Monday, July 18, 2011

Ten Social Media Mistakes That Will Sabotage Your Results

It seems there are people involved in social media that don't understand how to use it, at least effectively.  When I say social media, of course, I am referring to sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. How hard can it be to chat with other people online?  More difficult than you might imagine.  Below you will see a list of the ten social media mistakes I see most often. 

1. It's all about me. This is probably the mistake I see most often from social media newbies. They think you have to sell every time they make a comment or update. What they don't realize is how annoying that comes across. 

Give me information that shows me you are an expert in what you do.  Convince me (in an indirect way) that I would want to do business with you.  Then you can tell me how you should be the person I want to do business with.  Don't sell at me all the time or I will shut you out.

2. No personality.  Ok, I know it isn't easy to write with a personality if you aren't a writer.  And putting smiley faces after all your sentences doesn't make it any better. :)  If you can bring your personality through in your writing then the reader is going to feel more connected to you.  Do the best you can.

3. No consistency.  Be consistent in your message and tone so the reader and follower know it is you. You want them to look forward to your contribution on social sites.  The other part of consistency is doing it often.  While not always an easy task, try to be involved in social media every day.

4. Not interacting with others.  Always remember this is social media and therefore, it should be a more social way of reaching out to others.  Do your best to network and relate to others in the site.  Try to respond to comments made by those you are connected with or that post on your blog.

5. Not being open to connecting.  My philosophy on connecting with business professionals on social sites is that I will connect with anyone within reason.  I say within reason because I have had a few shady characters try to connect with me.  Overall though, whether I know you personally or not, I will connect. 

On more than one occasion I have met someone in person at a meeting who I was connected to on LinkedIn or Facebook, but had never met in person.  It is always a fun and exciting moment. 

By connecting with people I haven't yet met, I allow them to get to know me through my postings, comments and updates. 

6. Auto following.  Most of us know that there are sites you can sign up for that will allow you to find and follow people automatically.  There are sites especially designed to do this with Twitter.  You can have thousands of followers if you want, just by using an automated following.  This is particularly bothersome and selfish.  I can't think of one good reason that isn't selfish for having thousands of followers.  And I don't mean a few thousand, I'm talking 5 figures and up.

7. Posting too frequently.  It is possible to post things so often it not only irritates readers, but also numbs them to what you are saying.  There are several people in groups on LinkedIn with me that post so often I automatically delete the emails coming in with their discussions.  There is a balance between often enough and too often.  Find it for you and your business.

8. Improper spelling and grammar.  You probably think this is a no brainer, but it is important to spell words correctly and say it properly.  Do you have to be perfect?  No.  You do need to meet minimum standards of grammar though.  Check your typing before you post.  First impressions are lasting, even in social media.

9. Using textspeak.  Dnt write like u txt.  U mite find not evryone cn rd it.  Plus, it just doesn't look professional.  Admittedly, Twitter is based on short messages of 140 characters or less.  If you are using it for business stick to real words.  Be more creative in how you say it in a short span. 

10.  No social media strategy.  Have a strategy with your social media. Are you going to supply people with information which helps you develop a strong presence? Whatever your goal for social media, stick to that strategy in every writing and in every site.

Are there others that I missed?  What do you see on social sites that you believe are mistakes?  Please respond in the comment section below.  I want to hear from you.

Cindy Neky

Cindy is a Certified Social Media Strategist, Marketing and PR Consultant, Small Business Specialist and Speaker with Marketing Pathways.  Located in Pittsburgh, PA, Marketing Pathways helps small businesses achieve sales success through strategic thinking and creative ideas.  

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