How-Tu Tuesday: Avoiding Common Social Media Mistakes

Picture for Rene Looper Rene Looper

November 12th 2015

“Mistakes are the stepping stones to learning” – I recently heard someone say this in one of those inspirational videos that you watch on YouTube when you feel like you need a bit of a boost. However, out of the many motivating quotes we hear daily, this one stayed with me as I realised it can be applied to anything in life – whether that be work-related or in your personal life.

It is certainly something that many business owners and entrepreneurs can hold dearly to them; no one gets it right first time and you have to make those annoying mistakes in order to realise they are mistakes in the first place.

Many businesses are still anxious and confused with how to approach social media – should I be on social media, what platforms should I use, what should I say, who am I targeting? However, the way social media works is mainly through, yes, having a plan, but also through a lot of trial and error. Brands try different platforms, ways of communicating, content being posted – and then they wait for the response and see what works.

For those worried about making mistakes on social, check out the most common faults when it comes to using social media as a business. And even after reading them and making a mental note, you may still make them! But that’s okay, the trick is not to repeat your mistakes.

1. Using Too Many Channels

Many businesses assume that because a social media platform has been created and some businesses are on it, it means that you have to be too. Wrong. Only focus on the channels that are right for your brand message and your target market. You need to dedicate time to your social activity so don’t spread yourself too thinly; concentrate on a limited number of platforms that are most relevant to the brand and develop quality content for those only.

2. Too Focused on Followers

As I write this, I know that no one is going to not care about how many followers they have; I think as humans we are all programmed to care about how popular we are. But, what is really important on social media is not the number of followers, but the level of engagement that your posts attract. Unfortunately, some people care so much about the number of followers they have, that they are choosing to buy fake followers. However, this action is not as effective as it sounds; it quickly becomes obvious when an account has bought their “fans” due to the high number of followers and low levels of engagement. Whether it be likes, shares, comments or favourites, it’s the level of engagement you need to be focused on.

3. Lack of Personality

Be human. Be your brand, but above anything else, be human. Social media is just that, it’s social; people want to show their personality on the various channels and they are attracted to the posts which are fun, quirky and have some real human emotion behind them. I think emotion is the key word when we speak about having a social personality as not all brand messages and content is about being fun. Some posts often have to be serious or more informative than others, but as long as the brand’s voice is recognisable, then the reader will connect.

4. Forget to Cross Promote

Some of your followers will find you on social media by stumbling across you through the specific platform you are on, but the majority should find you through another marketing channel. This may be through another social platform where you might tell people you are on Snapchat by including your username in your Twitter bio, but you should also make sure to include links to your social channels on the following:

  • Email signature
  • Website (it is surprising the number of companies who are on social media but with no mention of it on their site – this is a big missed opportunity to gain followers and build your community)
  • E-newsletters
  • All promotional and branding materials, e.g. flyers, brochures, business cards, adverts in the media, signage at company location

5. Fear of Experimenting

Finally, this last common mistake that brands often make links back to my intro and being worried and overly cautious. To keep things simple (because why complicate matters), your approach to social media should go something like this:

If something doesn’t work, try something else. If something does work, try it again.

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