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January 28, 2009

Social Media Mistakes

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With so much talk about social media these days, everyone is jumping on board and trying it out. We are seeing some common mistakes out there and I thought it was important to address these mistakes to help eradicate them in the future.

Don’t get me wrong, there will be a learning curve – we all went through it (and I met some great people that helped me, and that I helped along the way) but the key is to learn up front to minimize errors!

So, here we go…

Mistake One: Completely Ignoring Social Media

Believe it or not there are still some people out there that are ignoring social media. They may be unsure of how to participate or maybe they just don’t have time to get involved. No matter what the reason, this is a big mistake. Social media continues to grow in popularity and in importance to internet users – the exact users you are trying to reach.

Mistake Two: Bare Profiles

If you don’t bother completing your profile people won’t be able to get to know you. It is also a sign to other users that you aren’t serious about participating on that site. Many spammers don’t bother to complete their profile and a blank profile has become a red flag.

Your profile should include a custom background when possible, a photo, contact information, and a list of interests to help people get to know you better.

Don’t be afraid to show some personality and let people really get to know you and your company and what you stand for.

Mistake Three: Faking It

We’ve all seen companies being ripped apart for trying to fake it in the social media world. They either hire someone to pretend to be them (it’s OK if staff, colleagues or team members participate, but to hire an unknown to play you, not cool!), or they make up personas or even fake customers posting positive feedback.

The truth is if you can’t invest the time to create an authentic social media profile, you shouldn’t bother creating one at all.

Mistake Four: Trying to Sell Users Instead of Listening

Social media isn’t about you selling, selling, selling. You are here to network, build trust, listen to what customers and prospects have to say. You want to hear customer concerns, to learn about them, to find out what gets them excited, what they like about your product, what they still want, etc.

Remember to be a good social media participant, which means listen before you speak. If you don’t, you risk being written off as yet another company that doesn’t know how to use social media and who is only interested in promoting themselves. Remember, you always have to add value to the communities you’re participating in – just remember its value for your customers, not yourself.

Mistake Five: Recycling

Don’t recycle old content and marketing materials on social media sites. Start new conversations, create new information to share. Granted, you’ll have some content that falls in the “oldie but goodie” category and that’s OK to share. Just try to keep things fresh.

Mistake Six: Launching, then Ignoring

Social media is similar to search engine optimization in that you can’t just set it and forget it. You need to participate and remain active, otherwise you have wasted your time initially setting things up.

If you want your customers to stay engaged, you have to keep producing great content yourself. Keep writing Blog posts, creating widgets and being active in the community. Social media is real work but when done properly it’s worth the effort.

So review your social media practices and make sure you aren’t making any of these mistakes. If you are, change course quickly and get yourself back on track.


Jennifer Horowitz is the Director of Marketing for EcomBuffet.com. Since 1998 Jennifer’s expertise in marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has helped clients increase revenue. Jennifer has written a downloadable book on SEO and has been published in many SEO and marketing publications. Jennifer is the editor of the popular Spotlight on Success: SEO and Marketing newsletter. Follow Jennifer and stay current on SEO, marketing, social media and more. http://twitter.com/EcomBuffet

2 Responses to “Social Media Mistakes

    avatar Teresa - She Can Run! says:

    Jennifer,

    You’re so right. What you’re talking about are the “magnetic sponsoring” or “law of attraction” techniques where people are drawn to you instead of you chasing them down.

    How can you become the trusted expert if you make the mistakes that you’ve mentioned? You HAVE to be trustworthy and you HAVE to build trust. It’s that simple.

    avatar Dren Zenuni says:

    I’ve done some research on companies like southwest, M&M, Adidas, Travel Channel and many more. I’m shocked these sites, dont control their social networks that often. I can find pornographic images and videos on these sites, staying there for weeks. That is lack of quality control. The “ingriedients” is as important as the dialogues.

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