Mistakes happen to even the best of us – we know first-hand from the helpful comments informing us whenever there’s grammatical error. But, that’s just human nature. And we all make mistakes. However, you can at least make the effort to be as flawless as possible. Especially when it comes to social media.
Whether you’re using social media as a way to keep in touch with friends and family or as a marketing tool, you’re likely well aware of how powerful social media channels have become. When used correctly and mistake-free, you can successfully promote yourself, brand, or product. If you have a major hiccup, you can harm your reputation, both personally and professionally, for years. After all, even if you delete that angry rant you posted on Facebook, someone saw it. Someone might have even saved it. Regardless, that one mistake won’t be going away anytime soon.
For example, take the following 10 mistakes. We’ve all fell victim to them at one time or another. And, hopefully, we’ve learned a lesson.
1. Treating All Social Media Platforms the Same
We’re almost 100% sure that you don’t have to be a social media genius to realize that every social media platform is different. Each format varies from channel to channel by offering different languages to different audiences. In fact, just take a look at your social media accounts. Did you notice someone, it can be a person or brand, that is sending out the same message on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn? Looks a bit impersonal and spammy, right?
Instead of just sending out the same message on different social media outlets, take the time to better understand what each service offers and how they work. From there, you’ll be able to customize messages that will be more effective. Also, keep in mind that you may have multiple accounts, one for business and the other for personal, which will determine the content that you share.
2. Posting at Inappropriate Times
Be honest. We’ve all had those times when the thought process was just a bit impaired – either because we’re tired, emotional, or had one too many drinks. If that’s the case, posting should probably be avoided. Before sending out a message that you’ll regret later, stop and think about what you’re doing. You’ll be glad you did when clear-headed.
But, there are other scenarios when we post at inappropriate times. For example, do you think that anyone is going to be reading that amazing blog post that you just wrapped up at 2am on a Wednesday morning? Probably not. Do you think that someone in California will respond to a tweet that a New Yorker sent out at 8am EST? Most likely not.
In short, you don’t want to be active when no one else is online. After all, that defeats the point of being on social media. In the future, try to be aware of the best times to post. For example, on Facebook, engagement rates are 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays. As for Twitter, weekdays have 14% more engagement than weekends with 5pm having the highest amounts of retweets.
3. Placing Quantity Over Quality
Quality should always be your focus; not how much you post or how many friends/followers you have in your network. You should be sharing great content and searching for people who will engage and support you or your brand. For example, having 1,000 highly engaged followers is more beneficial than paying or hacking for 100,000 followers who will never develop loyalty to you or your brand.
As opposed to posting 10 sub-par articles per day, focus on several pieces that will drive traffic and spark discussions.
4. Not Taking Advantage of Bio
It’s not uncommon for the first item for visitors to spot on you social media page is a bio. Since this the norm, make sure that you complete this section with vital information, like location and website [URL]. And, have a little fun with it. If you’re creative and interesting, this will give others more of an incentive to follow or like you.
5. Not Posting Enough vs. Posting Too Much
As you may have picked up by now, there’s a certain rhyme and reason with how much and how minimal you post on your social media platforms. We all have that person we’re following on Twitter who will send out 20 tweets in the span of one minute. And, we probably have that friend who logs onto Facebook once a month only to vent about how awful their life is going. Neither extreme is productive. Posting too much comes across as spam. Posting too little means that you’re easily forgotten. So, what’s the magical number of times you should post a day?
That depends on your audience. Listening to your niche is a great way to understand how often you post, however, several times a day sounds a lot better than several times an hour. Guy Kawasaki has a cool method. He’ll post the same content on Twitter four times a day, but eight hours apart. This way, he’ll be able to reach different audiences, but without saturating his followers timelines.
6. Using Automated Messages
Have you followed someone and instantly receive a message thanking you and to download their new e-book? It’s discouraging and feels way too much like spam – which no one likes. While we realize that you can’t be “on” 24/7, you should at least make the effort to interact with people as often as you can with a personal and sincere message. Knowing that there’s a real person there who took the time to respond can go a long way in establishing trust and engagement.
Also, while not always the most pleasant of circumstances to deal with, you also may have to personally respond to negative messages or compliments. Instead of ignoring the problem, try to work out your differences. If you don’t think it is important, just be aware that LiveOps discovered that 85 percent of consumers feel how a brand handles issues on its website or social channels is a good indicator of its quality of support.
7. Not Proofreading
We’ll be honest, and so should you. At one time or another, we’ve all posted a message in a hurry, which in turn, is full of misspellings. While there are occasions where auto-correct takes over – even if you didn’t ask - grrr – always take the extra time to proofread your message. You’re not writing a novel here, so it shouldn’t take that long. And, it’s one of the easiest ways to protect your reputation.
8. Using Social Media Only as a Megaphone
Social media is a two-way street. This means that it can’t be just one person talking all the time. It’s a conversation. You need to be active on all platforms. Don’t just talk about yourself or only share your work. Post content that will generate discussions. Pay attention to the people in your network. In other words, show people you care about them, and not just yourself. You’d be surprised how this type of interaction pays off.
9. Not Properly Using @, # and Images
If you previously read our Twitter hacks article, then you may remember the trick where a period was placed before @. The reason? When only using @, Twitter sees this a reply, which means you and the other person you’re replying to can see the messages. By placing a period, or even ‘the’, will make the message visible to everyone in your feed.
Speaking of symbols, how about #? While including hashtags can boost engagement, please, please don’t overdo it. Posting irrelevant and trending hashtags is just tacky and won’t assist in lead generation. For example, if a car dealership is promoting a holiday sale, why would they post trending pop culture hashtags? It may get them noticed, but it won’t help with sales. One final note regarding hashtags, don’t saturate your social media accounts with #this and #that for every other word you type. Keep it around one or two per post. #dontbeajerk
10. Saying Too Much
We’re all busy people. And we don’t have time to read War and Peace every single time we login into a social media account. Keep things short and to the point. This is especially important on Twitter where the 140-character limit is perhaps its most well-known feature. Instead of devoting too much time on word or character-length, stick to tweets that are under 100 characters, which have been proven to receive 17 percent more engagement.
What’s the worst mistake that you’ve made on social media? How did you fix it?