A List Of What NOT To Do In Social Media

We often talk about the wins here across the industry. And while the wins are important, it’s also important to take a step back, reflect and understand the opportunities to improve.

So this post focuses on a list of things not to do in social media, with insight from others in the industry. And while it is focused on social media + sports, this list is easily applicable to other industries as well.

 

1- Abuse hashtags.

Hashtags are a tool in the toolbox and not a foundation for an entire social media presence or campaign. Yet over and over again we see them get tossed around, misused and abused. The hashtag madness has to stop. There are simple rules brand and teams should follow with hashtags. Rules like:

 
No need to go hashtag crazy.
If you’re going to use a hashtag, you need to understand its purpose. On Twitter hashtags are often used to help curate community and conversation; on Instagram it’s often for discovery. Whatever the purpose, make sure you don’t go hashtag crazy. Too many hashtags distract from the content and confuses your consumer on the action you want them to take.

 
Be consistent.
If you want to use hashtags as a way to build community, you need to be consistent so consumers and fans catch on. Your brand doesn’t need a million taglines; it also doesn’t need a million hashtags. Be consistent and it will pay off. The @panthers use of #KeepPounding is a great example of this. They’ve leveraged their team hashtag consistently and fans have bought in—so much that it constantly trends during their games.

 

2- Slap content across everything.

Consumers often flock to different platforms for different reasons. For example, Snapchat is a place for one-to-one communication with friends and Twitter is the place to discover news. It’s important marketers keep consumer habits front of mind as they plan and create content for each platform. Your strategy, approach and content across platforms should feel as native as possible. A brand shouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb. Instead, a brand should fit in naturally to the platform alongside your consumer’s best friend.

Long gone are the days where we can slap content across all platforms and be successful. It’s imperative we understand the user’s native habits, why they’re on a platform and the content they crave. If we slap the same content across all platforms without any thought, then run the risk of losing your audience and not standing out from the crowd.

 
Same photo/GIF over and over again.
In a similar vein, don’t use the same piece of content over and over and over again. It gets redundant, boring, predictable (and we’re in the business of entertaining, connecting). If you plan GIFS for certain moments (like touchdowns, interceptions, etc.), create many options and templates so you can mix it up. Repurpose GIFS and content, but know the threshold before they get boring.

 

3- Putting individual over the brand.

The brand, the brand, the brand. When you work for an organization, brand or team in social media you must always represent the brand first. Social media is the front door to an organization. Yes, there is a lot of power at your fingertips.

With the access to accounts comes a lot of responsibility. In a world of instant gratification, it can be easy to get caught up in leveraging audiences to drive more eyeballs to your own personal accounts. Under no circumstance should your personal brand come before THE brand. Don’t leverage your channels to cross promote your personal accounts. Don’t put content that should go to the brand on your channels. Don’t leverage your interest and own brand voice on the brand channel if it’s not actually reflective of the organization.

 

4- Lazy Sponsorship Plays.

Sponsored social media content is an everyday occurrence these days. Wherever teams and leagues push out content, there’s a good chance there’s a sponsor logo lurking somewhere. Too often sponsored content feels forced and ad-like. When content becomes forced, it adds noise to the community and little value to the sponsor. And when asking the question about what not to do in social media and sports, Kevin made a great point:

Forcing the number of sponsored posts detracts from what will actually matter. Instead of saying a brand or team must tweet about x sponsor 25 times, focusing on crafting a series that will move the needle. Two to three strong content pieces will do more from the sponsor and team than 25 stale and forced pieces.

When approaching sponsored content, keep the following in mind:

 
Think content first.
Approach sponsored social content like you do every other piece of social content: Focus on creating value. Whether the content is to inform, entertain or educate, the value does not come from logos or brand names. The value comes in the heart of the content.

When you approached sponsored pieces with a content-first approach it ends up being a win-win for the sponsor and fans. Why? Because it doesn’t add noise to fans’ timelines and fans want to pay attention (which has worth to the sponsor).

 
Integrate sponsors gracefully.
Repeat after me: Do not create content so you can slap a sponsor to it. Instead, integrate sponsors with content you would produce anyway. This makes it more valuable to fans and the organization.

 
Don’t make logos the hero.
Slapping a logo on your graphic or “presented by x” in the copy does not add value to anyone. The logo is not the hero. The sponsor name is not the hero. Don’t annoy your fans by serving your fans what they perceive as ads. Make the content hero, then integrate. That’s how you win.

 
Stay consistent with the brand.
Good sponsored content doesn’t stand out from the rest of your content and scream ad. Instead, it should have a similar, consistent look and feel to everything else. If a fan scrolls through your Instagram feed and can immediately see it’s sponsored, they are going to tune it out. Try to keep your sponsored content consistent with the rest of your content as much as possible. Again, it’s all about being authentic to make people listen.

 

5- FOMO.

Brands have been forcing themselves into conversations for far too long now. We’re willing to discount brand voice, visual identity and our core audience for short-lived retweets. Too many brand are jumping into every holiday for the sake of doing so and adding clutter to the space.

We’ve become too focused on the external pressures of the internet and not focused enough on our own path, vision and brand. Somewhere along the line, FOMO and vanity metrics have replaced the need for a smart, strategic approach. It’s easy to get caught up in, especially when our work is public and opinions come from all four corners. But the FOMO has to stop.

It’s easy to jump on a trending holiday and make a big splash, but it’s much harder to leverage your own brand in a way that’s authentic and stir things up. The @dallascowboys bandwagon application is a great example of leveraging your own brand—not a pseudo holiday— to drive high engagement. This play was funny, creative and on brand.

Don’t jump into trends and holidays to check it box. Make sure your adding value for your consumer and brand with all that you do.

 

6- Chase the vanity metrics.

This one goes along with FOMO and brand voice, but don’t get caught up in being cute, moody or vanity plays. Make SM best reflection of the team. As talked about, a social media presence is a reflection of the brand. Don’t sacrifice the brand for vanity metrics.

Before any brand and team goes on a tweeting spree, it’s imperative they understand their why. What do you stand for as a brand? What are your goals, objectives? How can social media help you get there? Focus on answering these questions before making a big splash on a fake holiday.

To get to the heart of matter, the metrics and content that will move the needle, I focus on three small but mighty words: Why, value and care. Read more about it here.

 

7- Screenshotting videos.

There are few things more frustrating than seeing the “play” button on Twitter to realize it’s not an actual video but a screenshot driving elsewhere. Not only is this deceiving for fans, but it also makes content consumption more difficult. Fans want to consume easily, quickly, wherever they are.

Content can live right on the platform, so why not meet fans where they are? The days of only driving people to .com should be gone. Let your fans consume great content on the platforms where they play and drive to deeper dives that social can’t provide.

 

8- Copy others.

The work we do in social media is public. The beauty in that is that every day there’s a new opportunity to be inspired. But inspiration does not mean copy. Take the content and campaigns that inspire you and use them as case studies and guides. Always do things differently and with your own spin. It’s important to elevate and ensure the execution feels right for YOUR brand.

 

9- Don’t get caught up in process.

When you work in an industry where things change daily, there’s no rules on how to get it done. Oh, all of a sudden Peach is the app of the century? Quick, put together a strategy on that! You won’t always have the answers on process, on best practices and on what the approach should be. You’re the pioneer, the renegade! Be the first to put together a thoughtful Peach strategy and own it.

If you want to work in social, get comfortable with a lot gray area. The one big failure in this industry is never trying, so you will need to take a deep breath, write the rules and own it. Don’t let process slow you down.

 

10- More advice.

 


What is on your list of things NOT to do in social media? Share below!

Thanks for reading.

Leave a comment.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *