We all know the importance of social media and why it's a must for your business or blog … but people have forgotten a very important element — making real life connections!
In fact, here’s a great definition of social networking from the website What Is:
“Social networking is the practice of expanding the number of one's business and/or social contacts by making connections through individuals.”
So, what are the top social media mistakes?
Well, it depends on who you ask, but in my experience, it comes down to these ten:
Mistake #1 – Following as many people as you can in hopes of getting followed back.
Why is this a mistake? Well, first of all, you want your follower/following ratio to be as close as possible. If you have a significantly higher amount of people you are following, you can appear to be a spammer. Take it slow, and add 10 new people a day – and only those you are truly interested in. And, no, you don’t always have to follow back.
Mistake #2 – Always scheduling your tweets. It is okay to schedule your tweets.
Just not all of them. People will figure it out, especially if you aren’t around to engage by retweeting and @mentioning or @replying. If you schedule a tweet and aren’t around for the response, isn’t that kind of pointless?
Mistake #3 – Sending a DM, especially an auto-DM when someone starts following you, and including a sales message.
Okay, DM’s are great. Auto DM’s are sort-of-okay. But, DO NOT include a link to your sales page or try to sell something. If you are going to send an auto-DM, make it a ‘thank you for following’ or ‘nice to meet you’ message – and that’s it. In general, save DM’s for private messages or for sales pitches ONLY when someone has shown interest.
Mistake #4 – Always making it about you. This goes for all your social networking.
The general rule of social networking on a business account is to use the 4:1 or 10:1 ratio (there are different schools of thought). The basic point of this is that you should spend a majority of your time retweeting, commenting, liking, @mentioning, @replying, link sharing (not yours), etc. and save the sales pitches for the minority. If you make it all about you, people will eventually get tired of it.
Mistake #5 – Neglecting your accounts.
Again, this relates to all social networks you have set-up. I am guilty of this on occasion, especially with my blog. And, it’s okay from time to time. But, find a balance, set-up a routine if you can, and be consistent. Your fans/followers/readers will appreciate it and know what to expect from you.
Mistake #6 – Completely separating your personal and professional life.
Huh? What? Yes, I went there. I know some will not agree, but I find that if you add a little personal into your professional accounts, your following will connect with you more. And, it’s really okay. My following knows that I’m struggling to have a child (not all the details, but you get the idea), that I am a chocoholic (I often tweet about cravings), and all about my pets (and their bad habits). So, decide how much is enough for you and start sharing a little.
Mistake #7 – Always suggesting your page to your friends.
This can be a great tool, but it can also cost you some friendships. Rather than always hitting the ‘suggest my page to my friends’ link on Facebook, consider a more subtle way – every so often (not that often) post a link to your fan page on your personal page. This way, they can choose whether to become a fan or not, and you’re not seen as a nag.
Mistake #8 – Posting when you’re tired, angry, sick, or overly hungry!
Yes, this can be a problem. If you must do this, then read what you wrote once or twice before you post it. Or, have someone read it before you hit ‘submit’ to ensure you don’t say something you can’t take back.
Mistake #9 – Shunning your competition.
Attention: it is okay to be friends with other people in your industry. In fact, it could be a great thing for both parties involved. Don’t be afraid to connect with other people who share your passions and talents. Bonus: this is also how networking works. You refer to her, she gives you a tip, and so on and so forth. It works people.
And, for the next one, I’m giving Holly the honor of adding one, since she gives me the honor each month of guest blogging on her site …
Mistake #10 – Not adding a personal message when sending a friend request.
Nothing is worse when someone sends over a friend request on Facebook or LinkedIn and you have no clue who they are or why you should add them as a friend. If you don’t know the person, always remember to include a short message with the request “Hi I see that we both live in Austin, and I’d love to add you as a friend”. Social networking is about making genuine connections — not a competition on how many “friends” you can rack up.
I hope you learned a tip or two of what you should do and what you should avoid. You don’t have to take my suggestions – they may or may not work for you. This is just what I’ve learned over the years of social networking, and I thought I would share.
Do you have any good tips?
Angela Bickford is a crafter who loves to make art of all kinds. She has a home-business where she sells custom stationery and gifts, including domino jewelry, clipboards, and scrapbooks. She is also passionate about writing, is a published author, and has edited two books for other authors. She lives in Texas with her family. Come visit Angela on AngelaBickford.com.