7 Social Media Mistakes that Affect Brand Perception

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Many people confuse brands for logos, icons, and marks. Your organization’s true brand is actually not defined by you. It’s the impression or gut reaction people have about your organization. Logos, tag lines, typefaces, imagery standards, and communicated values are all used to help shepherd
this perception of your organization. Unfortunately, they can’t dictate how people perceive you.

Squawk! - Social Media Mistakes

Pay attention to me! via C.A. Mullhaupt

No organization would intentionally communicate their brand attributes as “Desperate,” “Depressing,” “Manipulative,” “Uncoordinated,” or “Unreliable” but if you’re not careful you could be communicating just this via your social media. Here are some of the most common mistakes:

Making too many pleas for money
Perception: Desperate, Only Interested in My Money

It’s ok to give your audience the occasional encouragement to contribute financially, but asks for financial contributions should make up no more than 10% of your content. When you do need to ask for financial support, try and find creative ways to do this.

Failing to respond (or taking forever)
Perception: Unprofessional, Inconsiderate

When you don’t respond to a question or request you seem unorganized and unprofessional. Most people will give you the benefit of the doubt the first time, but when it happens again it comes across as you not caring about them. At this point, you’ve most likely lost their support. The sad thing is you probably do care, you’re just busy and they somehow simply slipped through the cracks. Brand perception has little to do with intentions. If someone does slip through the cracks, make sure you apologize, tell them that you care about their issues, and do everything you can to make things right. Then find ways to prevent it from happening again.

Over posting
Perception: Spammer

This comes in two forms. Adding multiple posts in too short a time frame and adding too many posts in general even if they are spaced out. This is one of the fastest ways to get unfollowed. It’s ok to batch content creation as well as to scheduling posts in advance, but don’t post content too close together. Your content should be spaced out. For twitter, you shouldn’t tweet more than one tweet per hour (excluding @replies which are only seen by mutual followers). For facebook pages, post once every other day for optimum results.

Only Talking About Yourself
Perception: Self-absorbed, Insecure

People (or organizations) that only care about themselves get tiresome. We’ve all me a “me monster” that is constantly talking about themselves and trying to redirect attention back to themselves. Spend time studying your audience and their needs, tell more stakeholder stories, occasionally point people to useful content on sites other than your own. Look for ways to provide value to followers.

Asking lots, contributing little
Perception: Takers, Never Satisfied

This mistake was harder for me to recognize early on compared with others. After all, we contribute our time, sweat and tears for the cause. To be completely transparent, I felt that our “followers” & “fans” were the ones failing to contribute, and thus much of our messages centered around how they could help us. It wasn’t until I began analyzing our content for trends in tone, type, and frequency that I recognized the problem. We weren’t providing much value to our community; instead, we were primarily concerned with how they could provide value to us.

Negative Tone
Perception: Downer, Manipulative

If you share too many depressing statistics, images, and comments it likely gives your organization voice a negative tone. If this is directly tied to an ask for money, it’s even worse. People don’t like feeling guilted into giving. Even if they give in the moment, they tend to remember feeling manipulated which isn’t something you want associated with your brand. Make sure you are sharing more far more positive content than negative. Positive content is also far more likely to be shared and retweeted than negative content.

Long Periods of Silence
Perception: Inconsistant, Not Serious

Of the seven mistakes listed here, this one is probably the least damaging to your relationship with existing customers. It will significantly limit the impact of your social media efforts, however. Facebook’s algorithms will likely exclude your posts from peoples feeds and you’ll find that few people choose to “like” or “follow” an account that doesn’t appear to be regularly updated.

What mistakes might you add to the list?

About author

Craig Van Korlaar

Craig specializes in strategy, systems, and metrics. He enjoys cross-pollinating ideas from the nonprofit, government, and business sectors (all of which he’s worked in). In addition to heading up topnonprofits.com, his passions include technology, books, social causes, and the global church.

4 comments

  1. Janine Jones 28 July, 2012 at 09:43 Reply

    Hi Craig
    We are trying to build a strong fan base. If you can only post 5 days a week – why would you limit your post to every other day?   I am assuming that some posts just get lost on fans walls anyway.  Can you clarify why posting every other day is best practice? Thanks

    • CraigVanKorlaar 31 July, 2012 at 10:03 Reply

      Gladly. Every other day maximizes getting and keeping likes (admittedly only one metric for engagement). Unlike Twitter, Facebook uses complex algorithms to determine what is served up on peoples feeds. Research by Dan Zarella found that the sweet spot for this was at the every other day mark (including weekends). This appears to maximize engagement on individual posts without over posting (people tuning you out) or under posting (loosing inertia). As with any advice, be sure to test it out for yourself.

      The trick is being consistant and providing content that people love. If you can do this on a daily basis, by all means go for it. I just find that many organizations struggle to post great content on a daily basis, and instead go through bursts of daily content interspersed with large gaps of silence (inconsistant) or they end up cutting corners on the quality of the content. Starting to repeating themselves is another warning sign, and all are bad news for long term engagement. If an org finds themselves in these later situations, I encourage them to cut back to every other day, and spend that time saved investing in great content creation. Batching that time into focused blocks of creation will only help things further.

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  3. David 12 March, 2016 at 06:21 Reply

    Completely agree with the mistakes you have mentioned above.

    These are the most common social media mistakes which people make. Social medias are the 2nd best places in drive potential customers and readers after search engines.

    Along with these mistakes, not providing regular updates are also a common mistake as I think. I have seen so many brands on Facebook who never takes care of their audience and that’s why they don’t have engagement.

    People always want entertainment or something which can keep themeselves busy and If any brand isn’t providing such type of content then there might be the higher chances that the audience will forget the name of their brand.

    So to keep their name in their audience mind, they must have to provide such content which can help, entertain and keep their audience busy.

    I am glad that you have mentioned these major social media mistakes. So Thanks for sharing it with us. 😀

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