Social media is a self-sufficient marketing medium that has taken over a really big chunk of everyone’s time. Its potential to disseminate your information is palpable, so you can’t miss out. Unfortunately, we often fall victim to avoidable but common social media mistakes that can ultimately hurt us in the long-run. The best remedy is awareness, so I’ll go ahead and give some advice based on my own dabbling in social media faux-pas.
Whether we’re talking about maintaining social media accounts for a business or for you personally, one thing’s certain: you can’t be flaky. Sure, there are some accounts out there that remain popular and frequented despite their choppy posting schedule, but these are the exception. If you start out hoping to be like them, you’re doomed.
Make a schedule for yourself and stick to it. When I started out on social media, sometimes I’d post once a week to my Facebook page, and sometimes twice a day. Needless to say, my followers didn’t really appreciate it, and they let me know. Once I started on a defined schedule, I saw steady increases in my followers and interactions.
Looking for likes
You probably want to grow your follower base really quickly, right? Well, you’ll feel a lot better if you don’t start out with high expectations. Something you’ll hear across the social mediasphere is that it takes time, so the trick is patience. When you get impatient, you may tend towards one of two fatal strategies:
Like-baiting: This term has been coined by social media professionals to signify the strategy of creating posts that overtly ask followers to “like” them. Like-baiting can also refer to the practice of rewarding followers for liking your page. Why is this a no-go technique? Well, think about it—do you appreciate it when people tell you what to like? It’s coercion!
Buying likes and followers: The second fatal strategy is the purchase of your fan base. Did you know that you can pay a service to log into thousands of accounts, navigate to your page or profile, and follow or like you? This is a dire social media mistake because it results in a horrendous followers-to-activity ratio. It’s normal for a Facebook page with 300 likes to have posts that are “liked” by maybe 5% of those followers, or around 15 people. If you buy 1,000 inactive followers, your fan base grows in number but true activity rests with those original 15 people. It’s not an attractive ratio, and it stinks of cheating. Ew.
Irrelevant posting or too much advertising
These represent two sides of the same coin. What you post on your social media accounts is the clincher for the public that decides whether you’ll be a successful social media presence or not. At first, I was under the impression that people would come back to my page because it was a great resource for them. So I shared all sorts of information. Luckily I had the common sense to post content relevant to my page’s theme, but my page turned into a hodge-podge of others’ stuff, and it was hard to parse for my original content.
On the flip side, I couldn’t very well start posting only my content, because then I’d come off as pushy and self-indulgent. I’d be advertising my own product over and over again, creating a monotonous page that people quickly become disillusioned with.
The solution was in finding a comfortable balance between my product advertising, my own miscellaneous non-markety content, and other pages’ stuff. Once I got the hang of it, people started engaging my page more regularly. So yes, your social media account should be a resource for followers, but it should also have its own identity.
Being oblivious to change
I might classify this as one of the most revealing mistakes that people make in social media marketing. Why is it revealing? Because it speaks to the very nature of social media, which is in a constant state of evolution. This happens on all levels, from the manner in which APIs are handled to the pixel-width of the cover photo. So keep yourself current on changes in the social media world. You never know which change might affect your routine.
There are a lot of other common social media mistakes that readers will think up and not find in this article. But they are intrinsically included here. When it comes to staying current, this means being proactive in your own engagement with your social platforms. Look around. Figure things out for yourself. Try to understand what your ROI is if you have an ad campaign rolling. Read up on successful social media strategies and brainstorm how to adapt them for yourself. The greatest mistake you can make with social media is to be passive. It’s social.