Using social media to grow your community and promote your brand is a must for community expansion, especially if you run a blog or business site. However, sometimes we slip and our efforts backfire. Perhaps it’s been months since you first registered and you’re still not gaining any followers. Or you seem to attract the wrong kind of followers. Or you deleted that TMI tweet AFTER someone else has already seen it (and trust me, they have). So what do you do?
Social media channels are a powerful way of reaching your target audience, and when used properly, you can enjoy the benefits of a successful social media campaign.
The following are 10 of the basic social media mistakes that are commonly committed, as well as their solutions. These errors are best avoided because damage control can be just as messy and time-consuming. But if you’ve already committed any of these flubs or other slip-ups, take heart — many mistakes can still be opportunities to prove to your audience how committed you are to providing them with your best efforts.
1. Not using your accounts.
When people see little to no activity in your profile, it automatically sends them the message that you’re either disorganized or you just don’t care.
Solution: If you put up a social media account, make sure you update it at least twice a week with posts relevant to your site and brand. Your posts don’t have to be long, they just have to be there.
2. Misusing your accounts.
Sometimes I’m guilty of this. It’s easy to get carried away when posting in a professional account if you treat it like your personal page. But those who follow you for updates on your site may not want to see your TMI or controversial posts in their feed, and that could cost you followers. It’s okay to post a bit about neutral opinions or how your day went every so often just to lend some personality to your online presence, though.
Solution: Set up your personal and social accounts separately. You have the option to link them to your professional accounts, thereby giving your professional followers to see the person behind the brand — only if they want to.
3. Not customizing or updating your social media profile.
When you setup a social media account, you have the prerogative to customize it according to your brand. Not taking advantage of that option tells your potential followers that you’re unimaginative, apathetic, or worse, untrustworthy.
Solution: If customizing your profile is daunting to you, at least indicate the basic information that you need to establish your page’s identity: your brand name, your photo, your logo (if you have one), a brief description of what your site is about, and your contact info. Make sure you update your profile info every so often, or as soon as there are any changes that you need the public to know.
4. Posting at the wrong times.
What’s the point of posting about your site’s cool update if everyone in your network is happily tucked away in bed? Your site is more likely to get visits when you post during the times when your followers are awake and online.
Solution: Post when your network is likely to be online on the same site as you. Sometimes, working hours don’t allow for people to browse through non-work-related sites, so you might want to post about your site in the morning, just before people settle into their jobs, or during weekends, when they’re relaxed. You can also use tools for monitoring social media activity, such as Google Analytics.
5. Using automated posts.
It may have happened to you: you follow someone, and you immediately receive a private message (in my case, a direct message) thanking you and asking you to download their free e-book. Thing is, that same message is sent to everyone who follows that account. And when you respond or complain, you get no answer. The verdict? Spam.
Solution: Although it’s more time-consuming, it’s better to handle your accounts personally because it gives you a chance to interact with your followers and convey your sincerity to them. If you need to use an automated posting service, make sure your personal input outnumbers the template posts, and don’t resort to canned private messages. After all, you’ll also need to be there in case anyone has specific questions for you.
6. Posting at the wrong frequency.
When you post too often, it annoys people. When you post too little, you’re forgotten. Either way, you vanish into the great ocean of online statuses.
Solution: Pay attention to your audience’s responses to your posts, and time your activity according to theirs (see #4). At the very least, you can space your posts at a consistent pace, say, 1 post every 2 hours, so your audience will anticipate your presence.
7. Not linking back to your site.
There is no point in posting about your blog if you don’t include links to it. Even if you mention your blog’s title and post, and include hashtags, people simply won’t visit your site if they still have search for it elsewhere.
Solution: If you post about your site, then provide links to it.
8. Lack of proofreading.
Poor spelling, grammar, and irrelevant content will damage your credibility by telling your audience that you’re either unskilled, unschooled, or that you simply don’t care.
Solutions: Always check for errors in your posts before hitting the ‘Post’ button. Also, check to see if you’re using loaded terms, or terms that may be misunderstood by your audience.
9. Making little connections, or the wrong connections.
“If you build it, they will come,” is not always true in social media. Sometimes it takes ages for you to get followers, and sometimes, you attract followers whose interests aren’t in line with your vision.
Solution: Take the initiative to follow people whom you think would be a great addition to your network, not necessarily from your existing circle of friends. It also helps to follow influencers in your field. But of course, after you follow them, try to avoid
10. Lack of engagement.
Just because people follow you doesn’t mean they’ll stay there forever, especially if you don’t interact with them.
Solution: Remember, you are not building a community of accounts, but of people. Treat your followers as you would wish to be treated as a client — acknowledge their presence respectfully, strike up conversations with them, invite them to visit your site, and ask for their opinion. Make them feel valued.
There are countless other social media blunders outside of this list. What have you encountered and how were they fixed? I’d love to hear from you!