Consumers have never had so much control over how they interact with brands.
Be it fast-forwarding through TV ads, unfollowing social media accounts that annoy them or installing an online ad blocker, consumers hold all the power these days and brands are walking a tightrope to remain in their affections.
The stakes are high. A survey carried out by Sprout Social asked social media users what action they usually take when confronted by ‘irritating’ brand behaviours. More than half would unfollow, while almost a quarter said they would boycott the brand altogether.
We asked Ellie Buckle, an account manager at OST Marketing, for her top five irritating brand behaviours on social media. How many are your brand guilty of?
1. It’s all me, me, me
“Too much one-way communication with no engagement is a big no-no. It makes you seem like a robot and people become disengaged and uninterested really quickly.
“Hootsuite’s feed is literally just filled with their own content. As important as this is, there is no proof of community engagement at all. And that’s what social media is all about after all. Sharing is caring!”
2. Don’t go off piste
“Sharing unrelated content isn’t wise, especially if you have a niche audience. There’s no point sharing fashion memes if you run a farming account, for example. People will get confused and eventually decide that you’re wasting their time.
“That said, I think if you establish yourself as a bit of an all-rounder then you can get around this. LADbible is a good example of a brand that strikes a good balance between knowing their prime audience (lads who like football and beer) and meshing it really well with general lifestyle stuff or even further niche audiences.
“ASOS and Boohoo are other great examples of brands that have manoeuvred themselves into a position where their followers allow them to be a little more indulgent with their posting style.”
3. Hashtag mania
“This is my personal favourite – or should I say bone of contention. There is no need at all to have more than two hashtags in a tweet. I personally hate anyone who hashtags all of the words in a sentence. It’s a) annoying to read and b) confusing to understand the message of the tweet. Instagram is a different story – being a visual medium you should feel free to hashtag to your heart’s content!”
NB: Research backs up Ellie’s point here. When you use more than two hashtags in a tweet, your engagement actually drops by an average of 17 per cent.
4. It’s all about service
“Customer support. Those two words are so important and only brands who nail it will thrive on social media.
“I think we’ve all seen the good and the bad of customer service on social. When you get it right, it’s really right – but when it’s wrong you get torn apart. Here’s a notorious example of a brand – California Girls – making a complete mess of handling a situation in which one of their customers was wrongly identified as being a shoplifter.
“Always engage with your customers on social, and if they start being unreasonable then invite them to contact you privately in order to avoid a flamewar that will forever be visible online.”
5. Is there anybody there?
“Finally, don’t allow your channels to go quiet, there’s nothing worse than silence on social.
“It’s important for any brand to understand that the key to community growth and engagement is consistency, with your brand engaging with other people on a frequent basis.
“If you’re a smaller brand then you might sometimes struggle to fill gaps when staff members are away, but there are so many social media scheduling tools around nowadays that there’s no excuse not to continue your output even if there’s no-one around to do the posting.”