Have you made these Social Media Mistakes in 2016 yet?
Social media is like a conversation, buNine Common Social Media Mistakes and How to Avoid Themt instead of talking to one person, you’re talking to thousands. In real life, when a conversation goes well, the other person walks away feeling that they like and even trust you and if it’s a business context, they might walk away feeling like they’ll do business with you in the future.
Unfortunately, the opposite can also happen. People can walk away feeling like you didn’t understand them, that you weren’t looking out for them and that they don’t want to do business with you after all.
That’s exactly how social media works. If you do it right, you can make a fantastic impression on 1000’s of people. Not only will these people turn into buyers, but they will probably end up referring their friends as well. Inspired by your products, these people could end up becoming ambassadors of your brand.
On the other hand, if you do it wrong, the opposite can happen. People will leave and never come back. They will bad mouth you and as a result will influence their friends not to buy or link to you.
So how do you create the former impression and not the latter? By avoiding common social media mistakes that’s how. Here are ten of the top social media mistakes to avoid.
Mistake Number One: Not Proofreading
When you post on your own Facebook feed, typically the idea pops into your head and you post it. The same goes for all your other social networks. You don’t have another person proof reading and double-checking your posts.
That’s fine for personal social networking, but not when you’re trying to build a brand or a business. Let’s face it: When you write this spontaneously, there’s going to be mistakes. Maybe not in every tweet or update, but even one in ten is enough to do harm.
It might be bad grammar or misspellings, something off brand that you didn’t realise was off brand or it might be a message that could alienate a part of your audience. It could just be bad grammar.
As the writer, it’s very hard to catch these things yourself. Have someone else look over your posts before they go live even just a co-worker or a friend, it doesn’t have to be a professional proofreader, just a second set of eyes.
Mistake Number Two: Not Using Monitoring Tools
It’s pretty much impossible to monitor everything that people say about your brand online and it can prove to be quite difficult and time consuming. There will be times when you’re extremely busy and just won’t have the time to check your social media for days. Twitter especially is incredibly difficult to monitor because of the high volume of tweets.
If you just let people talk about your brand without carefully monitoring what they say, a lot of damage can be done. If an employee trips up and makes a mistake, people will instantly start to talk about your brand, but not in the positive way that you would like – and it can spread quickly.
What’s the solution? Use social media monitoring tools like www.hootsuite.com for example. These tools will watch for specific keywords, like your brand name or your product names and alert you whenever someone says something about you.
You can then take a look at what they’re saying. If it’s something negative, you’ll be able to respond immediately to quench the fire. If not, you can still jump in and participate in the discussion. It’s very important to respond to negative online criticism quickly and effectively. Don’t be tempted to be drawn into a slanging match, instead use the opportunity to come out of the other end with your business looking better than ever. For example, a Red Cross worker tweeted a message meant for his personal Twitter account onto the Red Cross twitter by accident. Instead of blaming a hacker or denying any responsibility, the company was quick to post an apology and humorous comment regarding the tweet, thereby earning themselves a reputation for having a sense of humour and thus improving their public image.
Mistake Number Three: Over Promotion
Constantly selling, selling and selling is not the path to success on social media. Social media is all about connections. It’s all about creating content that people love so much that they want their friends to see it too.
Pages that focus on making direct sales instead of joining in the conversation are looked at with disdain. People stop sharing your content, stop reading your content and will generally stop following your content. It’s okay to sell every once in a while. We like to follow the one in five rule. For every five posts on your page one should be sales oriented and the rest should be more light hearted posts aimed at interesting and engaging your followers. The overall tone of your page should be a conversation, not something salesy and you should be providing value. Don’t over sell as it can really put people off.
Mistake Number Four: No Calls to Action
On the flip side, there are some businesses who can go too far the other way and not promote their products at all. Though this mistake isn’t as bad as over promoting, it’s still a serious mistake.
If you have no calls to action, you aren’t going to get people involved with your site or your business. Your Twitter followers will forever just be your Twitter followers, your Facebook fans your Facebook fans. They’ll never turn into subscribers, contest participants, customers or seminar attendees. Social media is FREE advertising, so take advantage.
Mistake Number Five: Unproductive Followers
People who’re starting new fan pages or new Twitter accounts often get discouraged when their rate of growth isn’t astronomical. You hear stories of people “going viral” on the web all the time. Because of these stories, people often have unrealistic expectations of what their Twitter or Facebook campaigns can realistically do.
Going viral is a one in a million occurrence. It’s rare and almost impossible to plan for. Most people who go viral never expected it to happen, and most people who plan to go viral never actually make it.
The real success stories in social media tend to be the stories you never hear. You never hear about the page with 500,000 followers that took 3 years to build. You never hear about the Twitter account that brings in £25,000 a month but took 3 hours a day every day for the last 18 months to build.
The reality is, building a social media following takes work and dedication. If you get discouraged because you don’t have a million followers right out of the gate, you’ll never reach that tipping point.
Starting small is to be expected. Everyone starts small. Building a social media following doesn’t happen from an explosion of traffic – It happens through consistency and by avoiding making the mistakes that we’ve talked about.
Mistake Number Six: Don’t become obsessed.
Social Media can become very addictive. To run a good social media campaign, you really only need to spend 30 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes in the evening and maybe 30 minutes in the middle of the day.
Yet people regularly spend all day checking Facebook, Twitter and email. Some people check it every 10 minutes. Some people check it every hour. Some people just keep it on all the time. Not only is this unnecessary, but it actively damages your productivity. Spending hours and hours on social media will suck up your time, distract you from the rest of your business and hurt you in the long run. Be deliberate about when you check social media and when you post to it. Avoid it when you’re not deliberately using it to move your business forward.
Mistake Number Seven: Not Interacting with your followers.
One common mistake social media marketers make is communicating one-way. If you’re not engaging with your followers then your social media efforts are only going to go so far. Even if you’re sharing fantastic content, people won’t be inspired to act unless you’re encouraging participation.
Here are a few different ways you can encourage people to get involved:
- Ask a thought-provoking question.
- Ask for feedback on an article, product or service.
- Start a controversial discussion.
- Host a contest.
- Ask them a trivia question.
- Ask for stories.
There are many different ways you can do it. The key is to ask people to actively participate.
Mistake Number Eight: Not Responding to Messages
Social media marketers sometimes perceive personal messages as a nuisance. They might perceive it as people asking for free advice and that their time is being infringed upon or they might simply not see the value of building relationships in this way. They’re focused on marketing to thousands, not on answering one person’s question.
That mindset is a mistake.
Good social media fan pages or Twitter accounts are actually built on just a handful of strong connections. If you look at a Twitter account with 50,000 followers, you might find that the majority of those followers actually came from the retweets of just 20 people. Those twenty people loved the content being put out so much that they actively helped build it up to what it is today.
The people who ask you questions today will often become your biggest fans tomorrow. When you reach out and help someone one on one, they don’t forget. You can come back six months or a year later and ask for a favor in return and they’ll almost always say yes.
Social media isn’t built by the thousands. It’s built by one real connection at a time. When you respond to private messages, people know you really care. When you ignore them, they’ll generally leave and never come back.
Mistake Number Nine: Lacking Focus
Your social media feeds should have a purpose. People aren’t following you personally, they’re following your business feeds and they are doing this in order to get something out of it for themselves. It might be discount codes, entertaining videos and pictures but it might also be useful content and innovative solutions to problems.
Know what your readers are looking for and give it to them. Your feed should have an overall purpose. Of course, it’s okay to stray a bit from this from time to time. You could share great videos, off the cuff thoughts and tweets from others that you think they’ll like but at the core, your social media efforts should have a focus and a purpose. What should people get by following you? What experience do you want people who follow you for 3 months to walk away with? Figure this out from day one to help you guide your marketing efforts.
These are the nine most common social media mistakes people make. Avoid these mistakes and you’ll have a much better chance of building a large, loyal and most importantly a productive following.