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3 Do's and Dont's for Nailing Social Media

April 12, 2017

Most brands already have a social presence. But there’s a big distance between doing it and doing it well. Here we offer three of the biggest do’s and don’ts.

By Phil Ahad 

With young people seemingly learning to tweet and snap soon after taking their first steps, social media has quickly emerged as one of the primary methods for reaching and interacting with customers inexpensively. Forward-thinking brands are seizing this opportunity to stay relevant and starting to capitalize in major ways. 

Most companies have already established a social media presence and are still trying to master this realm to have a greater impact and inspire deeper engagement with their customers.

What can brands do to maximize their impact through their core channels without compromising their ability to leverage additional channels? What are the key considerations for developing and enhancing a sound social media strategy?

Here are the three biggest do’s and don’ts:


  1. Adopt a multimedia approach. Quality is far more effective than quantity. Brands can generate more buzz and win more business by making sure all their social content is thought-provoking, engaging and thorough. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by creating original videos, infographics, animated GIFs or simply by using more visual assets. At Toluna QuickSurveys, our recent survey found that 56% of online retail addicts are significantly more likely to make a purchase if there is a video of the product being used, worn or reviewed. Don’t be scared to mix it up and keep followers entertained and engaged mentally and visually, even if that means relying on outside creative services.
  1. Position your brand as charitable. Brands that are laser-focused on their social strategy are the same forward-thinking ones trying to win over a new age of consumers. The next big demographic to target will be Generation Z, defined as those born between the mid-1990s and 2009. Research suggests they’re a rather idealistic group more concerned with ensuring the world is a better place than making money and fixating on material possessions. They’re also more likely to support businesses that have charitable and philanthropic missions or initiatives – a call to action for brands to position themselves as “on a mission.” TOMS Shoes, for example, implements a “one-for-one” giving model that has resonated with core fans, and Ben & Jerry’s has a foundation that donates $1.8 million annually to organizations that promote social change. Giving back not only feels goo – 8t can be immensely rewarding for brands, too. 
  1. Establish a presence on emerging platforms. Brands that lean exclusively on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as social marketing tools are on the right track, but they’re critically underestimating the potential of emerging social media platforms such as Snapchat, Google+, Pinterest and several messaging apps that are becoming immensely popular among Generation Z, including Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. In fact, Facebook Messenger recently passed Facebook itself in mobile downloads worldwide. Establishing a presence at several consumer touchpoints increases your chances of being noticed by a wide array of new consumers worldwide.


  1. Treat any customer interaction casually. Social media can be a double-edged sword; your brand will become far more visible for potential consumers, but it will also become more publicly accessible. This can open the floodgates to scrutiny and criticism regarding your brand’s cause, industry, social content and an abundance of customer-service complaints. If you’re ready to face this attention and work with each customer toward a speedy resolution, this is an easily fixable problem. Simply put, treat every client as if they are the business keeping your company afloat. A Toluna QuickSurveys study found 86% of people feel valued as a customer when companies make themselves available for contact, and 90% feel valued when companies are responsive to their outreach. Social media is perfect for creating this perception. Depending on the nature of the query, ensure that someone from your organization replies within a reasonable amount of time to let them know 1) you’ll be contacting them personally and 2) the issue/answer is already being worked on.
  1. Target top-tier brand ambassadors. Developing an effective social media strategy takes time, effort and financial commitment, so anything you can do to cut your spending in other areas will help. Brands need to take a hard look at their spokespeople and/or brand ambassadors, on whom they’re likely shelling out considerable money to tie their products or services to a household name. Instead of honing in on top-tier influencers, brands should pursue more relatable spokespeople that will resonate with Gen Z-ers and millennials. Conveniently, in this social media age, this means targeting younger, less established celebrities who made a name for themselves using social media, whether YouTube stars or Instagram models (i.g., Lele Pons, Lilly Singh, Rosanna Pansino). This works in brands’ favor, because odds are they’re far more affordable than George Clooney or Jennifer Aniston. They’re also more trendy and enticing for younger consumers, and research suggests 56% of consumers have been turned off to a product based on their perception of the brand’s spokesperson.
  1. Make promises your brand can’t keep. Treating customers like royalty is one thing, but making lofty promises that are hard to deliver will only frustrate them. Companies using social media need to learn to satisfy customer demands without biting off more than they can chew. A Toluna QuickSurveys study found 87% of customers consider a company to be trustworthy when it comes through on its promises. Additionally, 87% of customers are likely to consider working with a company that is confident, but realistic, in what it can deliver. Brands need to avoid speaking theoretically or too optimistically until they’ve mapped out all the details on how to follow through.

Phil Ahad is Senior Vice President, Digital Products for Toluna Quicksurveys. He can be reached at