It’s so easy to get caught up in the hype of social media. There’s a misconception that all you need to do is tweet a few of times a day, start blogging, post a few selfies then – voila! – You go from 0 to 1000 followers overnight.
Truth is, social media requires a great deal of planning and thought. Whether you’re managing profiles for yourself, your company or a client – it is incredibly easy to make a few small slips and upset your audience. With so many different sites available, it’s also very difficult to keep track of social media best practices.
If you’re feeling a little bit anxious about handling social media for your business, here are the six things that, I think, you should avoid:
1. Leave Everything on Auto Pilot
Automating your posts is an amazing way to save time. Tools like Hootsuite, Buffer & Sprout Social allow you to pre-schedule content so that it can be seen by the right people at the right time. (They can be life savers!)
However, if you automate everything, you actually miss out on the most significant aspect of using social media.
Talk to your followers, generate conversations and give them more than a few nice articles to read. This especially applies to Twitter which is all about connecting with people.
I stand by this: ‘Content is King but the community is the Kingdom’.
Don’t get so caught up in creating content that you forget about the very people you’re trying to reach.
Exception: When automation is what your audience is expecting. E.g. news broadcasters, profiles that publish random facts & quotes – there is a possibility that your community may not want to be engaged with.
2. Make #Every Other #Word a #Hashtag
When I see this, several things come to mind… distracting & difficult to read.
Try to use no more than 3 or 4 hashtags and make sure that they’re relevant to your post! There’s no point in engaging with the wrong audience.
Exception: Instagram. This is probably the only social media site that I would suggest you use as many hashtags as possible! This will ensure that your posts are seen by the right audience and isn’t frowned upon. Even so, add the hashtags at the end of your description so that the main text is easy to read.
3. Send Automated Direct Messages on Twitter
Now, while it may seem like an innocent way of saying “hey – thanks for following!” here’s how people tend to interpret Auto DMs:
- Annoying spam
- Impersonal (e.g. not addressing me by my first name)
- Oh… and now they want me to follow them on Facebook…
- A ploy to get me to sign up for other things I don’t need
Exception: I get the overwhelming sense that the Twitter community dislikes Auto DMs (so tread lightly). But some people may have had great success with them. My advice – make it as short & personal as possible. A simple, ‘hey (insert first name), thanks for following – really looking forward to connecting with you’. All methods exist for a reason and somewhere out there Auto DMs are helping people to generate business.
4. Forget to Add Images to Your Posts
Visuals can significantly increase click through and engagement rates. On Twitter, adding an image can increase the amount of retweets by 35% and on Facebook it has been proven that engagement can increase by 85%.
Don’t let amazing content go unseen by forgetting to capture your audience’s eye!
5. Take Everything You Read as Absolute Fact
With hundreds of social media sites and, what seems like, millions of rules, it is very easy to feel a little overwhelmed.
Remember, there are certain things that you’ll have to experiment with and decide on for yourself. For every bit of advice you read there will be exceptions. Your decisions must be based upon your audience.
Last thing to remember is that social media can change and quickly. What is considered as a fact today, may well be different tomorrow! With this in mind you should always look out for relevant and up-to-date information. If you’re open to new ideas & can evolve with the industry then managing social media will soon become second nature!