Just like back in high school English class, there are varying levels of aptitude when it comes to business owners using social media. There are the A+ Alisons (and I include myself in this group) who stay on top of the latest trends, pay attention to
#You’ve #Seen #These #Too. I find them super annoying. Just like keywords, hashtags should be used in moderation. If you talk a lot about small business and marketing on social media, by all means, add #smallbiz and #marketing to your profile. But don’t include nothing but hashtags. Your bio is short, but it should be used to tell the story of who you are, and what you’ll talk about on your profile.
The Easy Solution: Spend time considering what’s most important that people visiting your social media profiles should know about you. Your bio might be different for different social sites, and that’s okay. Consider who your audience is and what you will deliver to them.
#2. You Have an Automated Response to Every Follow
You’ve likely gotten these on Twitter. The instant you follow someone, you get a direct message saying something like “Hey there! Thanks for following me! Check out this other thing I want you to click on.” This seemed like a good idea back before so many people did it. Now it just seems robotic and canned. When I have a stream full of these in my Direct Mail box, it’s hard to feel like they’re actually customized to me. And you can see that people tried to make it more personal…and failed.
The Easy Solution: If you have time, once a week manually thank the people who have followed you. Don’t DM them; reply publicly. Visit their sites and make some comment that shows you’re actually paying attention. Don’t push your agenda. Ever.
#3. Your Stream is Just Everyone Else’s Content
You’ve managed to automate your social media management to the point where every time someone else posts a link or comment, you automatically post it to your audience. While it’s absolutely a good strategy to share other people’s content, that isn’t in and of itself a solid social media strategy. Aim for a mix of others’ content, your own content, and then conversations and questions to really engage people. Having a steady stream of only one of these will annoy your followers and make them unfollow you quickly.
The Easy Solution: Spend one day a week reviewing the great content on a given social media channel and scheduling shares of it peppered throughout the week. This cuts down hugely on the time you’ll spend overall. The rest of the week, schedule in your own content and those other types of tweets and updates.
#4. You Follow Everyone. I Mean Everyone!
You figure the more people you follow, the more will follow you back. This is absolutely true, but: ask yourself what value there is in following and being followed by people who don’t give a damn about your brand. Sure, you can boast the numbers, but if you can’t get your followers to do something (share your content, click your links, buy from you), they’re worthless. I always say it’s better to have 100 really engaged followers than 10,000 who aren’t even your target customers.
The Easy Solution: Search keywords and hashtags that relate to your industry to find the right people to follow. You can also use a tool like Crowdfire to follow the people that are following someone else in your industry. Still, skim their bios before blanketly following all of them.
#5. You Overpromote Your Stuff
Don’t you get it yet? Social media is not about pushing people to click your links and buy your stuff. At least not in an overt way. They will do it, but you’ve got to be sly about it. You can get people to your website by sharing really great content you’ve got there. It’s fine to occasionally promote your products and services, but find a healthy balance.
The Easy Solution: Many social media experts say to only promote your products 20% of the time. The other 80% should be that mix I mentioned before.
#6. You Don’t Pay Attention to Your Scheduling
You’ve got updates going out in the middle of the night or after your audience of small business owners are off their work computers. So those updates are doing exactly nothing for your brand. The fact that you don’t even have to schedule updates in real time means you’ve got no excuse for not being more strategic in your timing.
The Easy Solution: Use a social media management dashboard like SproutSocial to pick the times that are best to reach your audience. You should take the time zone they’re in into consideration as well.
Maybe you have an automation set up so that every time you have a new blog post published, it automatically gets posted on all your social channels. That’s fine and dandy, but you are limited in how many people that single update will reach, so it’s a good idea to schedule it more than once.
The Easy Solution: Again, that social media dashboard comes in handy because you can schedule multiple updates of a single blog post. Vary it up; include a quote or statistic from the article, ask a question, or otherwise entice people to click. Schedule 1-2 shares of it a day on Twitter for the following week, and a few times a week for other social sites.
#8. You Post the Same Thing Across All Social Channels
There’s no value for people to follow you on Twitter, Google +, and Facebook if you post identical updates. Give people a reason to seek you out on each social channel. Find diverse ways to add value across the board without duplication.
The Easy Solution: Find what resonates best with people on each channel. Maybe on Twitter you focus on sharing content, but on Facebook, you ask a weekly question for your fans to answer.
The sooner you stop these annoying habits, the sooner you’ll see better results on social media!
Images: “Magnifying optical glass with Like, Unlike icons on digital background, 3d render/Shutterstock.com“
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