22 December 2012

Kenya: Five Terrible Social Media Mistakes to Avoid During the Christmas Holidays


It's Christmas again; the mood has really set in and the feeling plus the need to be a bit random, lazy, laid back is with us and party endlessly. When it comes to what we are sharing on social media with our communities that too has been affected by this mood. When it comes to social media, you need to be consistent as you have been throughout the year; if you are a business then you need to stick to your maintenance schedule as per the content plan you have in place. However due to several reasons, this might become a challenge due to the festivities. Here are five social media mistakes you should avoid this Christmas period to the New Year holidays. Do enjoy!

1. Doing it casually-Be careful with frequency!

Just because it's Christmas doesn't mean you should joke around, share stuff that is almost useless or if you are a business you post 'irrelevant' content that isn't related to your business, industry or brand touch points. Don't over-post ...but don't under-post either. For Facebook I would recommend a maximum of four posts and 10-15 tweets a day! You don't want your posts to be so frequent that they become irrelevant to your audience. If you have to post several times in a day just like I do please vary your content. Don't use too much slang or your mother tongue as you may end up losing the hard earned followers you had acquired! Managing social media corporate accounts can be overwhelming as it is a 24/7/365 days job! It's not something an organization should take a break from (not even this Xmas), you need to be consistent so please ensure you have your social media team well set for this period. Sorry if you will be working however don't be dull-be happy and spread that Xmas cheer to your community on social media!

2. Being Absent and Inaccessible!

Your friends want to be heard, so is your community if you are a business. And the only way you can prove you are human on social media is by listening and responding. Make it part of your strategy this holiday to address inquiries, complaints and compliments ASAP if not in real time. A simple click on the LIKE or RT or FAV button shows at least there's someone on the other end! As you do these please ensure you don't post tweets or updates full of errors to ensure you portray the right impression out there; so please take your time to proof read. There's also a certain tendency to ignore certain inquiries, could be overlooked erroneously or otherwise.

This sends a signal out there that the brand is unfriendly, busy to handle my inquiry or uncaring! If you use your social media channels for customer service please don't take a break this Xmas, this also includes players in the tourism sector such as hotels, lodges, airlines and tour companies as people will be seeking information, help and making inquiries so please be present and accessible- read and respond! As you do this, please give timelines and work hard to deliver on your promise! The response you give to complaints in the public domain may set a precedent so kindly ensure that you don't create a loophole that people may take advantage of as you seek to delight people this Xmas!

3. Being a Billboard!

Social media can be extremely beneficial to you and your business; whist sharing your own content online (marketing) ensure you do not over promote yourself, your business or that Xmas offer or promo you are running as a brand. Those who only share their own content are transparent and audiences online look at that as purely selfish and switch off quickly so don't talk about yourself and what you are doing all the time! Social media is about the people, please avoid the "Me Me Me" kind of posts and give your community something more beneficial & entertaining! If you are running a promo consider including give aways, coupons or gift hampers to spark initiative and make the campaign less of spam or annoying.

• A good ratio of sharing to promoting your own content is 4:1 as a minimum (the more you share about other valuable content i.e. less marketing messages, the more you get in return).

Take time to listen, share entertaining content (people want to be happy/ we are celebrating). Be sure you only share content that adds value to your community - content which they'll find useful. This means that you should understand the demographics of your friends or fans. If it's a mixed up case scenario share content that benefits people across the board. Providing different types of content has been proven to engage audiences more effectively. And please DON'T forget to wish your friends/fans/followers and LinkedIn connections a MERRY XMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR! I know everyone will be doing that so why don't you also do it too, come up with something creative, local and cool that stands out, something that people can share and feel deeply appreciated by your business or brand!

4. Keep private things private.

Facebook and Twitter is very much in the public domain (yet it's often perceived as private at the same time), there are numerous examples of how private (often extremely personal) information has ended up in the public domain. If you say the wrong things, it could damage your professional reputation. Don't post too much information on your private life (its okay to let people know you traveled up country or to the coast but not post everything you ate from breakfast to dinner, photos of your extended family and the dirt in your private life). It's just an update; don't share info on your recent breakups (If you've got problems FACE them do not FACEBOOK them!), social places you frequent regularly for security reasons, don't post vital information on people's walls too. That includes photos of you in the beach with bikinis and girlfriends or your family (Keep that to yourself too). Don't put anything on the internet- read Social media that you don't want your future boss, current client or potential clients to read. This is so basic and will help you a lot this Xmas.

5. Posting 'Drunk Tweets'!

Never post or tweet when you're overly-tired, jet lagged, intoxicated, angry or upset. This is so important yet most people will ignore it over these holidays. Please avoid tweeting too much when you are drunk so that you don't wake up to 'stupid' tweets that will leave people worried and asking whether your account was hacked into! When people are drunk they also tend to say where they are, with who and doing what which tends to divulge too much of private information. If you are out of town, such info could aid a burglary in your house (That includes checking into 4Sq every time) and if the person managing your business accounts starts tweeting over a beer then that could mess you up seriously! Just ensure you have people working on shifts to help with official corporate channels and if possible ensure you give that job to the right person/s just in case the workload is huge!

Have a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Muthuri Kinyamu is a Social Media Strategist at Social Edge Africa the company behind @SocialPROclubs and you can follow him on Twitter @KenyanMarketer

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