Social media is here to stay. The benefits are enormous. The good news is, most businesses are taking advantage of it. The bad news is that, the mistakes you make on social platforms can harm your brand for good. Have you ever sent a tweet or status that you wish could be taken back? Here are key social media mistakes even big brand are making.

1. Failure to listen or respond to customers

Don’t ever refuse to respond to a complaint or feedback on social media. People connect better with businesses on social platforms. And they expect faster response time. The quality of your business’s customer service across social media platforms can make or break your reputation. Customers expect a two-way conversation where they can be heard and understood.

LiveOps reports that 85% of consumers feel that how a brand handles issues on its website or social channels is a good indicator of its quality of support. Most businesses can’t handle influx of customer engagement on social platforms. And they ignore almost all the messages customers are sending them on Twitter, Facebook or other social channel they choose to use for business communication.

Your business can do better if you have a dedicated member of your team who handles social complains and feedback. You may not be able to provide 24/7 customer service support, but it’s important to respond to all questions and feedback in a reasonable time frame.

Zappos is constantly replying to tweets. That’s how you keep customers happy.


2. Talking too much about your product or brand and not listening enough

Talk less and listen more. Don’t use your social channels to share only marketing messages about your business, product or brand. Nobody wants 20 tweets a day hearing about YOU and your product. Don’t market at your followers; communicate with them.

Don’t just talk about your product, take the opportunity social media presents and educate your customers about your industry. Too much self-promotion kills a brand faster than you think! This article from Creare shows just how important it is to get the right balance between advertising and engaging with social media.

Most brands are still using social media as a channel for pushing their products and everything related to what they do. Social media sharing is a balancing act. Know when to push your product and when to share educational content your followers will find useful.

You are supposed to be building relationships and trust on social platforms that will ultimately lead to sales. Focus on building trust and and providing value and you will be become an authority in your industry.

Coca-Cola has active social accounts across the web. The company mostly use Twitter as a broadcasting tool. With over three million followers, Coca-Cola could easily use it to communicate with its customers and increase brand loyalty.

This works better: Ask questions, share some humor, provide educational and motivational quotes and ask for their opinions about products or services in your industry. Encourage them to share their story with you. Learn more about your customers.

Related: 6 Things You Do On Social Media That Annoy Your Followers (And What You Can Do About Them)

3. Sharing the same marketing message across all social channels

What’s great for your Facebook page may not be suitable for your Twitter profile. Everything you share on Pinterest should not be shared on LinkedIn. You should have a strategy for each of your social platforms. Different social channels require a different quality of tone and message.

Users on Twitter expect a different type of experience when they move to Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. The videos you create for Snapchat should not be put on your Facebook page. Create specific content for each of your social profiles. Share short, concise content that gets your message across quickly on each of your social channels.

That same message can be put in a different way for your Facebook page. Alter your content maximum results. Social media requires a strategy like every other strategy you use for attracting customers. You have to be committed to it if you want the best results.

If you have a social media team, provide guidelines for how to share and respond on social media. Help your team do better by educating them on what works and what doesn’t. This will help ensure consistency in messaging.

Customers who call or email you are no different from those who find and follow you on social media. Treat them the same way as you would when they come to you face-to-face for help. When you have a social marketing strategy that works, there will be less need for damage control.

Give social media the same planning, research and forethought you give any other endeavour for your business and you will win and retain customers for life.