. Through responding to legitimate complaints and fair negativity in a respectful and helpful way, you are adding value and authenticity to your organization.

Be present on every platform

Fear of missing out, or FOMO, is a real thing and can be hard to ignore when you keep hearing about the newest and greatest social media networks. The truth is that if you’re looking to grow and nurture your social media presence, you don’t need to immediately jump on every social media network bandwagon. The quality over quantity principle rings truer than ever here, as it’s much better to have a consistent, reliable, and engaging presence on a select number of key social media networks rather than trying to do the same on too many and failing. As our previous post on how to manage your social media presence explains, there are three key ways that trying to be present on every platform can do more harm than good.

  1. Ignoring a social media network betrays your audience’s expectations

If someone follows you on Instagram or Twitter, they expect that you will be posting regularly and with valuable content. If your last Instagram post was 58 weeks ago, your followers will notice this and question the legitimacy of your accounts and the trustworthiness of your business.

  1. Ignoring a social media network can cost you online followers—and potential customers

With social media customer service becoming more common and expected by the day, if you aren’t keeping up to date and active on any of your channels, you are inviting the possibility of missing and seemingly ignoring customer inquiries. As we previously explained, “By ignoring your online audience’s feedback you risk not only losing those customers but also failing to address the potential hurdles in your services or product development. Not paying attention to your online audience can cause you to lose followers on your social networks, and even potential customers.”

  1. Neglecting a social media network can tarnish your brand’s online reputation

As a result of these factors, you risk your brand’s online reputation being damaged. As we explain, “Decreased attention means a higher chance of committing one of many social media faux pas that could seriously threaten your brand’s reputation.” With the aim of an organization’s social media being to enhance a reputation and engage with customers, if you can’t satisfy these two key areas it might be time to rethink your current strategy.

With all of this said, my main piece of advice would be to question everything. I don’t mean this in a tinfoil hat-wearing way, but as a suggestion to always think critically about information you see, read, and hear and use your own judgment. All businesses are different, so test out various pieces of advice and find what works best for your specific industry and brand.

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