Social Media Pet Peeves: Are You Annoying Your Online Audience?

Recent research conducted by social scheduling tool Hootsuite revealed that too many hashtags, ignoring customer comments and a ‘sell-sell-sell’ attitude are amongst the marketing tactics most detested by social media users.

A tweet from Hootsuite asked followers to reply with their thoughts on the most annoying things that brands do on social media, with too much focus on self-promotion identified as the most common nuisance. Over-using hashtags and a disregard for customer feedback are also mentioned, as well as piggybacking irrelevant trends.

Hootsuite’s blog post detailing these grievances sheds light on a few of our own pet peeves, which we strive to avoid at every turn:

Add Value, Not Noise

People use social media for social purposes. Platforms have created alternative environments for people to interact with their friends, share their life and explore /expand their interests. In some ways, online marketing is an invasion of these environments, in that it is not something that people often consider when creating their profiles and beginning to use the platforms.

For this reason, it is important that those using social media for marketing purposes put their audience first, aiming to add value to their experience, rather than forcefully sell their services and products. Users may like a page or interact with a post because they are interested and wish to learn more, but this shouldn’t be seen as an open invitation to bombard them with sales pitches and too much information.

Instead, we recommend that business accounts should be used to engage and even entertain social media users, giving them the information they need in an interactive and valuable way, whether by asking questions, running competitions, or simply making an effort to ensure that they feel like an important part of your business / organisation.


Using Hashtags Wisely

Hashtags present a wide range of opportunities for users and page managers across many platforms, allowing people to start, join and develop conversations online. They are used to promote events, support movements and increase engagement, three strengths which have led to hashtags been heavily incorporated into marketing strategies.

While hashtags are a powerful tool for increasing the reach of content, using too many hashtags can look unprofessional and make an account look desperate for attention. Some business accounts also have a tendency to use irrelevant hashtags, such as those created for niche, national awareness / interest days, in order to take advantage of those following such trends. Both of these hashtag strategies could easily deter any social media user from following or interacting with their posts.

We highly advise incorporating hashtags into your social media strategy, but be smart about it. Ensure that any you use are relevant to your business and content, and that they are used sparingly. Where possible, integrate the hashtags within sentences, so as to not interrupt the flow of your posts, or, on Instagram particularly, add them to the comments section, which will prevent the content looking untidy without affecting the potential reach. Our recommendation would be to avoid hashtags on Facebook, especially in large volumes, as they aren’t particularly effective and can seem out of place.


Be Responsive, Build Reputation

Social media allows businesses and their customers to communicate in a more efficient way than ever before. Users can easily ask questions and offer feedback / reviews, giving businesses the opportunity to publicly demonstrate their customer service skills and gain credibility.

To do so, however, those managing business accounts must maintain strong response rates and take care to give their audience the attention they require. The very public nature of social media means that customers will know if they are being ignored, or if only positive comments are being acknowledged. It is important, therefore, that all questions are answered as quickly as possible, even if the asker is simply given an email address or phone number, or referred to a website page where they can find what they’re looking for.

It is also important to note that negative reviews are not necessarily detrimental to a business’ reputation, unless they are ignored or badly handled. We believe that taking the appropriate steps to respond to negative comments (see below) can actually act as way of showing how much a business cares about their customers:

  • Respond to all negative comments, even if you don’t agree with their opinion
  • Acknowledge the customer’s side of the story
  • Be helpful and attentive - treat the customer with respect
  • Try to take the conversation offline, or at least off social media
  • Do everything possible to resolve the issue in one way or another

As Hootsuite argue, successful social media management goes hand in hand with “being a good netizen.” Following some of the advice explored above could help you to be just that (and avoid getting on your audience’s nerves!).

If you think you might need help to adapt or refine your social media strategy, add value to your customers and build your reputation, we’d love to hear from you.

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