Three Costly Social Media Mistakes Brands Should Avoid in 2021

The pandemic has driven brands to rely more than ever on digital channels to engage their customers. Social media, in particular, is one channel that has benefitted from this trend due to its low barriers to entry. However, organizations should avoid a shotgun approach to social media that can result in mistakes which negatively impact brand perception, alienate customers, and hurt sales. Instead, consider establishing social media protocol, identifying do’s and don’ts, and having a quality control process in place that protects your brand.

Here are three costly mistakes to avoid with your social media strategy in 2021:

  1. Wear gloves if handling products, especially food
  2. Avoid photos/videos that don’t reflect social distancing
  3. Don’t overwhelm your followers’ feeds by posting too frequently

Contactless Everything

As a result of the pandemic, consumers are ultra-sensitive to how the products they’re purchasing have been handled. How brands portray their offerings on social media is a representation of how those offerings are managed behind the scenes  — something consumers are factoring into their buying decisions now more than ever. For example, an establishment that sells food may send the wrong message by sharing a photo/video of a team member holding an unpackaged, ready-to-eat item without gloves. Although the intention may be to showcase the product, the result is a perception that staff members prepare and/or serve the food without gloves, which could alienate customers.

Six Feet of Separation

Avoid posting photos and videos that don’t reflect social distancing protocols, or at least ensure everyone is wearing a mask if maintaining 6 feet of separation is not possible. Failing to do so can send the wrong message and attract unwanted scrutiny. It’s also advisable to avoid posts that show individuals shaking hands, team members huddled together, or anything else that might make customers feel uncomfortable.

Law of Diminishing Returns

Posting too frequently can overwhelm your audience and result in unfollows or the social equivalent of ‘ad blindness’ where followers simply ignore your posts. This is akin to email marketing, where emailing subscribers too frequently can result in a greater volume of unsubscribes and a lower open rate. Just as you wouldn’t want to clutter your customer’s inboxes, you don’t want to clutter their newsfeeds either. A study published by Hubspot found that posting on Facebook and LinkedIn more than 5 times per week resulted in diminishing returns.

Something else that posting too frequently can diminish is your brand. Make sure your strategy provides value to your audience in a tasteful and tactful way, and elevates your brand. Posting content that could be perceived as out of touch with the current climate and posting too frequently can do more harm than good to your brand over time.

In summary, avoid costly mistakes like these by establishing social media protocols within your organization, identifying do’s and don’ts, and having a quality control process in place that protects the brand. Only by taking the steps outlined above can you ensure that your social media strategy has the intended effect of providing value to your audience while avoiding the consequences of negative brand perception.


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