5 Common Social Media Mistakes

It seems as if every business is jumping into Social Media these days because they’re seeing more “Connect with us on Facebook” and “Follow us on Twitter” links on business websites. To their credit, business owners see this and are jumping into waters they might not be used to. However, it’s not as easy as they think. Social Media isn’t “set it and forget it”. The most important thing to do when involved in Social Media is to engage. So here’s my list of rules on what I think should and shouldn’t be done.

  • Social MediaDon’t AutoFollow. Do you plan to listen as much as you talk? Or are you just trying to collect connections to market to? There are currently tens of thousands of third party apps for Twitter. Some allow you to auto-follow people, some will auto-unfollow people if people don’t return your follow. Now, call me a romantic, but I want to at least think you followed me because of me, not because I was one of the bulk connections that a computer program picked. That’s like the equivalent of leaving your business cards on a table to your local Chamber of Commerce Networking meeting. When in doubt, remember the first word in “Social Media”. People want to get to know you on Social Media and will then decide whether or not to do business with you. People are more apt to use people they feel comfortable with.
  • Don’t AutoTweet. Just because you have a program that automatically tweets a headline and link anytime an industry-specific keyword is used in the news, doesn’t mean anyone will look at you like you’re an expert. Why should I associate that article with you, when you’re probably not even reading it yourself?!?
  • Watch the outsourcing. Okay, I’m a bit torn on this one as I’ve heard some success with outsourcing. My current feelings are that the person sending out your status updates, updating your Social Media info and communicating with your clients should be a person in your company. I think that the person should have a vested interest in the success of the company, with company knowledge, and be part of the company culture. If they are, then they can properly answer the questions they’ll get asked. I’ll go back to the Chamber of Commerce example. Would you send someone outside your company to represent you and your company at a networking meeting? Is that person just sending out your message or are they being Social? I like to get to know people before I do business with them.
  • Don’t Concern yourself with connection/follower counts. It isn’t the amount of people that are following you. It’s about how you engage with your connections. Check with the Social Media Experts here and here.
  • Don’t make it all about you. Social Media is about being Social. It’s a two way street. Retweet (with credit) other people’s good tweets. If you read someone else’s good Blog post, send it out to your connections on Facebook and Twitter. Chances are that you’re connections have something in common so they might be interested in something you’ve seen. Listen to others, help others out. Basically, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Is there a “right way?

I know the title of this Blog post. But are there really mistakes? In actuality, there’s no right or wrong. Just from empirical evidence I see what’s working for businesses and what’s not. So keep these points in mind:

  • Work on building relationships, not just connections.
  • Remember- Starting is easy, finishing is hard. Following through with your Social Media objectives even if you you don’t see immediately results is important.
  • Try some of the not-so-popular Social Media platforms that may be industry specific to you.

More Reading: What You Need to know about Outsourcing Social Media, Social Media Examiner

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