Hey, 2018! Thank God you are finally here (almost). This year has been full of incredible highs, as well as some devastating lows. There are some things I feel I have done more than well, but I also know a few mistakes were made this year that I would like to avoid in 2018.
Social media continues to change at a rapid pace, and it’s important to avoid making mistakes by ‘old-thinking’ when it comes to 2018. It’s tempting to stay in the same patterns and ignore the changing landscape, but there are a few patterns you really need to avoid in 2018 if you want your brand to stand out on social media. Here they are:
The days of scheduling everything in HootSuite and thinking you are done with content are over. Consumers are onto automation, and they do not like it one bit. In 2018, they will be expecting more personalized interactions with your brand. They want to see their name on emails, in videos, in posts. You will need to think more creatively about how to create customized interactions with consumers, especially if you are a larger brand. It’s not going to be easy, but it will be effective in building a loyal relationship with your fans.
Being On Every Hip New Social Media Network
I had a disgruntled conversation with a friend this week about why one of the brands I do social for is not on Snapchat. I told him that Snapchat was not at all the place for the brand, so it was better that we focus in on doing other networks well, rather than spread ourselves too thin. He made a snide comment about how every social media manager he knows uses every single social media network for their brand. I responded by saying that’s the difference between being a social media manager and a good social media manager. I completely stand by that statement.
Not every single network is going to be effective for every single brand. Each network has a personality and target audience of its own. Do some research and find out which networks your audience uses most, and devote time to creating an incredible social media presence on those networks. It’s better to do a few networks outstandingly well, rather than all of the networks so-so.
Another thing to think about here is resourcing. One of the main reasons I refuse to use a network like Snapchat for brands it doesn’t resonate with is due to how much time producing content and publishing it would take to keep a Snapchat account active, when maybe a handful of relevant people would find it interesting. I’d rather have those resources focused on the networks performing well for us.
Thinking Employee Advocacy Is An Option
Staying along the same lines of consumers seeing through automation, they also are seeing through brands in general. They are shifting significantly to relying on what their friends are saying, as brands are becoming less trusted in the social media space. While employee advocacy was a strong suggestion for 2017, it is absolutely necessary for 2018. You have to provide your employees with a way to speak about the company they work for on social media for two reasons >> they are going to speak about who they work for anyway, so this provides you with a way to control the message AND consumers trust friends more than brands. I highly recommend setting up a demo with Dynamic Signal to start thinking about how employee advocacy can help shape your brand.
Ah! I feel like I am going to get some nasty comments just for this one paragraph alone! Brands have inserted themselves into political conversations like never before this year. For some brands, it’s helped lift them to new social media heights. For other brands, it has caused boycotts of their products, if not worse. Unless you are a brand whose work is involved in politics, you should be keeping your mouth shut. This is one instance where you need to firmly remember that you are a brand, not a person, on social media. So act like one. If you question whether you are a brand that should be discussing politics on social, check out this post I wrote: Should Your Brand Be Discussing News & Politics On Social Media?.
This has always been a no-no on social media, but there seems to be a new environment for outright going after competitors on social media. This is so not cool, so just stop it. Not only does this make your brand look petty instead of powerful, it also isolates at least a bit of your audience. While you are trying to come across as funny or hard-hitting, you are only putting yourself in a bad light and making people question the validity of your product if you feel the need to use this type of marketing.
Let’s start 2018 fresh on social media by avoiding making mistakes that have caused brands to plummet in the social space during 2017. What are some things you hope brands stop doing in the New Year?
– Marji J. Sherman