There are many benefits to this method of advertising; you can personalize your message to your target audience, enhance and develop your brand, and give customers timely information through easily accessible platforms like Facebook or Twitter. However, there are several risks that businesses should be aware of before they integrate social media into their marketing mix.
- Damage to brand reputation. It is vital for companies to match the quality of their social media pages with the reputation that they’ve built for their brand. The image of a business today is largely conveyed through its online activity, making it essential to manage a business’s online content. To avoid damage to your brand, your business must be respectful of its audience and think before clicking the post button. Insensitive posts have caused controversy for many companies including AT&T, who angered customers in 2013 with a sales tweet about 9/11. A great way to protect your brand’s reputation is to host social media training for your employees to teach them what constitutes appropriate content.
- Inconsistency. Businesses often rush into social media without knowing what they’re getting into or a plan of action. Incomplete or outdated social media pages will reflect poorly on your business if not managed. A company Facebook page that hasn’t been updated in a year is no way to represent your brand. The best way to avoid an inconsistent online image is to create a social media plan and stick to it. Know the platforms that are worth using, and the ones that can be avoided. By sticking to a plan and routinely updating your pages with interesting content, your brand will keep a consistent image and remain competitive.
- Overuse. On the flipside of having outdated media pages, some businesses make the mistake of overwhelming their followers with too many posts that are tedious or unnecessary. The best advice here is to not mistake quantity for quality. Just because you’re posting often doesn’t mean you’re posting well. Social media posts should entertain and educate customers, not beg for their attention and engagement. Know what your customers want to see and limit it to that. A good place to start is by researching how often leaders in your industry post on social media.
- Account hacking. Your business’s brand is constantly subject to online scrutiny, and the last thing you need is a hacker compromising the integrity of your product or service. The smallest mistake in your social media use can lead to mistrust from your customers. Major businesses have fallen victim to the threat of online hackers. For example, Burger King’s Twitter page was hacked in 2013, with damaging posts reaching more than 80,000 followers before they regained control. Although these types of security breaches are a very real threat, companies can safeguard against cyber invasions by updating their passwords and creating a central management system with built-in firewalls for their social media pages. Companies should also consider performing social media risk assessments to help spot flaws in their security system and keep unwanted invaders out.
Being aware of these risks before your business engages in social media is the best way to be safe and in control of the content you post. Check out our blog for more ideas on managing your social media!