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Social Media Mistakes You Must Avoid

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Social Media Mistakes You Must Avoid

This article should really be called: “How to Lose Your Credibility by Using Social Media Like a Jerk and Making Customers Avoid You Forever”. But that’s not a very catchy title. Whatever you call it though, these are some of the main social media mistakes that I see every day.

Automate Everything

Social media mistake number one is something that annoys many people. There are many social platforms out there and it’s hard to keep up with them all. It could seem like a good idea to link your accounts so every status update you make is duplicated across all your platforms. Good idea? Terrible idea. This is definitely one of those instances where the easy option is the wrong option. Linking accounts (with a very few exceptions) just alienates your online friends.

We don’t need more bulletin boards online, what we’re really looking for is genuine connection with people who we like, and who may give us a fresh perspective or teach us a thing or two. When you automate too much, or blast out the same message in the same way across all your platforms, it tells your followers that you can’t be bothered to craft something new for them; you’re just trying to hit everyone as fast as possible. Nobody likes to be on the receiving end of a fire hose.

Every social media platform has it’s own style of communication. If you craft a message for Linkedin, the chances are that the same wording will sound very odd on Instagram or Snapchat. The end result is that it will reduce your credibility in the reader’s mind, which is the last thing you want to do.

Buy Some Followers

A few years ago there was someone on Twitter whose use of the platform I respected. It was refreshing and felt genuine. I admired his honest and unique approach. One day though, he announced that he’d just bought some followers “as an experiment” to see if it would make a difference to other people, such as journalists. Yeah, right. In an instant, he’d lost all his credibility with me. Interestingly his experiment never seemed to end – he didn’t lose all of his purchased followers at any point. Always resist the temptation to buy extra followers. It may seem like a quick way to boost your numbers, but it is also the fastest way I know to destroy your credibility. Also, what is the point of having followers that have no genuine interest in your business? It can only ever be an exercise in vanity.

Short Change us with Your Blog

Blog posts that are barely longer than a tweet are an insult to your readers. We’re all busy people and there are millions of blog posts published every day. If one of your followers is going to give up some of her valuable time to follow a link to your post, the least you can do is reward her with something worth reading. And before you say “But Seth Godin writes short posts and everybody raves about him” just forget that. You’re not Seth Godin, he is the exception that proves the rule. Always make sure that each of your posts contains at least 300 words.

Bitch About Your Life

Yes, we know: you’re only person who’s ever had a bad day and you can’t wait to tell us all about it. Except we don’t. We all have bad days. Life is tough for many people, and some people are having a much tougher time than you. We don’t need to hear any more negativity. Instead, why not share something positive? Like how you’re coping with the tough times? And how you’re looking forward to better times. So much better to hear. Of course, if you genuinely need help, it’s okay to reach out to friends. Just don’t become the guy that thinks the world is ending because you stubbed your toe.

Claim to be an Expert When You’re Not

It takes years to become an expert at anything. Whether it’s cooking, poker, or social media, don’t claim to be an expert until you’ve put in the hours, months and years. Until you’ve done the work, you’re just a keen amateur. We all know this, which is why our BS alarm goes off when we hear a rookie declare that they’re an expert. Don’t become one of those instant “experts” we see all over the place.

Mouth Off on Every Topic You Know Nothing About

We’ve probably all done this once or twice, but some people do it like it’s their job. I learned many years ago to restrict my opinions and comments only to topics I knew something about. If more people applied that lesson, maybe there wouldn’t be so many social media mistakes.

Join Every Platform

You don’t have to climb every mountain you see. You can’t read every book ever written. Nor can you use every social media platform. There just isn’t enough time, even if you did it 24/7. Pick the platforms that work best for you and where your customers are already. Fish where the fish are, as they say. Also, be ready to move from one platform to another if the ones you’re on start to become less effective for you. Yesterday, Facebook may have worked well for you, but today it may be Instagram or Snapchat.

The Next Step

How do you avoid making these kind of mistakes with your social media? Get some proper training from someone with actual experience. Not an intern or apprentice. Being young doesn’t mean you have been born with the ability to use social media for business. Spend the money, it’ll pay for itself by preserving your professional image. Your credibility is everything in business.

sponsored by Design Inspiration

Editor: Ash Mashhadi


Ash Mashhadi is co-Founder of InPlymouth.com and Partner in Design Inspiration, Plymouth's most experienced web design company. He is a highly-regarded Web Designer, Social Media Consultant and a popular speaker. He also frequently trains small and medium-sized businesses in how to use social media to attract clients.

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