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By now, brands certainly know they’ve got to be on social media to effectively market themselves – but that doesn’t always mean they know how. Here are 4 mistakes to avoid for brands interacting on Twitter.

1. Treating it as a one-way conversation

Confusing social media with social analytics might lead you to think social marketing is all about output – and counting mentions, likes and retweets to gauge brand popularity – but nothing could be further from the truth. Brands must engage and interact with consumers in addition to sharing brand messaging – and those interactions must be authentic, human, and personal, not “salesy.”

Don’t just count @mentions – respond to them, with audience-tailored language and topics gleaned from your sentiment analysis tools.

2. Only monitoring your brand handle

It’s important to know what consumers are saying about your brand on Twitter, but if you only track “@YourBrand,” you’ll be missing a lot of data. Not all mentions are @mentions, so be sure to search for your brand name as a keyword and even hashtag to get a more accurate result.

Even more crucial, track your competitors in the same manner. The information is freely available, so don’t waste it. Use your social media monitoring tools to find out what consumers are saying about other brands in your category, and act accordingly based on the intel.

3. Misusing hashtags

Hashtags help social users find posts that interest them by categorizing popular topics. Given that “Tweets that include hashtags are 33% more likely to be retweeted than those without,” brands should definitely use them. Just be sure to do it properly. Rule one is to always research any unfamiliar hashtag, as not every hashtag can be taken at face value.

Popular recurring hashtags can be found under “Recurring Trends” within Twitter’s built-in Analytics. Social media listening tools can tell you which hashtags your audience uses most – as well as which hashtags are associated with your competitors.

If you want to track a specific campaign, you can create your own branded hashtag, like #ShareACoke:

For general purposes, however, always look to see if there’s a hashtag already in place rather than making up your own – because you’ll get more traction using something already familiar to consumers.

Finally, be careful with trend-jacking. As tempting as it is to latch on to a trending topic, and the potential audience attached, if your post goes wrong, it’ll happen in front of that many more people and be an even bigger problem. DiGiorno’s misuse of the #WhyIStayed hashtag is one of many examples your brand can learn from instead of learning the hard way. And also proof that the delete button doesn’t always save you.

4. Not offering customer service on Twitter

Social customer service is simply expected by modern, mobile consumers. In fact, not responding to customer complaints on social can reduce customer advocacy by 50 percent – and you need social consumers advocating for your brand to stand out.

Ideally, your customer experience monitoring software alerts you when specific keywords are used, so you know to respond promptly. From there, you want to balance your public response with private resolution of the situation.

On the one hand, you want to be sure you let other followers see you your quick response and how much you care about your customers. But the exact details/solution should be between you and the person having the problem – and should happen via DM. Remember to follow them first or they won’t be able to DM you when you instruct them to!

Twitter and other social channels have a lot to offer – but managing your brand’s presence takes a bit of thought, and some automated help, to keep awareness high and positive. Avoid these mistakes and you’ll keep your brand on top.

And if you need more help, get in touch for a one-on-one demo of our social listening tools.

Image from Jeff Turner

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