5 of the Worst Things You Can Do on Social


During this month, when everyone is setting resolutions for things they should be doing for 2018, I think it’s a good time to also list some things you shouldn’t be doing…on social. Social is an ever-changing environment, but some rules always apply. These are just a few of the ones I feel are the worst offenses:

5 of the worst things you can do on social Click To Tweet

1. Engage with a belligerent individual/Delete negative comments. 

No one likes a public shaming, obviously. But you may find yourself in the position of dealing publicly with a negative comment.  Though your first instinct may be to delete the post, or go into defense mode, it’s best to take a second and breathe. Deleting the post could give the impression that you have something to hide to anyone who may have already read it.  The better option is to address the comment head on with a simple message such as: “We are sorry that you had a negative experience with our firm. May we contact you offline to discuss the matter further?” This proactive approach shows your followers that you take negative feedback seriously and you are willing to address issues to prevent them from happening again.

Whatever you do, don’t engage publicly in a discussion with the commenter – this can quickly spiral out of your control for all of your followers to see. And definitely follow through on your reply to their message – reach out to the disgruntled individual if they are open to it. Lack of follow through could result in furthering the negativity.

2. Hashtags – too many, or none at all.

Twitter is a great social media tool, but if you aren’t using hashtags correctly you may be missing the mark.  Don’t go crazy though—too many hashtags take away from your message, or worse, can make your message appear inauthentic and “spammy.” Because the whole point of hashtags is to help you reach the correct audience, hashtags are vitally important to use; don’t avoid using them all together. Instead, focus on 1 to 3 short hashtags that you know directly relate to your niche or industry. Research them. Go to twitter and do a search and see what those hashtags return.  You will quickly find a handful that you can use routinely to reach your target audience.  Also keep your eyes on topical, daily trending hashtags to see if there is a logical fit for your service offerings (i.e., the new tax code being approved).  Never try to force your content into an unrelated hashtag; chances are the audience won’t match, you’ll be irrelevant, and you certainly won’t get any bang for your buck. Hashtag context matters.

3. Setting and forgetting.

Prescheduling posts is a great way to plan your social calendar, but in the wake of unforeseen events (tragedies, world news, etc.) posts can be perceived as insensitive, or worse, inappropriate or offensive. Even something as simple as a change in weather can make your scheduled post untimely—obviously a minor offense with minimal implications, but still glaringly obvious to your audience that maybe there is a great and powerful “Oz” behind the social-curtain. If you do preschedule your social posts, get into the habit of reviewing them on a weekly basis and checking to make sure that they are evergreen in context. Take steps now to familiarize yourself with how you can pause any scheduled posts in the future, if need be.

Keep in mind, social is 24/7 whether you are in the office or not—do you know how to access your scheduling system on your phone? Do you know your account password(s)?  Being prepared now will prevent some panic in a fast-moving situation.

4. Neglecting the personal connection.

Sure you may be allowed to promote and sell your service offering on social channels. You probably even share relevant industry articles to your followers. But are you really allowing people to get to know you and your firm? People don’t tend to connect with companies, they connect with brands. Companies sell products. Brands build relationships. Our industry is built on personal relationships – retirement saving, legacy building, security for the next generation, building a nest egg, buying that vacation home – all very personal topics to your clients. Differentiate yourself by allowing your clients and prospects to know you and your firm on a personal level.  Be the face to your brand. Build your social business but don’t neglect your personal brand. They are not mutually exclusive.

5. Not doing it at all.

Seriously people, it’s 2018. Not doing social is no longer an option.

As a reminder, please consult with your firm’s social media compliance guidelines before executing any of these ideas. Your blog post and social messages should be reviewed and approved by compliance prior to publication. And there are record keeping requirements for broker-dealers and investment advisors.

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Heather Wilson

Heather Wilson

Heather Wilson is the social media contributor for Practically Speaking and social media manager within the SEI Advisor Network.

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