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Social Media Mistakes that Make You Look Like a Rookie

Poker is a game of skill, chance, and luck.

The key element that sets it apart is the ability to bluff your opponents, regardless of the cards you're dealt.

So you're not always playing the cards in your hand. You're playing your opponents.

Anytime they say or do something unexpected, they're possibly giving you hints about their cards. This tell is usually involuntary, but it can clue you in to what cards they're really holding.

If you're experienced enough, then you can pick up on these quickly and know exactly what type of player you're up against.

The same is true online. There are certain "tells" that aren't obvious to most. But if you know where to look, you can quickly uncover the truth.

Here are three social media mistakes that could make you look like a rookie.


poker spoils Image courtesy of woodleywonderworks



Mistake #1: No "Anchor"

Each individual status update should be a part of a larger strategy.

The careful coordination of your activities will give you much better return in the long-run. So before doing anything, you need to start with an overarching goal. The one you pick will act as an anchor that brings order from chaos. And it will simplify your decision making when you need to choose between conflicting options.

Typically, there are three primary ways to use social media:

  1. Growth / Awareness
  2. Engagement (Proactive)
  3. Service (Reactive)

With that in mind, you could write one status update three different ways. This "anchor" is what ultimately guides those small, day-to-day decisions.

So get in the habit of running marketing campaigns that build off each other. When you string enough of these micro decisions together, you'll start to get some momentum. But only if the next one builds off the last.

And focusing on higher leverage tactics, like business development, is a much better use of your time. Because you're investing in one campaign that will give you multiple returns (Content + SEO + Social).


Mistake #2: No Consistency

Online marketing is part art, part science.

You have do a lot of experimenting, and failing before you find what really works well.

So when you do find successful tactics, try to make them as "repeatable" as possible.

Obviously this helps to manage your customer's expectations. But it goes deeper than that.

When you have repeatable tactics, you can start to estimate and forecast potential results.

For example, if "X" tactic gets you between 200-300 visits each week, and that traffic converts at "Y"%, then you will make $"Z".

You'll immediately uncover the areas you need to address to increase sales (bring in more customers and/or increase conversions). And you'll know how much you can invest in marketing to achieve or improve your results. Like start advertising or hire extra staff to scale these tactics for you.

If you have to invest $50 or one hour to get 100 visits, then think about how you can make that process more efficient and squeeze out a little more, for a little less.

And you'll start to see that you really don't need 10 different tactics or to be on every single social network.

You just need a few that are performing well, with possible room to grow. And you can focus your energy on doing more with less.


Mistake #3: No Engagement

Customer engagement is the missing link between strangers and loyal buyers.

Because people need to trust you before they're going to buy anything.

And blog comments aren't the only form of engagement. Look a little deeper, and see if people are engaged with your online presence:

  • High time on site and/or pages per visit
  • Low bounce rates
  • Above-average conversion rates or click through rates
  • High email member ratings (based on open and click rates)

So how do you increase engagement and create customer loyalty?


Demographic information only gets you so far. Online, you need to understand what makes them take action or freeze up when it's time to buy.

And many times your online audience will be different from your loyal, past customers. (The "curse of knowledge" prevents us from seeing the obvious.) Last year I surveyed a client's customer database of over 400,000, and less than 25% even knew they had a blog or Facebook page!

So obviously, you either need to do a better job of getting these people to your online properties, or you need to change the message to match your potential online customers. And use a mix of both methods:

  • Qualitative: Pair short, open-ended surveys with incentives to drive up response rates.
  • Quantitative: Watch metrics like the ones above to see if your marketing messages are actually making a dent. (People sometimes say one thing, but do another.)

It doesn't matter if you're using the hottest marketing strategy and the most cutting-edge social media techniques.

If you're aiming at the wrong target, then you're going to struggle to get traction.

And the first place to look for a clue is your engagement.

Join The Conversation

  • internetdoctor's picture
    May 5 Posted 4 years ago internetdoctor

    There is an exception to this.  If you're famous the rules do not apply.  We as consumers desire the interaction, but if it is a famous person or  famous brand they do not have to do anything...

  • Filip Galetic's picture
    Apr 28 Posted 4 years ago Filip Galetic

    I'd say anchors are important but don't get too attached to them to the point where your communication, responsiveness and creativity become too stinted.

    Engagement truly is important and that's a single reason why a company serious about creating some kind of an impact through social media or blogging needs to invest time or human resource into maintaining it and managing it.

  • iambarrywark@gmail.com's picture
    Mar 21 Posted 4 years ago iambarrywark@gm...

    Interaction, sincerity and transparency are the keywords to be able to get traffic to your site and eventually generate sales, that is if you are on the social marketing niche. Starting a conversation without interacting afterwards is ust like asking a yes-or-no question to a prospective client, then the connection stops. Yuo should engage yourself with the clients by interaction with them through treads from blogs/forums like this one. Then sincerity and transparency would follow once engagement is established.

  • Feb 6 Posted 4 years ago Social Annex

    Thanks for the cautionary advice Brad. I think the zero engagement is a huge mistake made by many companies. It is crucial to engage users and to help users engage each other. Innovative tools that offer new ways for social interaction have helped businesses expand their online traffic and increase brand loyalty. If any online retailers are looking for an engagement creates above average click thru rates my company Social Annex can be a versatile solution. 

  • timprunyi's picture
    Dec 18 Posted 4 years ago timprunyi

    Thanks Brad.

    I see lack of engagement as a major problem with some of the bigger institutional clients that I work with. I've been told by executives that they want to create a conversation without engaging in it. I wonder if you think that is useful or even possible. 

  • Oct 23 Posted 4 years ago MDwebpro (not verified)

    Good document Smith. Doctors also need to avoid this mistakes if they are to remain effective in social media marketing of their services.


    Erick Kinuthia

    Team MDwebpro.com

  • Oct 22 Posted 4 years ago mmg1865

    Great Article Brad, and as you stated, links in well with your previous posts.  

    Will definitely be bookmarking this site and visiting regularly

  • Dale Shafer's picture
    Oct 19 Posted 4 years ago Dale Shafer

    I find #3 to be the crux of what I do as a marketer. I also find it difficult at times because the social market can be fickle based on the activity of your followers. I manage accounts for a couple of industries; one in particular is specialty construction. It can be surprisingly difficult to motivate engagement on this brand, even when the company does well. Customers will complete a hand-written survey, but are reluctant to like Facebook or comment on blog posts - even when points #1 & #2 are in line.

    Thanks for sharing this. I think you touched on it, but I also would 'cohesiveness' as a vital point.

  • Oct 17 Posted 4 years ago PracticalSandy

    Great article that summarizes what most small businesses are lacking in their Social Media efforts.  I strongly urge all business to take your advice, step-by-step, and test it for 3 months.   They will see an increase in awaresness and sales.  Thanks for sharing!

  • Oct 15 Posted 4 years ago CearaC

    Thanks for these tips.  In the process of formulating the SM strategy for my workplace currently.  Really insightful article!

  • jsncruz's picture
    Oct 14 Posted 4 years ago jsncruz

    I'd say that even many seasoned bloggers and marketers commit Mistake #3 often enough. Also, another indication of 'good engagement' is how often a particular article gets shared on Facebook or on Twitter and by who. This morning, I've personally had one article make some good rounds on the web due to influential re-tweets! Fantastic stuff, when done right (blogging).

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