Social media is no longer an unfamiliar term, but it seems that most people I talk to still believe that the tool is reserved for the tech savvy. Relax. True there are right ways and wrong ways to “do” social media, but social media rules are evolving.
There are basic principles that will assist you (check out “Miss Ink’s 3 C’s of Social Media Marketing”) along the way, but we all make mistakes. Here’s my list of the most common ones:
- Relying on spell check. I once posted a blog where I meant to write “public” but wound up leaving out the “l”. Luckily, a loyal blog reader and Twitter reader promptly pointed out this mistake to me. Lesson: Slow down before you communicate something unintended.
- Venting. I know many, many people who use Facebook and Twitter to vent about problems they are having with other people. While it may be momentarily therapeutic, the fact of the matter is that no one cares. It’s a passive aggressive behavior—and a really bad habit—that more often than not reflects poorly on you. Stay classy people. Warning: Airing your dirty laundry can be addictive.
- There’s no such thing as private. This ties into the venting mistake, but save yourself some embarrassment and don’t post something if there is even one person you don’t want to read it. Six degrees of separation is not a myth.
- Forgetting your manners. Social networking is integrated with business more than ever. Your online personality is NOT different from your “real life” personality. If anything, people see who you are on social networking sites as a true reflection of self because people tend to let their guard down.
- Unintended links. This is another mistake that I am guilty of. I have posted an article and not included the correct link. The links didn’t direct my readers to a scandalous website, but the power of the information I wanted to share was lost and I ended up looking careless.
- Sharing links without clicking first. Social networking is a competition of who can be the first person to break news. When we’re trying to keep up, we may share or retweet something just because the teaser sounds interesting. Click on the link first. Make sure you know exactly what information you’re sharing.
- Posting only about you. Most people new to social media make this mistake. Social media is about sharing information that engages people in conversation. Who wants to have a conversation with people who only talk about themselves? I sure don’t and I can guarantee the people in your network don’t either.
- Auto posts. This is what happens when people automatically link everything they share from one site to share on another site. Many people make this mistake because they want a social media presence across several sites, yet they want to simplify the process. The trouble is that people will feel spammed or if they comment or reply, you’ll never know because chances are that you rarely check up on your account’s activity. To avoid this, only sign up for the amount of social media tools that you can give personal attention to.
- Auto direct message. A lot of people LOVE to do this on Twitter. They figure if they send an auto direct message to every new follower, they will be properly acknowledging them. While it seems nice in theory, it rarely works. You’re better off sending a personal message to followers you want to build a relationship with.
- Adding every person you meet to your mailing list. Everyone wants to build their database, but no one wants to be spammed. Yes, I did use this tactic early on, but I quickly learned that it could backfire and actually annoy people in part because I don’t enjoy being on the receiving end of this tactic. Always ask if people would like to opt-in to your email list. You’ll look more professional and courteous and you’ll know that you’re sending information to people are actually interested in what you have to send them.