13 Ways Brands Fail on Social Media and What You Can Learn from It.

Here are some of the biggest ways in which brands fail on social media and what you can do differently!
Ilia Markov
April 8, 2021 - 7 min. read

Some social media blunders are hilarious and brilliant. Especially when you own them.

Brand fails on social media

Others… others can be a complete mess. A mess that ruins reputations or at least makes you look like the odd one at the party who hasn’t left their apartment in 5 years and has forgotten how to be human.

So how does that apply to your company?

We won’t be naming names or pointing fingers, but you know what we mean.

Like when you were so narrowly focused on promoting your latest product that people started unfollowing you because it was obnoxious. Hopefully, you learned from it.

Blunders come in different forms, and even if you’re good at engaging, you might still not be getting what you want, simply because you’re just not posting frequently enough.

With that said, here are some of the biggest ways in which brands fail on social media and what you can do differently!

How brands fail on social media

There are many ways in which you can fall on your nose on social media. Trying to manage your accounts without a plan? You’ll end up looking like a ship without a rudder. Only talking about yourself? Watch out, you might end up only talking to yourself. You’re not measuring your performance? How do you know you’re performing at all?

So, to help you do better, here is a list of some of the most significant errors you can commit on social media, and how you can do it better.

1. Lack of strategy and goals

One of the biggest hurdles to succeeding on social media is not knowing what you want, where you’re going, and how to get there. Without a clear strategy, you can’t become consistent in your efforts or build the necessary buzz required to succeed with a campaign.

2. No planning or scheduling of posts

Based on a strategy, you create a content plan that you follow to achieve your goals. Otherwise, you’re always playing catch up which will garble your message and reduce follower engagement. Given the constant fight for people’s attention, followers need to hear from you regularly in order to remain connected.

3. No key performance indicators (KPIs)

How do you know you’re succeeding if you haven’t defined success and can’t measure whether you’re on your way to it or not? If you don’t set KPIs, you’ll have a tough time judging if your efforts have any effect. In turn, if your KPIs tell you you’re doing good, but you’re not actually reaching your goals, this will serve as feedback that you may need to change your KPIs or redefine your goals.

4. Not taking each platform’s strengths into account

Each platform has its unique strengths and purposes for which you may use it. Conversions happen differently on Twitter than they do on Facebook. If you copy and paste your posts uniformly to each platform, you will be missing out on the opportunities offered by the platform and, what’s worse, you may make people unfollow you. Uniformity is not the way.

5. Making it all about yourself

If you obsess only about how great your brand is or try to push your products and services constantly, the chances are that people will ignore you. Social media is not merely a marketplace, after all. What gives social media its edge is the richness in communication that it allows. Keeping it strictly promotional soon becomes dull and predictable.

6. Ignoring influencers and followers

Even though you’re representing a brand, you still have to speak to people on a 1-1 basis. Ignoring your followers’ comments, feedback or complaints communicates disinterest at best. Similarly, if you’re not actively engaging with influencers and brand advocates, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to amplify your brand’s presence and message.

7. Making assumptions

Instead of listening to their audience and checking the barometer, so to speak, sometimes brands assume what will be exciting or engaging to their audience. At best, this may simply turn out to be irrelevant and disregarded, at worst, it may be offensive or embarrassing. One way or the other, without listening to and monitoring the situation, there’s no way to tell how something will land.

8. Posting too little or too much

There’s a fine balance to strike between posting too little or too much, but it’s an important one. Posting frequency varies from network to network but the rule is the same — if you post too much, you might overwhelm your audience; if you post too little, you will fade into oblivion.

9. Not standing out

For good or bad, standing out on social media relies a lot on creating engagement through bursts of excitement. Yet, there’s a way to leverage this without going full-on clickbait. Posting “inside the box”, on the other hand, is sure to make you feel irrelevant to users. Incomplete branding, i.e. not a clearly defined tone of voice, look and feel of the brand, can also make you indistinguishable.

10. Not showing your human side

Being robotic about how your brand presents itself on social media can be a turn-off. Users want to relate to brands as other users, rather than as an impersonal representation of a company.

11. Not measuring your performance

If you think that managing your social media is all about posting, we’ve got news for you. There are clear indicators of performance on social media that you can measure with a good social media management tool. If you fail to measure how your content is performing, you’re essentially missing out on an important opportunity to determine which parts of your strategy are working and which aren’t.

12. Measuring the wrong thing

You’re already measuring, but you’re not clear on how your metrics relate to your performance? You may be measuring the wrong thing! Defining the wrong metrics to measure your performance can mislead you about what you’re doing wrong and what you’re doing right.

13. Ignoring the analytics and not taking action

Sometimes performance reports just pile on, month after month, receiving very little consideration. Even if you feel confident that you know what you’re doing and you have some indication of it being successful, not taking the raw data into account is a missed chance for improvement.

How to NOT fail on social media

All of the above “fails” are due to misunderstanding how social media works best for brands and what practices help build an audience and reach out to it. To help you address your challenges, we’ve created this checklist below, which you can take along and refer to whenever you’re wondering what you could be doing differently.

Your What-could-I-do-differently on social media checklist

  1. Come prepared. Success on social media begins well before you get to social media and must be part of your overarching marketing strategy. Such a strategy must include your company’s mission, vision, and values as well as short-term and long-term goals. It must also include a clear definition of your audience and buyer personas with specific pain points that you can help resolve.
  2. Set out a plan on how you intend to attract and win over each type of customer (persona) specifically over social media: how you can address them, what they might need to hear from you to be convinced, etc.
  3. Determine what tone of voice you intend to use to communicate with your followers, which types of communication are permissible, and which ones are off-limits.
  4. Come up with KPIs that will help you to measure your successes and failures. Double-check that these are relevant and will help you with monitoring your performance.
  5. Create a content plan and schedule to help you remain consistent and to keep followers engaged.
  6. Personalize your content depending on platform and persona to speak to the people who are genuinely interested in you.
  7. Don’t make it about selling but instead seek ways to reach people and relate to them in a personal and direct way (in accordance with your brand story and voice). Feature influencers, brand advocates, and generally make it more about your audience.
  8. Stand out but don’t be sensationalist — that only lasts for so long. Instead, seek ways to show what is unique about you beyond your products and services and how you relate to your audience.
  9. Measure your performance religiously and take time to study and discuss the results with others. Take action based on that.
  10. Take time to reevaluate your strategy and goals, and see if you are meeting them. Maybe your strategy needs to be adjusted?

Let’s make social media work for you

By using the above checklist, you can easily review your social media activity and pinpoint where you might be off at any given time. Having tools and hints at your disposal can help you adjust your social media activity and spot problems before they arise, as well as seize opportunities in a timely way.

But you don’t need to think of everything yourself — that sounds like a surefire way to get a headache! Instead, Falcon can take part of the weight off your shoulders and help you in all three aspects of your social media management — planning, execution, and analysis. This will leave you with more room to think creatively and create campaigns that excite your audience and attract new followers.

Want to learn more about how we can help? Get in touch with us to request a demo and find out how Falcon can help you make the best of your social media accounts!

About the author

Ilia has been writing about digital marketing for over 7 years. He occasionally shares his thoughts on his site. When not blogging, he likes to run and listen to audiobooks.