5 common social media mistakes and how to avoid them

If you’re offering updates that don’t fit with the social network you’re using, constantly selling, or not posting for days or weeks on end, it’s time to adjust your behavior.

Social media can help expand your personal and company brand, if it’s done right. If social media is done poorly, it could send the wrong message to your community, hurting your brand. It is important that you don’t put your social media on autopilot and neglect it. Social media takes a lot of care and feeding. Here’s a list of five common social media mistakes and how you can avoid them. 1. Not customizing your message to the social network. How many times have you seen @ signs on LinkedIn? Probably a lot. Do you pay attention to those messages when you know they are for another social network? Probably not. Are you really going to read an article about LinkedIn tips that’s been posted on Twitter? Such mistakes are common. The remedy: Remember the purpose of each network, along with its ins and outs. LinkedIn is a social network for professionals; therefore, your posts should be more professional. Facebook is a network for friends; so these posts should be less formal, more casual. Remember to cater your message to the platform. For some that is communications 101, but for others it is a common sticking point. 2. No strategy. Have you ever asked yourself why you are on Facebook? What about Twitter? Are the people your company trying to reach on that social network? Are your friends still on Facebook, or have they left for another platform like Instagram? With whom are you trying to communicate? Before you or your company joins a social media platform, ask yourself: Why do it? The remedy: Create a social media strategy. Having an intern manage your company’s social media presence is a big mistake. (Here are 11 reasons why.) A seasoned and experienced professional should oversee your company’s social media presence, because he or she knows your business well and can avoid crises. 3. One-way communication. Social media is not a platform to blast messages. It is a way for people and brands to listen, learn, and engage. How often do you see a brand or person never respond to a post or a message they sent? How often do you see questions or concerns go unanswered by brands and people? It shows a lack of understanding the true essence of social media: being “social.” The remedy: Social media is way to humanize brands (here are 20 tips on that topic) and open up possibilities for people to connect with people around the world. Social media is a platform for two-way communication, not one-way broadcasting. For every @ mention on Twitter, you should reply. It doesn’t take a lot of time to say thank you to your followers who care about you or your brand. 4. Selling. Selling. Selling. Social platforms are not for selling. People don’t join social media networks to be pitched. They join them to converse, see what others are doing, and learn about the world. How often do you see posts about companies talking about themselves too much? The remedy: Share news and expert content that is helpful and shareable. Find a balance of posts that promote others and you or your company once in a while. Share content created by your colleagues and industry experts. Be helpful, not sales-y. 5. Inconsistent or no posts. How many times do you see a company create a social network, but they haven’t posted in months or years? The page looks like a ghost town. For example, how many Twitter accounts have you seen where the person still has an egghead and has never tweeted? Inconsistent posting on social sites can say more to your followers than what you are actually posting. Would you work with a company that didn’t care about its social media presence? How you would be treated as a customer? Would you get neglected as well?

The remedy: Make sure you post at least once a week. On some social networks, you may want to post once a day but you don’t want to clutter your followers’ feed. For example, Twitter is a much faster moving feed, so posts can be much more frequent than Facebook. On LinkedIn, you might want to make an update at least twice a week because your home feed on that platform is getting more activity recently with the launch of sponsored updates. What would you add to this list? What are others doing wrong on social media? A version of this story originally appeared on the Knowledge Enthusiast blog. Cassandra D’Aiello is social media manager at Perspectiv3. (Image via)


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