With 66% of the British population now active social media users, social media is an important part of most companies’ marketing and advertising strategies. Social is fast becoming a hotbed of competition for professional services firms, with many firms regularly updating their pages on at least a daily basis. Whether you’re a law firm or an IT provider - getting social media right should be on your agenda.
Because social media is such an ‘open’ platform where firms are exposed to many people who may be interested in their services, it’s just as important not to get things wrong… an important difference to setting out to get things right.
Misguided posts on your social media accounts can do a lot of harm to your firm’s reputation. Here are our top things that professional services firms should avoid doing on their social media accounts:
Although social media provides the perfect space for a more relaxed approach to marketing than you might otherwise employ, maintaining professionalism at all times is essential. It’s important that you maintain a healthy distance from people’s personal lives, especially on Facebook or Twitter. Coming across too strong could damage your brand’s reputation.
To show you just how important this is here’s a quick example of a bad misjudgement by American telecoms provider Comcast that I came across a few days ago. Although this is an example from a large corporation, its central message is pertinent to any company which operates on social media.
After sending out a Twitter quip to Comcast referencing pizza, the telecoms giant ordered journalist Ian Bogost 10 pizzas from a local pizza restaurant.
Evidently, the firm were attempting to get some kind of social media response from the journalist who has a rather large number of followers on Twitter, using the popular ‘surprise and delight’ strategy. Likely, they identified him as a potential ‘influencer’. Instead, he wrote a rather scathing article in The Atlantic explaining how he felt violated by the company’s intrusive marketing strategy. Not the response which Comcast’s marketing department would have wanted.
Even though as a services firm you’re unlikely to attempt social media marketing stunts on this scale, it pays to think very hard about how your actions could be interpreted before you reach out on social media. You shouldn’t lose any of the respectability that you would demonstrate in a conventional face to face environment when interacting online.
Being too corporate
This might come across as contradictory but coming across as too corporate should be avoided. Social media is a great way to show the ‘human’ side of your brand. If you are responding to a comment, stick to a friendly and helpful tone of voice. Don’t be afraid of being funny as long as you keep everything tasteful.
Posting too much
Many of us have a friend who posts too much on Facebook. Over time this might become a slight annoyance - you don’t want to be informed about your friend’s breakfast avocado bagel or their evening gym session. If you weren’t worried about offending them, you might be tempted to unfriend them.
Post too much and your followers will start to tune out. Persist and they might even start to unfollow you. On social media, professional services companies should strike a balance between promoting brand awareness and not overwhelming your potential customers.
Keep your Facebook posts capped at two per day and don’t post on Twitter more than three times a day.
Using bad stock photos on social ads
In an ideal world, social media marketers wouldn’t have to resort to stock photos on either paid social or normal posts. Unfortunately, the kind of budget to do this is likely to be beyond the reach of most marketing departments.
What’s not so hard is to take care when choosing your stock photos. Bad stock photos that are either irrelevant, cliched or just plain ridiculous are far too common in professional services companies’ digital marketing.
It doesn’t have to be like this.
Make sure the details of your images fit with what you’re trying to say. Don’t rush when searching for relevant photos. Your choice of image is just as important as the copy in your post or ad. A mismatch between the finer points of a stock image and the content of a post are very common.
Taking a long time to reply to social media messages
In 2018, younger generations use social media to get in touch with companies. Altitude report that 29% of 18 to 34 year olds use Facebook to contact mobile phone suppliers and 84% of people expect companies to reply within 24 hours. Monitoring your messages regularly is essential to make sure no one slips through the net and is left unanswered.
Not having a proper social media strategy
It’s surprisingly common for firms not to have a solid social media strategy. This should be enough for you to both build a strong presence and then maintain it.
Give yourself well defined and measurable goals depending on what you want to achieve from your social media channels. Do you want to raise awareness of your brand? Generate new leads? Get more likes and followers?
Decide on a firm goal and aim towards this through all your posting. If you don’t do this, your social media accounts could sap hours of your staff’s valuable time without producing any tangible results.