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6 Social Media Mistakes

14 Sep, 2010 McKell Naegle

There is an old adage that warns against “mixing business and pleasure”. Most of us have discovered that to be a wise piece of advice in our lives. How does that apply to social media? This is the arena where these lines often get blurred. A significant portion of your friends or followers may be your everyday friends and relatives, but do we often forget about the other portion – the one that is made up of college instructors, professional colleagues/mentors and current or potential clients? Can your updates change their view of you or discourage them from doing business with you? You need to be very careful about what you post online – particularly when using social media marketing to build your business.

Here are 6 things to avoid in social media that can lose you credibility, customers and friends:

1. Begging for favors before you’ve had a conversation

This is an area to proceed with caution. Social media is a great way to connect to people you wouldn’t other wise get to know personally, but you have to be careful with the extent and frequency that you use this method. A good rule of thumb is if you don’t know someone well enough to ask for a cup of sugar or borrow their phone, then you don’t know them well enough to ask them to write about you/link to you/promote you. Just because you have a business and an agenda doesn’t mean that social norms have gone out the window. It is important to establish a relationship on a personal or professional foundation before you seek to use your connections for your benefit.

2. Whine that social media “isn’t fair” or that other profiles get more attention than yours

Your brand has been given this HUGE microphone to talk to consumers, potential partners and, essentially, the whole world. It is important to use it to carefully craft the impression of your brand you’re going to put out. Use your existing contacts to promote your industry and earn the attention and recognition you’re after by posting regular, quality content.

3. Ignore your audience

SOCIAL media is about being social and making meaningful connections. You’re there to create relationships and build awareness for your brand. Be very diligent in responding to your followers’ messages and be an active, knowledgeable participant in conversations about your brand.

4. Complain…about everything….all the time

Aim to make 80 percent of your social messages useful to your audience and material that is helping you to build your brand. There’s a time for venting a frustration or two – especially with industry-related matters. Seek to make them productive, especially if you can offer any solutions to help solve the problem.  You want to establish yourself as an expert in your industry, not build a reputation of getting angry or impatient with everything.

5. Being Rude

There is a difference in being condescending and simply correcting bad information.Remember to use your comments to be productive and brand-oriented. Also, remember that you were learning once too, and someone probably helped point you in the right direction. There is no harm in tactfully offering constructive criticism.There’s a difference between pointing someone in the right direction and simply pointing at them. You wouldn’t want to post something that would cause you to lose a customer or a friend forever.
6. Auto spam your followers
Businesses lose customers and relationships on social media when they forget why they’re there. Do not overuse auto-Direct Messages and other similar tools to bombard your followers in mass. Consumers do not like being directly marketed to. It’s more likely that people are following you for insight and conversation about your corner of the world. Once you have built a relationship of trust and credibility, they will be more likely to buy into your brand. Keep those spice of life tweets in there. Be aware of the overall picture you’re putting out there.

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