Put down a finger if you’ve ever started your usual social scrolling only to be stopped short by a brand thinking: they did WHAT? Even if there wasn’t an audible gasp or reaction, we’d bet our holiday PTO that some time, somewhere, a brand made you question its internal review process. As seasoned SEO content writers, designers, and strategists, we’ve seen our fair share of brand wins and fails. Our job is to make sure our brands learn from the mistakes and take inspiration from the wins. Read on for our top dos and don’ts of social.
Our SEO Content Writers Keep Tabs On Social
“Did you see what X brand said on Instagram today? Instant unfollow.” “We’ve really got to start doing X for our brands.” If you were a virtual fly on the wall of our Zoom meetings, you’d hear our SEO content writers saying these things. For us, the pursuit of good content is ongoing, and it requires a certain thirst for knowledge. Sometimes, that’s scouring the latest trends or looking into the psychology behind our audience’s pain points. Other times, that’s good old-fashioned (kind of?) scrolling through our channels to see what’s working and what clearly isn’t.
We keep these tabs because we owe it to our brands to be informed creators. They entrust us with their social presence, which has a resounding impact on their overall impression (and, eventually, their bottom line). Since 2007, we’ve watched the Internet become more chaotic, creative, and competitive. Take it from us: these are the things you want to avoid on social media and what you should do instead.
Don’t Do This
Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Buy Your Followers
They say you can’t buy loyalty. Brands should listen. Once you know the signs, it’s all too easy to spot brands that have stretched the truth about their following. Some markers include huge jumps in engagement and follow numbers, waning and waxing activity, spammy comments (IYKYK), and empty profiles. If you’re tempted to pad the truth, pause and remember that good (and authentic) things come with time and hard work.
Use Links or QR Codes Inappropriately
Every time a brand adds a link to an Instagram post or asks their followers to scan a QR code, a little kid drops their ice cream cone. Okay, not really. But it’s such a dated move at this point that the resulting cringe and disappointment are similar. Save QR codes for your printed collateral and know the rule of links: none for Instagram posts (excepting “link in bio”) and shortened for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Share Low-Quality Content
No pixelated images, spammy memes, unintelligible copy, or unwatchable videos. Low-quality content is about more than high-resolution imagery. It means prioritizing original content, tasteful UGC, and on-brand visual and verbal communication.
Jump on the Wrong Trend
Trends are a dime a dozen on social media—particularly on the channels most beloved by Gen Z (looking at you, IG and TikTok). And while our SEO content writers love a bit of clever wordplay and social inclusion, every trend is not a perfect fit for every brand. So, before your pet food brand wants to throw the CEO in front of a camera to do the renegade, ask yourself: Does this fit my brand goals? Will my followers see this as clever or cringey?
Rely on AI
We’d be lying if we said we hadn’t explored the possibilities of AI. These days, it seems everyone—brands included—is falling prey to the AI-generated content machine. But while “fast content” is convenient, relatively cheap, and gets the job done, it’s a lot like fast food in that, after a while, the shortcuts will cost you. Instead of trusting AI to carry the team on its back, use it as a motivating and resourceful coach.
Do This Instead
We suggest taking notes for this one.
Interact With Your Communities
Most of us have that one (ex?) friend who dumps their latest updates or drama and then disappears when it’s time to return the favor. Be the brand everyone considers their “safe space”—that adds thoughtful additions to the conversation, fosters a culture of inclusivity and kindness, and responds appropriately when followers have issues or concerns. Remember, your community’s culture will either follow your lead or, in your absence, create its own rules.
Create With the Channel in Mind
Each social channel has its own unspoken rules of engagement. And the data backs them up. Be strategic about what you post and where, speaking in a way the users will understand. For example, TikTok’s younger audience will wildly differ from LinkedIn’s more business-minded users. When you respect the channel, the channel respects you.
Most SEO content writers will tell you there’s a sweet spot when posting—the Goldilocks effect, if you will. Not too much or too little, but juuuuuuust right. What’s the quantitative data behind the “just right”? It varies (of course it does). As a general rule of thumb, we suggest posting multiple times a week, roughly following “best times to post” (with tweaks for your brand), and keeping that consistency.
Mistakes have a way of sticking with your audience far longer than a witty turn of phrase or a cool video. It seems simple enough, but pay close attention to spelling, grammar, and overall accuracy. This goes for your visual branding as well.
Tell a Story
Your brand is always telling a story, whether you know it or not. The question is: Will you be the master of your story, plotting out the action, developing the characters, and resolving conflict? Or will you allow others to tell it for you?
Case Study: Wendy’s
Wendy’s is one of those pure Americana brands woven into culture for so long (circa 1969) that it had almost become a wallflower. Almost. In 2017, following a years-long brand reinvention, Wendy’s updated its social media strategy and simultaneously “broke the internet.” The #NuggsForCarter campaign resulted in far more than a big check to the Dave Thomas Foundation. It also transformed Wendy’s social media approach from dry corporate to loveable snark.
By forsaking the don’ts and creating a litany of their own dos, Wendy’s increased their Twitter following (2.1 to 2.4 million in 6 months), net worth ($129.6 to $194 million), and brand impressions. Beyond metrics, their SEO content writers and social media geniuses gave the long-standing brand a personality that resonated with younger generations and kickstarted dozens of copycat brand strategies.
What this demonstrates is not a green light for your brand to roast competitors and adopt a tongue-in-cheek voice. Instead, it’s permission for your brand to be unapologetically authentic on social media.
Get Socially Savvy With Our Digital Marketing Agency
If social media has taught us anything in the past decade-plus, it’s that the most successful brands know how to play the game. As SEO content writers, designers, strategists, and self-proclaimed marketing geeks, we know the power of a well-timed and authentically crafted message. And for brands big and small, we find what works and then make the magic happen. Ready to get started?