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7 Social Media Mistakes Industrial Companies Need To Avoid

When done right, maintaining an active social media presence can have a significant impact on your business, helping to increase web traffic, establish stronger relationships with customers, and, perhaps most importantly, increase revenue. Social media should therefore be a pivotal part of your inbound marketing strategy.

Unfortunately, when not done right, social media can still make an impact on your business — but not in a good way. One social snafu can cost you customers and do serious damage to your brand’s reputation, as you’ll see in the examples below.

Avoid these setbacks by steering clear of these seven common social media mistakes:

1. All Sales, All The Time

You should absolutely leverage social media to generate sales. However, don't go overboard by constantly pushing your products and services. After all, your followers didn't connect with you for a continuous stream of advertisements; they connected with you to get your expert advice and be a part of your community.

Adhere to the 80/20 rule to ensure a healthy mix of content, where 80% of your posts are of general interest to your followers and 20% are dedicated to promoting your brand.

2. Being Too Edgy

While you don't want to come off as a sales robot, you also don't want to come off as being a crass human, either.

Though some companies, like Wendy’s, have used sarcasm and an irreverent sense of humor to great success on social media, those companies are in the distinct minority.

Oftentimes, jokes — like the one above from Kenneth Cole — come off as tone-deaf or insensitive. Instead of trying to be funny, focus on being helpful and informative.

3. Not Paying Attention

Social media is not a one-time commitment; you can't just set up your profiles and walk away. You need to actively engage your followers, listen to what they are saying, and be involved in the conversations on your profiles and in your industry at large.

Inactive accounts will cue to your followers that you have given up on your social media profiles, and they’ll give up on them too.

4. Mixing Business With Personal

It's great to showcase a little of your brand's personality on social media; just don't get too personal. Try to avoid wading into hot-button issues, and remember that your social media accounts need to represent your business.

Also, if you are the owner of your job shop and “social media manager” is one of the many hats you wear, don’t use your personal accounts for your business; create a new set of profiles instead.

5. Improperly Handling Negative Feedback

All businesses, no matter how great their products and services are, encounter negative feedback from time to time. In the past, this feedback would come in the form of letters or phone calls, and companies could address these unflattering reviews in private.

On social media, however, these conversations take place out in the open, where other customers can watch the exchange unfold in real time. The stakes are high, and it’s important to get it right. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Don't let it linger: Acknowledge the post as quickly as you can, before other customers and prospects chime in or think you are ignoring the problem.

  • Don't go on the offensive: Even if the issue is 100% not your fault, don't start attacking the person leaving the feedback. Give the facts, but stay professional.

  • If you messed up, acknowledge it: If you did cause the issue, offer a sincere apology and suggestions for resolving the issue (e.g., a refund or replacement).

  • Don't copy and paste your responses: Avoid using stock responses on social media; this can be perceived as lazy and a sign of poor customer service. Instead, take the time to address each piece of feedback individually.

  • Take it out of the public eye: Ask the person leaving the feedback to give you a call or send you a private message.

  • Follow up: Even after you have resolved the issue, follow up with the person via a phone call or email to make sure they are satisfied. This will reduce the likelihood of them leaving another negative comment.

  • Look out for trends: Are you getting lots of similar feedback from different people? Don't ignore it! Use it as an opportunity – and a wake-up call – to make improvements.

6. Incorrectly Using Hashtags

Twitter can be an incredibly powerful platform for manufacturers due in large part to the efficacy of hashtags. Hashtags allow you to hone in on the conversations and topics that matter to your company while engaging customers and prospects with relevant and helpful content. However, don't get too hashtag happy; use them judiciously and only when they make sense.

Furthermore, if you see a hashtag trending, don't assume you know what it means; do your homework. You don't want to make an embarrasing mistake like Entemann's did when they used "#notguilty" to promote their treats, even though the trending hashtag was related to the highly charged Casey Anthony trial.

7. Putting The Intern On It

Social media is often an afterthought for industrial companies and, as a result, managing profiles tends to fall to the lowest person on the organizational totem pole. If this person happens to be an intern fresh out of college, or the owner's aunt's cousin's kid who needs something to do for the summer.

Putting an inexperienced person in charge of your social accounts can be ineffective and risky. Successful social media execution requires someone who understands your business and how best to interact with customers and prospects.

Avoid The Headaches. Leverage Our Experts.

Social media can be a powerful resource for your business. However, we understand that many industrial companies simply don't have the time, resources or in-house expertise to execute it correctly.

We can help you get it right, turning your social accounts into effective sales tools. Contact us to learn how we can create a social media program tailored to your unique needs. Want more social media tips? Download our free eBook to see how you can boost your business with a strong social media presence.

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