Social Media: 10 Mistakes to Avoid

It may not be cool to admit it but we all make mistakes on social media every now and again, right?

There are so many social media marketing platforms, so many different styles of voice and tone to take, so many parameters to bear in mind that it is hardly surprising… All the more so when you think about the barrage of webinars, live events, training programs and products with which we are constantly being bombarded … It is no wonder that many social media newbies give up without ever getting started.

To try to help you focus the whole social media marketing context, we’d like to suggest a few mistakes to avoid that may well help you to achieve your desired outcomes…

Social Media word isolated on white

1. You need to commit in the long term

Social media is all about up to the minute content so don’t even get started unless you are prepared to put in the time and effort to keep on posting those messages and getting yourself noticed on a consistent and regular basis. You have to be committed and prepared to work at your social media content over the long term. This morning’s post is already passed.

How to make it work: Like exercise programs or meditation, you need to set aside time every day to keep on top of your social media. There is an old saying that says that the way to get to Rome is one step at a time and it is the same with social media. Keep your goals in mind and do something small each day on your social media page to further your aims.

2. Don’t wait for people to come to you.

It is not enough to take great photos, write a nifty profile or about us section, and then just to sit back and wait for social media users to come to you. You need to actively woo them, day by day, month by month, regularly updating your photos and content and trying different approaches until you find the one that makes them stick with you.

Social media users can be very fickle and faddy, so be prepared to keep up the chase until you achieve your aims and you engage them daily, and then work at it some more to keep your followers with you.

3. Don’t over-automate

Don’t over-automate your updates or you could end up putting off your followers and having them unlike your page or even hide it. Too many blogs being posted in a short time period or too many Twitters arriving at regularly scheduled intervals will do just this. Social media has to feel as if there is a person behind it – no-one will read anything if they just feel bombarded by mass marketed messages.

Never have your Twitter account post to Facebook, or vice versa. Find the right voice for each platform and tweak your messages to make them resonate with the users who prefer that platform and its culture.

This doesn’t mean that tools such as Post Planner don’t serve their purpose – they can be great when used with care and bearing in mind the realities of the different social media platforms out there. It is one thing to schedule your posts (ie, you are controlling the app) and another to automate them (ie the app is controlling you!).

The bottom line – think fast but think twice before automating anything.

4. Don’t Overload your Posts!

Too many posts is one of the great social media no-nos. There is no quicker, surer way to lose followers than to be constantly bombarding them with thin content.

Think carefully about what you post and why. Make sure it is relevant and will appeal to your user groups.
What is the “right amount”? Well, if your Facebook account has good engagement you could post up to 5 times a day – but make sure these are spread out and use analytic metrics to find out when is the optimum time to post. The exact time your posts are received can make a big difference to their uptake.

Google+ and Twitter accounts are quite different and much more right-up-to-the-minute than Facebook. You could even post up to 15 times a day on Twitter and up to 10 times daily on Google+. With these sites you can sometimes post the same message twice at different times of day and reach different audiences each time.

5. Post regularly

There is nothing worse than going to a page and realizing that it hasn’t been updated in months. It makes you wonder about the business in question – is it still in operation? Can it really be that good if they don’t even bother keeping in touch with their followers? Do they really have so little to say?

It is hard to present out-of-date posts in any type of positive light and can only serve to put off what could have been followers and even conversions. In other words, only set up a social media site if you have the stamina to communicate on it on a regularly basis.

Sit down before you set up your site and write down some ideas of content you could post on a daily basis. It doesn’t have to be complicated or big but it does have to be something. Often it helps to plan your content strategy on a weekly or monthly basis, with a series of ideas feeding off each other, keeping your posts topical and relevant to what you do and what has gone before.

Think about tips, jokes, humorous content, snippets of information, new product lines, special offers, news, and any other form of information that could work on the social media platform you have chosen.

Sign up to your competitors’ Twitter, Google+ and Facebook accounts and see what they are posting and if you can adapt it to serve your own ends (not blatant plagiarism or duplication, of course, but perhaps you could write about the same idea in a different way).

6. Respond to all comments

Don’t ignore anyone who gets back in touch with you. If they have bothered to respond it is because you have sparked their interest in some way and for this alone they merit a response. Even if all you do is acknowledge their message, at least bother to reply.

And make sure you reply the same day they write to you, or at least within 24 hours. The sooner you reply the better to stimulate your conversation and get your follower on your side and believing that you really are interested in communicating directly with him/her.

Remember – all attention is good attention or can be swung that way.

7. Facebook or Twitter alone is not enough

You need to have more than a social media site. You need to have somewhere to send your followers to when they request more information – probably a website or at the very least a blog. Social media is very fickle and transitory and you need a more solid information base where your followers can find the information they need and more.
Make your website relevant and interesting to read and look at – this is the still basis of many conversions and most sales. Social media is often just the bait to tempt them in (though direct marketing from social media looks set to increase).

Try to get an alternative (email?) address out of your followers so that you have other ways to reach them apart from the one social media platform. Over the long term, the more ways in which you can engage your followers, the better.

8. Keep your Branding Consistent

It can be very confusing to your followers if your branding changes between different social media platforms and your website. You want to be instantly recognizable so keep to one color scheme or logo and adapt it to work on multiple platforms. The media might change but you should remain the same throughout.

9. Don’t always try to be cute!

You can use sweet images or off the wall content every now and again, and it can be a good way to grab attention occasionally. But too much of this and you’ll see your followers drop off. They are actually interested in what you really do, remember, so it makes sense to keep focused on what you do best and are good at.

Your aim is to add value to your follower’s day, not to simply waste their time or get a cheap laugh (although once in a while, this is OK).

10. Engage on Social Media One Platform at a Time

It used to be Facebook, YouTube and Twitter and then along came Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, FourSquare, MySpace, CircleMe (and others?) There are many social media platforms out there and it may not be obvious which one to choose.

The point is to choose the ONE social media site that is best for you and your field and location – and stick with it until you have mastered it entirely. And then add another, and keep them both up to date, and then when you are ready add in a third, and so on.

Do plenty of research to see where your competitors engage their followers and how. Never lose site of the fact that your ultimate goal is quality engagement that will convert into increased business and you need to “do” social media well if you are to achieve these ends.

The worst thing you can do is to engage on all social media sites at once and then let them slip – there is nothing looks worse or is more likely to discourage your followers than a half-hearted attempt at social media.

Avoid these 10 common mistakes and we’re sure you’re new social media platforms will grow from strength to strength.

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